Interview with Doug Morris, chairman and chief executive of Universal Music Group, the biggest record company in the world, in the Financial Times. That boy is an optimist:
- Mr Morris, however, rejects the widely propagated belief that the internet is going to eat into the music industry’s growth and profits. “The internet is not going to kill the record business. It will be an opportunity,” he insists. “The music industry had a windfall with the CD boom and the next windfall will be through digital delivery. And it will be much bigger than the CD boom. We’ve got a bonanza coming. Sales of digital music through legitimate sites like Pressplay are increasing every week.”
But why would people pay for something they could get free? “Why would people want to get stuff that isn’t just perfect?” he retorts, saying that music exchanged illicitly over the internet is not always of good audio quality. “There’s going to be a renewed effort to shut down illegal services, especially as films become more susceptible to downloading.
“The movie industry has more political influence than the music industry and when movies begin to be pirated over the net, you are going to see all of these services shut down and legitimate digital delivery will take off. . . . We are seeing the first flicker of a candle, which will turn into a light bulb.”
Mr Morris stops after employing this metaphor, reflects for a moment and then adds the caveat to end all caveats: “Of course, I could be wrong. I have been known to be wrong many, many times.” He laughs a hearty laugh that echoes off the walls of his office and seems to reveal what he really thinks: like everyone else, he does not have a clue what the internet means to the music industry in the long term but he chooses to travel the path of optimism.