Universal CEO: I’m not bad, just stupid

Being the CEO of a giant record company has to be a pretty uncomfortable place to be — and not just because the whole industry is going to hell after so many years of being a cash cow, a complaint Universal CEO Doug Morris makes in this Wired piece by Seth Mnookin (although it takes him many more words to make the point).

What really makes it obvious the kind of spot Morris is in, however, is that rather than come out and admit that the industry deliberately stonewalled new technology and/or tried to sue/lobby/legislate it out of existence, he chooses to paint himself and his fellow labels as idiots.

That’s quite a choice, isn’t it? That must be (on some level at least) what Morris decided, since he can’t honestly expect anyone to believe that the industry really wanted to get on board the whole mp3 train, but couldn’t find anyone to do it for them — or couldn’t determine who was snowing them and who really had the answers.

“That’s a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn’t. They just didn’t know what to do.”

“We didn’t know who to hire,” he says, becoming more agitated. “I wouldn’t be able to recognize a good technology person — anyone with a good bullshit story would have gotten past me.”

As more than one person has pointed out on a media-industry mailing list I belong to, this is complete and total bollocks. Record companies had people who knew the train was coming, and who had plenty of ideas of what to do — one of them left a major label and went to work for Apple, eventually helping to create the lunch-eating machine that would hand the record industry its own innards on a platter: iTunes.

Nice try, Doug.

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