Rick Rubin, he of Def Jam records, has been running Colombia Records, owned by Sony.
Yesterday, there was a 12 page piece in the IHT about Rubin and his attempt to change Colombia Records
Beyond the “‘You might never see me, I may never wear shoes, you’re not the boss of me,” demand that Rubin was supposed to have made, there’s also some meat that will be of interest to anyone who watches the shift of digital media.
The most significant part of this was his view that “the future of the industry is a subscription model.”
“You’d pay, say, $19.95 a month, and the music will come anywhere you’d like. In this new world, there will be a virtual library that will be accessible from your car, from your cellphone, from your computer, from your television. Anywhere. The iPod will be obsolete, but there would be a Walkman-like device you could plug into speakers at home. You’ll say, ‘Today I want to listen to … Simon and Garfunkel,’ and there they are. The service can have demos, bootlegs, concerts, whatever context the artist wants to put out. And once that model is put into place, the industry will grow 10 times the size it is now.”
Keep in mind that this is the bloke that runs Columbia Records – so it’s pretty bold to have this coming out in the IHT.
It appears that the monthly price isn’t decided yet though, as in the following paragraph David Geffen is quoted as saying “The subscription model is the only way to save the music business. If music is easily available at a price of five or six dollars a month, then nobody will steal it.”
While his views might seem radical to the music biz, it appears that Rubin still has something to learn about the Internet. He’s formed a word of mouth department, that goes out and posts messages on Internet forums raving about artists – not getting the point that the Internet is about honesty and scamming potential buyers is a short term gain, that will decimate the company when the news leaks out.
Is this part of a plan?
Putting this long-researched article, which appears to have been started in April, together with Sony’s hyped Rolly, and their recent dropping of ATRAC content protection, we wonder if there some significant moves afoot with Sony, in an attempt to bring some of their magic back.