Music Execs

What Music Executives Accomplish

If there's any profession in the world that's more maligned than music executive, it's probably along the lines of "Nigerian Spammer" or "Bail Bondsman".  Let's shed some light on the subject.  Music executives are like executives at any other company – they have to maintain a steady stream of product rollouts and keep customers attuned and regularly buying their core brands.  In the case of music execs, those core brands are recording artists. 

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Most people don't buy Britney Spears' albums because they're published by Atlantic Records, they buy Britney's albums because they're by Britney, and the reason for that is because music executives learned how to package her singing talent, age, prior career as a Disney "good girl" and nascent sex appeal into a product that sold millions of albums.Music executives are the gateways of popular taste and are responsible to their shareholders for delivering profits.  Unfortunately, those profits are coming under siege – and have been for more than a decade. 

You see, the concept that you can sell music relies on the fact that making copies of music is expensive enough or difficult enough that people will pay money for a legitimate copy rather than make their own.  On this basic principle, music companies have built an edifice of production gear, recording contracts and more…and the rise of the MP3 digital music format has kicked the underpinnings out from beneath them.They're now trying to put the genie back in the bottle, with Digital Rights Management and copy protection, their professional organization is trying to use copyright laws as a blunt club, and in general, they're building a lot of negative publicity for their industry.

There's a lot at stake, more so than those who make parody videos about music executives trying to preserve their multi-million dollar bonuses.  One of them is making sure that artists are compensated for their work on an ongoing basis.  You wouldn't do your job for free, yet most people seem to feel that music should just be freely downloadable off the internet with no compensation going to the artists. In light of this, there's a growing movement towards online media stores, like Apple iTunes or Rhapsody, places where customers can buy songs individually, legally, in a convenient way.  These have had a great deal of success, but the money they've taken in hasn't matched the declining revenue from CD sales, and that has the shareholders of music companies worried.