Can Doug Merrill Save Music?

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on April 2, 2008

Could the surprising departure of Google Chief Information Officer Douglas Merrill be the salvation of the music industry?

Merrill was hardly your typical corporate CIO. He seemed far more interested in the big philosophical issues of technology than the typical CIO concerns of data centers and network security. (Staci D. Kramer has a good interview with Merrill on PaidContent.org.

My hope is that Merrill will bring his quirky thinking to an industry that seems hopelessly mired in the work of escaping from its dead past. EMI has been the smallest and most desperate of the major players in a desperate industry and has been more willing to experiment with ideas like DRM-free downloads ahead of its stodgier competitors. But this is an industry that has to create a new business model almost from scratch. Maybe a very smart outsider with a wide-ranging and unconventional mind is just the person to do it.

Reader Comments

dg

April 3, 2008 10:05 PM

"But this is an industry that has to create a new business model almost from scratch"

And why? They killed themselves - refuse to budge, refuse to budge, instead of slow evolution into a new system. There have been pioneers all along the way showing alternatives. Mike Watt had been making his own records to keep costs down, and only distributing through a major for a long time.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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