A case study on why the music industry is still losing the public relations fight over music piracy:
In an issues debate, a clever publicist anticipates the opposition’s moves and prepares responses and counter-attacks accordingly. Make no mistake: if your company or organization’s bottom-line is at risk, and your publicists don’t treat your policy battle like a high-stakes chess game, then fire them and hire a new firm. When developing a public relations strategy, you must analyze how a sneak attack or sucker punch will play out, and be appreciative of how social media can leverage these hits.
In this case, many are familiar with the music industry’s perennial failed arguments in the copyright battles: music downloading is morally wrong and must be outlawed; iTunes is more evil than good; new technologies are the problem, not the solution; blah blah blah. Yet as entertainment technology innovations kept pace with rapid changes in consumer demand, the music industry stood by tone deaf, insisting on my-way-or-the-highway control of music distribution models.
Once they started coming to their senses, music industry representatives yielded to the technology tidal wave consumers rode for years. While piracy remains a problem, legal online music purchases and distribution grew over the past few years, and the music industry has not imploded.
Still, in protecting content the music industry continues pursuing hard-line tactics that create one PR disaster after another. This exposes the music industry to constant charges of heavy-handedness.
When you prop your organization (or industry) up on self-righteous stilts, it’s very easy for your opponents to kick you in the shins. In the picture below that’s spreading through blogs and other social media platforms, critics take aim at the music industry’s common arguments about lost profits in a swift motion that is embarrassing, funny and easily understood all at the same time:
How might the music industry respond? Based on past behavior, probably with another thick rant about the evils of technology.
The war isn’t over, but who do you think wins this round?