Posts Tagged ‘music industry’

Corporate and Litigation PR Must Sing in Tune

April 8th, 2011

Anyone who doubts high-stakes lawsuits require smart litigation PR should ready our post today, where we (continue to) deconstruct the awful media narrative of the music industry self-immolating on its tried and true, counter-productive PR strategy.

Mashable has a great post today about the music industry’s looming trial against LimeWire, the file distribution service they accuse of illegally distributing digital music.  When you have a lawsuit with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, it’s no longer a matter of “if” but “when” the proceedings will get heavy media attention.

We’ve written here and here about how tone deaf the music industry’s PR strategy is.  Not only do the heavy-handed statements alienate consumers, they also show incredible contempt for technological advancement, a trend the music industry has famously ignored at its own collective peril.

But, even if the music industry understood the power of positive and persuasive PR, can we assume that their publicists are coordinating messaging with their legal teams?  Probably not, as the Mashable article shows.  The plaintiffs’ prime argument basically amounts to “technology is evil.”  The best comment to the article so far is this:

Corporate titans and captains of industry, know this – if your media team and legal team aren’t coordinating, and litigation PR doesn’t have a special place in your set of business priorities, you’re only hurting your bottom-line.

Big Record Labels Ready to Rain on Amazon’s Cloud

March 30th, 2011

Once again, technology has improved consumer options for music listening.  And, once again, sadly, the music industry is predictably blowing the dust off its “Obtuse PR Tactics” textbook.

Litigation PR plays a big role in the school of obtuse PR, and offers perspective in understanding what’s about to unfold.  When major corporate entities file lawsuits, smart public statements help advance the case in the court of public opinion.  Not-so-smart public statements, conversely, can hamper public attitudes.

We’ve written before about how record labels are, ahem, tone deaf to consumer sentiment and public perception of mindless business practices.  And they’re about to step in it all over again.

Background: Amazon has stolen the fickle tech spotlight by announcing its new cloud drive music service.  Basically, people can now store digital music on an account and stream songs to integrated devices.  This allows potentially limitless music storage, compared to the hard drive confines of a computer or portable music player.

In truth, Amazon’s move isn’t revolutionary technology; rather, it’s a smart assessment of consumer preferences and leverage of wireless bandwidth.  We’d argue that the shift from cassettes to CDs was way more important, as that transition represented a dramatic boost in enjoying audio quality.

Regardless, the music industry seems ready to fight tooth and nail against advancements and technological trends.  Here are choice music executive quotes on Amazon’s cloud:

“Keeping legal options open.”

“The locker service that Amazon is proposing is unlicensed by Sony Music.”

“It sounds like legalized murder to me.” (Seriously?!?)

In other words, the record labels seem ready to bellow: “We will sue Amazon, as scorched-earth litigation PR is in our collective genome.”  Instead of such statements, what if the RIAA, on behalf of the record labels, simply said:

“Cloud music is an interesting technology development.  We’ll keep our eye on it.”

See that?  Framing the industry’s official position as passively interested in no way compromises litigation potential.  Such a statement certainly helps avoid negative headlines and mistaken context as the cloud music media narrative gains momentum.  Better to be a bit mysterious and noncommittal in this case, as opposed to playing the oppressive tactic of “let’s sue ‘em into oblivion.”

Past Music Piracy Warnings Continue to Haunt the Music Industry

February 22nd, 2010

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?