Sueing Your Customers… Good For Your Image?

April 25, 2008

Sueing your customers… well some guys said it before… not really a good idea, if you want stay in business with them.

Record labels most of the time have no direct contact to the consumers… the brands of their artists are and were much more important. So maybe some people thought, by hiding behind a “name” like the IFPI or RIAA, they can sue their customers wthout any negative…

But as the figures from PR agency Edelman (cited in this article from Peter Kafka) show, the consumer realizes what is happening… and who is acting… so the label image is getting worse and worse:

“The number of UK consumers who said they trusted the industry fell from 47% in 2007 to 31% this year, with confidence disturbed by moves by the music industry to track down and punish illegal music copying, and high-profile scandals in broadcasting.

Surveying younger consumers aged 18-34, Edelman found that 55% would take “direct action” against a company if they objected to its practices, 53% would share negative opinions with friends and 46% would ignore a firm’s marketing and advertising. Even more damning, a further 39% said they would not invest in those companies.”

So, on first sight you can still think, that`s no problem, cause the artist brand is the “selling brand”… but what happens when artists which are not signed at major labels sell more albums or get more attention, a bigger fanbase, when they are not signed at a major? What happens if bands seem to be much more credible when they are not signed at a major or even on a “record label”?

Record labels are on an artist market… talented artists always have the chance to choose where to sign… and in the digital age, there are new options:
Do it on your own – Radiohead – do it with a FMCG brand – Groove Armada – do it with a service brand – Paul McCartney – do it with a Concert Agency – Madonna …. just to name a few examples …

Argue hard with ISPs or online services or other parties who make money with your rights, but you should stop sueing your customers. You can`t stop piracy, so stop hurting your brand and relationship to your customers and your artists.

Just a thought.

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