Gambling at EMI

Posted by on Jun 16, 2008 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Regular readers will know that HERD is signed up to the work of



They've both written beautifully on their independent studies of the random copying that lies behind the popularity of popular music. It's an inherently unpredictable thing.

This seems to be something that the embattled Terra Firma  team who've taken over EMI have recently worked out. And some – at least – of the financial press, at least.

Of course, there's much wrong with the way the music business works and the champagne and flowers and Robbie issues are real; also, the army of A&R boys (mostly boys, indeed) who struggle to generate not much for the shareholders. 

The truth is however much tidying up you do in a business like this, one lucky bounce will make you look like a genius. Whichever way you look at, music labels are gambling businesses…

A thought then for other business leaders (and those advising them): 

How sure are you that the consumer behaviour on which your business' success depends is that different from that of the music biz? However hard you try and whatever sound management levers you pull, isn't luck a big part – the largest part – of your success? 

And if you accept that, how does that change how you go about things? And how your bonus is constructed?