Remember back when the Simpsons was funny? If you weren’t around in 1996, then you don’t. Supposing you were, remember the episode where Smithers goes on a gay cruise and Homer takes over as Mr. Burns’ assistant, then he punches Mr. Burns and Burns decides to take care of business for himself? Remember how funny it was to see someone so blinded by their own wealth and status that they had completely missed the world changing around them? He was disconnected and irrelevant, almost incapable of functioning in the modern world. Remember how that wasn’t funny at all because it was totally true and just happened for real?
(DAH DAH DAHHHHNNNNNN!)
Doug Morris is the Chairmen and CEO of Universal Music Group, the largest record company in the world. It’s safe to say that he has more than a persuasive voice when it comes to how music is distributed, and how artists are treated. According to an article in December’s WIRED magazine, Morris doesn’t know shit from shinola when it comes to the interborgz, and iPodz, and digical musics and such.
He seems to view the internet and digital distribution as something to be feared with ones eyes averted, much like a 17th century farmer faced with some sort of vengeful hoofed Goat-God. The interview reminds me of Ted Stevens when he told a room full of the most powerful people in the nation that the internet was a series of tubes. At first you’re all, “Awwwww, Grampa doesn’t understand the internet.” Then you’re all, “Holy Shit! “Grampa Tubes” is IN CHARGE of the internet!? OMGWTFINTERNET!?”
Joco had some thoughts about the story from a troubadour’s perspective. He also posted some choice quotes from the article which I will now repost (but you should still go read them on his site and buy some of his songs.)
“There’s no one in the record industry that’s a technologist,” Morris explains. “That’s a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn’t. They just didn’t know what to do. It’s like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?”
Personally, I would hire a vet. But to Morris, even that wasn’t an option. “We didn’t know who to hire,” he says, becoming more agitated. “I wouldn’t be able to recognize a good technology person — anyone with a good bullshit story would have gotten past me.”
It’s not really fair to poke fun I suppose. Our kids will laugh when we’re 60 and we don’t know which button turns on the garbage disposal and which one vents plasma from the starboard nacelles.