Music guru praises the internet

The bloke who discovered the popular beat band The Doors has come out in defence of the world wide wibble.

While some musicians, such as John Mellencamp and Stevie Nicks, have been rushing to the defence of their ailing record labels claiming that the Web was killing their art, Jac Holzman has told them to sling their hook.

Holzman, who created Electra records, has a history of telling the industry how to use technology to improve its lot. One of his ideas was to use this new fangled CD technology. At the time the recording industry was not keen on that either.

The 79-year-old, who is celebrating Elektra’s 60th anniversary, sees that the future of the industry is bright thanks to the web.

It is because of his knowledge of technology that Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman has hired him as a senior adviser.

Bronfman told CNET that Holzman approaches the “intersection of music and technology through the lens of opportunity”. It is a mixed metaphor statement that reads more like an Ultravox lyric but you get the general idea.

Holzman has been successfully going against the entertainment business’ conservative attitudes for years. When Jack Valenti, the chief of the Motion Picture Association of America, was trying to kill video recorders Holzman was steering Warner into the home-video market. With cable TV he recognized its potential early and contributed to the development of pay-per-view programming.

Holzman points out that many of these technologies helped make a lot of artists and industry people rich.

He said that the internet and digital distribution can be capitalised upon and anyway the industry does not have a choice.

He said that the industry missed a trick with Napster by suing it into the ground.

Using Napster, it would have been easy to proliferate singles with manufacturing costs. You could have used the value of the single as a calling card for albums and you could have sold songs for something like 79 cents, made it affordable, he said.

It would have been easy to count because all of the transactions went through a central server at Napster.

As a result of killing off Napster the industry helped to create peer-to-peer systems that bypassed servers.

While he thinks that P2P would have still have happened, by then the industry would have “established a principle of being paid for digital music.”