Today’s NYT Magazine feature on the DJ Drama prosecution in AtlantaÂ focuses, eventually, on the key tension in the entertainment marketplace today:
Ted Cohen, a former executive at EMI Records who now runs a music-consulting business, told me that the raid was typical of the music industryâ€™s â€œschizophrenicâ€ approach to promotions; a labelâ€™s marketing department wants to get its artistsâ€™ songs in front of as many people as possible, even if it means allowing or ignoring free downloads or unlicensed videos on YouTube. But the business department wants to collect royalties. â€œIt is a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing,â€ Cohen said.
Or, perhaps, the left hand knows what the right hand is doing, but doesn’t care.Â Maybe this drama isn’t The Godfather; maybe it’s CasablancaÂ instead:Â The RIAA is shocked, shocked to find its marketers mixed up with mixtapes.Â At the least, business (Major Strasser?) and legal (Captain Renault?) and marketing (Rick Blaine?) have very different incentives and imperatives.Â In the end, will the romantic creator (Ilsa Lund?) intervene, and force legal to make a choice?Â Cynical and manipulative as he was, Renault, not Blaine,Â may have been the real hero.Â (Don’t forget that letting Blaine go cost Renault 20,000 francs!)Â Will the lawyers here allow the public interest (Victor Laszlo?) to triumph again?