Reuters reports today that music company EMI, will cut up to 2,000 jobs as part of a restructuring by their new owner, private equity slashmeister Guy Hands.
Interestingly, though, let’s take a look at where he’s hoping to cut those jobs:
Hands plans to cut the marketing budget to 12 percent of projected sales, from 20 percent, but raise spending on A&R (artist and repertoire), which looks for new talent, The Sunday Telegraph said.
Exactly the wrong move, Mr. Hands. As I’ve said a billion times before, the big labels have shown time and time again that they are much better at promoting the shit out of artists that they want to get behind, then they are at finding artists who will help them stay ahead of changing trends. The labels are, inherently, much better at dealing with what they already have, than thinking about new ways to go.
So wouldn’t it make more sense to increase the marketing budgets and to slash A&R? Of course, the conventional wisdom will be that, with the rise of the Internet and the fall of record sales, promotion takes less money. True, as far as it goes. But with the rise of the Internet, and the ease by which small unsigned bands can put their songs online and attempt to get notice, it gets harder and harder to raise the visibility of any given artist.
That smells like marketing to me. That’s what needed, not another bunch of bands who sound just like every other watered-down middle-class white quasi rap band that’s already out there.