Rolling Stone: The record industry is dying

I’ve been busy lately and missed a couple issues of Rolling Stone (still a must read in the world of El Jobso) but one of our PR people just sent me up this clip. It’s a pretty smart piece on why the record companies are going under. And they’ve got a great photo (above) of Lyor Cohen, Edgar Bronfman and Ahmet Ertegun (not funny that really is Ertegun, ed.). Money quote from some industry dude: “How is it that the people that make the product of music are going bankrupt, while the use of the product is skyrocketing? The model is wrong.”

Here at Apple we’re defining a new role for ourselves in this whole dismal story. We’re positioning ourselves as a caring nurturer, part shrink and part hospice worker, making these old thieves comfortable during their final days. It’s sort of like working in the nursing home where Uncle Junior lives. It’s hard because you know you’re dealing with evil human beings but you also know that the best thing to do is just to keep them happy and quiet. So you give them their morphine and change their bed pans and tell them how important they still are. Every so often, to humor them, you have a “meeting” and pretend to “negotiate” something, but mostly you just smile while you wait for them to die. And maybe once in while when no one is looking you put a pillow over someone’s face. Fair enough.

When they’re finally gone our role changes again. We’ll serve as undertakers, giving them a really nice service with lots of flowers and great speeches about how wonderful they all were and what a great contribution they made to the world. Then we’ll set about being an even worse slave-owner than they ever dreamed of being, but we’ll find a way to dress ourselves up as the friend and savior of the artist, the one who’s going to set them free, and no matter how badly we screw people we’ll be depicted as heroes. We’ll use the word “free” a lot, in all its variations. Freedom. Freebie. Free-ness. “Apple equals freedom.” You ask, Who would ever fall for such blatant nonsense? Are there really that many incredibly gullible and emotionally needy people out there? Um, did you see Johnny Skidmark and Robert Scoble and all those other people lining up for the iPhone? Er … right. And those guys are geniuses compared to the average musician. John Mayer says “between you and I,” for Christ’s sake. Harry Connick Jr. got involved with Habitat for Humanity because he thought it was an animal rescue league. Zach de la Rocha once told me that Lyndon Johnson kept slaves. Madonna once told me Nostradamus predicted global warming. You get it? Fish in a barrel, baby.