Katie has a plan

I must say, Katie Cotton is probably one of the most brilliant communications strategists out there. She’s come up with a brilliant plan for countering the contentards in Hollywood so we can beat them at their own game. No, we don’t hire Anthony Pellicano to dig up dirt. We don’t blast away with our own made-up stories. We do the opposite. We fall back. We pull an Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The thing is, Katie says, Apple is scaring the shit out of people these days. In certain markets we’re pretty much a Borg-style monopoly and the only reason nobody has freaked out yet is that people don’t look at music as a business. But let’s face it — it is a business, and we own it. We now tell all of the record labels how much they can charge for songs. We set the price for online downloads, which in turn controls the price for physical CDs too. Soon, if we get our way, we’ll be in the same position with movies and TV shows.

Now, to be sure, we deserve this. We’re the ones who saw the opportunity, who took the risk, who built the online store, who executed flawlessly, even while everyone else was trying and failing to do the same thing. But still. Katie says, “We need to reassure people that we’re not some big hairy scary bad guy.” I’m like, “But we are a big hairy scary bad guy aren’t we?” She assures me that yes, we are, but we need to seem like we’re not. Very, very clever, that Katie.

So what we need, Katie says, is a big story in some big publication that really shows us being humbled and learning from our mistakes. Yes, this rebate is a step in the right direction, and makes us look like pussies, like weaklings, like softies, which is what we need. But we need something more. Something big. We need someone to really beat the snot out of us. Then the Hollywood guys won’t be so afraid and they’ll walk right into our … er, they’ll step up and do the right thing and agree to partner with us.

Katie says we need a story like the one the Borg planted in Fortune a few weeks back talking about Microsoft getting mugged in China. I said maybe we can get Walt to do it but Katie says he’s not mean enough. She’s got a call in to Nick Wingfield. Apparently I may actually have to do an interview with him. In person. Yes, we’ll get to write his questions in advance, but still it kind of sickens me. I’ve told Katie I’m only doing it if we talk through glass. I’m not sitting in the same room with that guy and breathing his air. I’m just not. (Photo by Dear Reader Shawn.)