British music boss: we should have embraced Napster

28 06 2009

Geoff Taylor, head of UK major label trade group BPI, wrote an op-ed piece for the BBC today in which he called Napster the “Rosetta Stone of digital music,” said it was “simple to understand and use,” and said that the music industry should have “embraced Napster rather than fighting it.”

While this might sound radical, it’s not actually a controversial position among major label executives anymore—a top RIAA executive said the same things to me last week at the Jammie Thomas-Rasset trial in Minnesota.

More interesting is the rationale for why such a deal never got done. If Napster was truly the “Rosetta Stone” that unlocked the mysteries of digital online distribution, why was it sued out of existence?

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