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EMI Embracing the Future?

I have just read that EMI – one of the ‘big four’ record labels – has appointed Douglas Merrill as the president of its ‘digital strategy’; a post covering “all of the company’s digital strategy, innovation, business development, supply chain and technology activities“.

This in itself is not that impressive. What makes this newsworthy, however, is Merrill’s past… as CIO and vice president of engineering at Google.

Google’s corporate information site says of Merrill (for now, at least):

Douglas Merrill joined Google late in 2003 as Senior Director of Information Systems. In this capacity he led multiple strategic efforts including Google’s 2004 IPO and its related regulatory activities. He holds direct line accountability for all internal engineering and support worldwide.

Previously, Douglas was senior vice president at Charles Schwab and Co., Inc, a multinational financial services company. At Schwab, he was responsible for such functions as information security, common infrastructure, and human resources strategy and operations. Prior to his tenure there, Douglas worked at Price Waterhouse as a senior manager, ultimately becoming a leader in security implementation practices. Before that, he was an information scientist at the RAND Corporation, where he studied topics such as computer simulation in education, team dynamics and organizational effectiveness.

Douglas holds a BA from the University of Tulsa in Social and Political Organization, and an MA and Ph.D. in Psychology from Princeton University.

I for one think this is great news. With the music industry in deep trouble and constantly being crushed by new technologies, they need new ideas… and fast. Litigation is only going to go so far in helping a struggling company to increase its profits.

As I’ve said before; “we can’t hold back technological advancement and especially the evolution of music and its distribution“. With that said, what the big labels need to do is not sue, but evolve. A ‘digital business model‘ is what is required to revive the industry and with this move it seems that EMI have realised this glaringly obvious fact.