HITS magazine has been posting the manifestos of Terra Firma head Guy Hands re: the company's recent purchase and now management of recorded music giant EMI. I liked this one in particular (free registration required).
Among the ways Terra Firma states it will add value to EMI is listed this:
Exploiting assets Moving the prioritization of the exploitation of the catalog from the bottom of the pile to the top
I find that statement both laugh-out-loud funny and cry-out-loud tragic. Funny, because that's what record companies and music publishing companies ought to be doing every day in the first place. Tragic, because these labels can't maximize catalog exploitation until they are able to license each and every artist's catalog they own at will, and that is unlikely to ever happen. Every artist contract is different, and those artists who retain artist consent clauses will be loathe to give up their rights just for the sake of the record company's financial health... but unless the record companies make the attempt to make licensing and exploitation a more seamless process, then the catalogs of the major cash cow artists those labels control will never be able to be maximized financially.
I applaud EMI for stating that a change needs to happen going forth in order for the company to maintain financial health... but why did it take until 2007 for one of the major labels to realize this new reality?