We need a savior. It might be the government of France.

In this post, I mentioned the experience a friend who spend years as head of A&R for Atlantic Records had watching the music business try—and mostly fail—to cope with the digital age. That was in July 2009.

It’s fifteen months later. The world has changed, business change has become the mantra both at Answer Guy Central (and for our clients) and throughout the digital world. But the music business is still struggling. Pink Floyd has slapped their record label around over who owns digital rights.

CDs have become cheaper than legitimate digital downloads. And the record companies’ position, through the RIAA? When servers they manage fail and your purchased downloads go south, well, that’s just tough luck.

Like I said, we need a savior. And it may be France. Not some smart French dude, by the way. THE GOVERNMENT OF FRANCE. In a plan that’s been approved by the European Commission, France is making legitimate music downloads cheaper, essentially by paying half the price.

The program is limited in size and available only to French citizens from 12 to 25 years old, but it makes sense; the people most likely to be downloading music illegally are being targeted for what amounts to psychological re-programming, and music labels and thus an entire business that’s been floundering for over a decade are being given a chance to enact business change that could actually work.

I’m not advocating for a similar program here in the United states, by the way. Heaven forbid I suggest that a socialist government might have an idea that could work in a capitalist country, right?

But what if organizations like the RIAA focused on this kind of plan instead of “enforcement”? What if blowhards like Gene Simmons were a little bit smarter (this weekend the leader of KISS shot his mouth off threatening anyone who had the nerve to mess with him)?

You can’t enact business change unless you’re actually willing to . . . change.

Thank you, France.

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