Universal music chief blasts Slashdot

'Pie throwers'

DMF The president of Universal Music Group's digital division, Larry Kenswil, dipped into Slashdot to illustrate the kind of laggards who are holding up progress in digital music.

How did he figure that out, exactly?

Kenswil was speaking at the Digital Music Forum in New York, earlier today, where we're in town to take the pulse of the industry. The RIAA director drew attention to three groups he called "pie throwers".

One group was manufacturers - such as Samsung and Helix - who he highlighted for producing hybrid MP3 players and satellite radios that record the streams. Thanks to a loophole in US copyright law, satellite radio recorders are the next big legal battleground - with Apple believed to be in the advanced stages of adding satellite streams as podcasts to its iTunes store.

"It's a great example of how you can lose it all for everyone if you set out to gain an extra cent for yourself," said Kenswil.

The second group were the telcos, who Kenswil said might threaten to bring in tiered internet pricing. When we asked Larry about this later, he said he still wasn't sure how seriously to take the big telcos hints that they wanted to charge differential pricing. "We're probably neutral on net neutrality right now," he joked.

The final group he referred to as "the utopians".

"It's the capitalism-is-evil crowd, the folks who want stuff for free - and you will find them on Slashdot," he said.

Kenswil quoted, to much appreciative laughter from the music industry audience, a Slashdot author called "albertpacino" for the saying that the music industry had "chosen to be blind about the issue."

Alas, when we tried to check the citation, neither Slashdot nor Google could produce any trace of a user with that name. None of the search engines could locate the phrase "blind about the issue". Kenswil's presentation included the quote reformatted for a PowerPoint presentation - so errors may have crept in as it was transcribed by his staff - or your reporter. Maybe the user cited figured out a way to leave and wipe all trace of his comments behind him - but it's all a little odd.

He was on firmer ground with his evidence when he quoted TechWeb editor Fredric Paul, for an article entitled "Why Everyone Hates the Music Industry", which you can find here.

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