letters | innovation and protection of rights

Music industry, tech world forging success together

Re “Music dinosaurs pick a bad fight” (Op-ed, Sept. 2): We are all for healthy debate about the future of the music business, but John E. Sununu’s recent piece was so misinformed it deserves a response.

Sununu refers to companies such as YouTube and Spotify and the success they have enjoyed as somehow happening in a vacuum independent of the music business. Those technology firms and many others are successful in large part because of the various partnerships forged with music labels.

The success of the modern music business and technology companies is interdependent and intertwined. Popular musicians are among the most followed on Twitter and Facebook, and professional music videos top the most-watched list on YouTube. Music is at the heart of the online social media experience. The music business now earns about 60 percent of its revenues from a variety of digital formats. We have transformed how we do business and have embraced an array of digital methods, often free to the consumer, for enjoying music.


The fundamental mistake Sununu makes is the premise that it’s either-or: Innovate or protect rights. That’s a false choice. Smart industries do both. In fact, a number of independent analysts have attested that protecting creators’ rights, such as the case against file sharing service LimeWire, have directly helped boost music sales.

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Sununu’s op-ed regurgitated an antiquated view that doesn’t reflect the contemporary music business.

Jonathan Lamy

Executive vice president,


Recording Industry

Association of America