A group of companies, including Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, and Intel are investing big money to develop artificial intelligence and other game-changing technology. These new AI superpowers are expected to pay your industry a visit in the not-so-distant future, leaving key parts of your product obsolete and the economics of your business in tatters.
The good news is that some people have faced the dramatic changes brought on by a technological tsunami and seen their sectors not only survive, but eventually flourish again.
Cary Sherman, CEO and Chairman of the Recording Industry Association of America, the lobbying group for the three top music labels, is one of those survivors.
The advent of digital music files and online sharing that started in the late 1990s plunged the music industry into its darkest period — in 2009, at the low point, US annual music sales fell to $6.3 billion, less than half of the $14.6 billion posted for 1999.
Now, nearly a decade later, annual music sales are growing again and consumers are paying for streaming services that provide access to an unprecedented trove of music.
It wasn’t easy. Sherman and the record labels endured numerous false starts, surprises and setbacks. They erred. The number of labels fell from five to three. They laid off hundreds of workers and alienated fans. They were mocked and vilified by the tech press
What follows is the story of how recorded music clawed its way back. Sherman’s account is a playbook of tips for other industries that may soon find themselves in the fight of their lives:
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