Interesting to a certain extent
An interesting read, and it's certainly good to see that someone involved on the record companies' side is aware that they have to provide an incentive to consumers in order to get them buying again, but I can't help feeling that he's either inadvertently or deliberately avoiding 2 particular ideas:
1) It's the larger record labels that have created the scenario of 12-track album with full price tag, of which only 2-4 tracks are actually worth a damn. Music may be more popular than ever now, but the majority of music out there is cruddy filler material, at least when it comes to the more famous/succesful artists. The easiest way of addressing this is to remove the pressure on the artist to release an entire album, and shift away to releasing individual tracks as and when they are ready for release. There's something to be said for the notion of an album as a complete package, but there's also something to be said for a consistent quality level. What alternative systems to the "get artist on contract, lock them in a room until they've got an album, release album and hope it does well" method are they considering or trialling? Or is this just another example of looking for a bigger stick with which to beat people back into the habit of paying for a full album when half of it isn't worth listening to?*
2) For all the talk of "Value for money", there's remarkably little talk of adjusting the existing mechanism for distribution of money when shifting from physical product to digital product. If people feel that an album priced at £15 is too expensive and they only want 5 tracks, why should they still be paying £5 for those 5 tracks when they don't get a physical copy or any of the stuff that allegedly contributes to the £15 cost of the album in the physical world?
3) How is the music industry going to adapt to the shift away from physical media, given that there have been several instances of shifting from old to new media which allow them to artificially boost sales by re-releasing their old back catalogues in the new formats? Presumably this is why they're so terrified of DRM-less digital music sales with implicitly perpetual licensing schemes, but they're going to have to address this sooner or later....
* Personally, I'd like to see something like a subscription-based channel mechanism. You pay your x per month, you get a new track every 1-2 days with a perpetual ownership license attached, and the incentive is that the artists involved in this channel are being commissioned to create individual tracks. Sort of like a singles club, really. You could even have a tiered mechanism - lower tier gives you a time-limited version via stream or something, higher tier gives you the perpetually-licensed downloads. With an option if you're on the lower tier to upgrade individual tracks to the perpetual license.