How It All Went Wrong

A man unexpectedly entered the office. Afterwards, no one could tell how he got there or how he left — he wasn’t supposed to be there, no one was supposed to get in without an appointment. The walls were lined with framed CDs and behind a large mahogany desk sat the label CEO in his luxury leather armchair. Surprised, he listened to the mysterious man begin,

Dear Mr. Record Label Executive, let me tell you something. You should listen to me, because I can tell you why it’s all wrong now. I can tell you how it all went wrong, when it went wrong and what effect it has on the world today. I am the messenger of the future.

Who are you?” said Mr. Record Label Executive, clearly not used to being in this position. “And how did you get into my office?

That is of no importance,” the man answered. “You can call me Lime, if you need something in the way of a name. What is important is my message. Your problem is that the youth refuse to buy your records. They download them, file share them, and refuse to pay. Correct?

Confused, Mr. Record Label Executive nodded.

People have been asking for paid download services for a decade, yet you were too afraid to let them have it — afraid they would just file share the downloaded music — so you gave them nothing.

Ah, but we created…“, Mr. R. L. E. started.

Nothing of sufficient quality“, the enigmatic Lime cut him off. “You gave them nothing that could match what they sought. So they kept downloading, they kept file sharing. For free, because that was the only available way.

It went on for a long time like this. Kids grew up, who’d never bought a CD in their life. They too started file sharing. For free, illegally.”

By now, the man in the luxury leather armchair was leaning forwards over his large mahogany desk, nodding.

Lime impatiently paced the room. “You see, there’s a new generation out there, who’s always downloaded music for free, because there were never any legal paid download services out there to download from. Don’t you see what you’ve created? A whole generation who’s never paid a dime for music, who has been taught that music is free, without value. You taught them.

Now wait a minute! How can they think they can just steal the music artists have put so much effort into?” Mr R L E protested.

They’re not stealing anything. You never gave them options, so they all learned that music was free. You taught a whole generation that music and other entertainment had no value. That is when it all went wrong!” He paused to look at the stricken man before continuing, “as you hunt them now for what they feel is natural and right, all they feel towards you is disgust, fear and anger for your greed. Imagine, all those millions of potential customers out there who are now lost to you because you didn’t take the chance of selling them what they wanted, out of the fear of what might happen if you did.

Now they’re a million very angry people instead, who want only to see your empire crumble.

Mr R. L. E stared at him aghast as the realization dawned. They looked at each others in silence for a while.

I see that you understand,” the mysterious man finally said and headed for the door. “Millions of angry people,” he repeated. As he closed it behind him, he added, “and now you’ve given them martyrs.

5 Comments

  • By repi, Friday, April 17, 2009 @ 23:06

    Very well written and I couldn’t agree more.

    Great post!

  • By sav, Thursday, April 23, 2009 @ 17:47

    Spot on. A bit unrealistic perhaps.
    In that Mr RLE would actually understand anything at the end there.

  • By slicedlime, Thursday, April 23, 2009 @ 17:55

    Hah! A man can dream…

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