Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Sony’s Money-Losing Music Bet: Sales Down 11 Percent, Losses Increase

Did you buy the “Only by the Night,” the newish album from Kings of Leon? If so, Sony would like to thank you.

Everyone else, though, is going to have to pick up the pace or Sony’s new investment in its music business isn’t going to pay out.

Footnoted in Sony’s Q2 earnings release today are the details on the performance of Sony BMG, the music label it used to own in conjunction with Bertelsmann AG.

This summer Sony (SNE) bought out its partner for $900 million and now owns the label outright.

But the newest results make it hard to understand why it made the investment: Sales dropped 11 percent, to $762 million, and the company lost $57 million, up from an $8 million loss a year ago.

Those results aren’t out of the ordinary for the label, which has been struggling along with the rest of the industry for many years.

The now-boilerplate language to describe the results blamed the “continued decline in the worldwide physical music market not being offset by growth in digital product sales.”

Okay. So what about the Kings of Leon? MediaMemo confesses that it has yet to hear the new album, but Sony says it one of the best performers of the quarter.

Other winners: AC/DC’s “No Bull,” which MediaMemo believes is actually a concert DVD, and “One Chance” by Potts, which I’ll confess I’ve never heard of, period.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work