BBC Radio FiveLive carried an interesting item on the news this morning from Sony BMG that they are making their entire back catalogue available as a “free to listen” service. Wow – that’s great, you might think. But this is another example of how big business still has not understood the Internet.

What did I do on hearing the news? That’s right, go to the Sony BMG web site in the UK and look for the service. Where is it? No idea. Maybe it’s in their “news” section, I thought. No, nothing there either. Perhaps it’s on their US site, rather than their UK site? Nope. Nothing there. What about their news section? First item in their news list is dated January 2005.

This is one of the world’s “leading” entertainment industries. So where are they leading us? Up the garden path, that’s for sure.

If your business is undertaking PR activities – such as going on national radio – you should make sure your web site is “in sync”. Or you should set up a separate domain name or web page and plug that like crazy. For example, I speak to several chief executive leadership groups. I have built a special web page just for them; when I am doing any publicity work around the world of CEOs, I only direct them to one page.  That way, when they read or hear an interview directed at them, they go straight to the relevant information.

Sony BMG have either been “caught on the hop” by the BBC, perhaps covering the story in advance of when Sony BMG wanted to release it, or Sony BMG did not think that people listening to the radio would immediately go to their web site. Either way, it’s a significant failing by this entertainment giant.

Businesses – particularly big firms – seem to think we live in distinct little worlds; online one minute, offline the next. They haven’t yet worked out that we live in an “integrated” world. The consumers of Sony BMG music for instance, listen to it online, on their iPods, live at concerts, on CDs, down the pub, in the car, on a website – and so on. The same individuals consume music in a variety of ways.

The record industry is still stuck in the 1970s when people bought either an “LP” or a “cassette”. The world has changed and big firms like Sony BMG have yet to notice.

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