UMG CEO: Piracy Will Be Solved By Technology, Not People; Timing on Hulu-Like Music Video Site

Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris can never be accused of being shy, or, putting his foot in, oh well…in an extensive interview with Billboard, he talks about the digital piracy issues, UMG’s efforts in digital music, working with YouTube and its plans for a Hulu-like music video site, and other issues. He has just reupped long term as the CEO with the world’s largest record label.

On a Wired story ridiculing him and generally being considered the enemy: “They were trying to make fun of me because I’m older and because I come from a different era. But…there’s a couple of things that just don’t change..They’re so entranced and enthralled by all the shiny, new technology, they don’t understand that it doesn’t work unless you have music that people want. No one’s going to download music they don’t like.”

On stopping piracy: “My whole point of view is this problem we’re in, which is caused by technology, will be solved by technology. Some genius on the other side will figure out how to stop the piracy that seems very logical to me. So all these people who come up with these opinions that they should have done this and that, it’s all ridiculous.”

On taking equity stakes in music startups like Buzznet and MySpace’s new venture: “No one’s going to build a business off our backs if I can help it without us being part of it. It’s just not fair… It’s better than having a company like MTV, where we gave them our music for very little money and they built a $30 billion company or whatever it was for nothing.”

On a Hulu-like online music video site: If we do that, it will be January. If we renew the [YouTube] deal, we wouldn’t do that. The odds are that we will have a deal with the participation of another label. With YouTube, the quality isn’t great; it gets low [cost per thousand]. On the other hand, more professional [services] get a higher CPM.

Smartest person in music industry: Steve Jobs. “He came back stronger and smarter than anyone has ever done in any industry….We work with him and we try and get what we want with him and I’m sure we aggravate the hell out of him sometimes, but when you look at the whole picture, we make a lot of money through iTunes. We consider him a friend . . . I talk to him about once a month.”