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Can Doug Merrill Save Music?

Could the surprising departure of Google Chief Information Officer Douglas Merrill be the salvation of the music industry?

Merrill was hardly your typical corporate CIO. He seemed far more interested in the big philosophical issues of technology than the typical CIO concerns of data centers and network security. (Staci D. Kramer has a good interview with Merrill on

My hope is that Merrill will bring his quirky thinking to an industry that seems hopelessly mired in the work of escaping from its dead past. EMI has been the smallest and most desperate of the major players in a desperate industry and has been more willing to experiment with ideas like DRM-free downloads ahead of its stodgier competitors. But this is an industry that has to create a new business model almost from scratch. Maybe a very smart outsider with a wide-ranging and unconventional mind is just the person to do it.

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