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Paranoia and Digital Music


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It is a real pain in the ass to come up with an interesting topic every week to write about. Especially when you’re a lazy as me. 

I was lying on the couch yesterday watching football and trying to think of a topic, any topic, to write about for this week. And then something fun and silly came to mind. I started thinking of some of the personalities that have been involved recently in the digital music business, mostly the ad-supported attempts as well as the ongoing Pirate Bay fiasco (of course, I have personal knowledge and experience with this one). 

It seems that the guys behind all of these efforts appear to have a lot of personality traits in common. So I did a little research and came up with an interesting little piece that appears to explain the type of personality that the digital music business, or at least a segment of it, attracts.

The “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”, fourth edition (DSM-IV), the US manual of the mental health professional; lists the following symptoms for paranoid personality disorder:

  • preoccupied with unsupported doubts about friends or associates
  • suspicious; unfounded suspicions; believes others are plotting against him/her
  • perceives attacks on his/her reputation that are not clear to others, and is quick to counterattack
  • maintains unfounded suspicions regarding the fidelity of a spouse or significant other
  • reads negative meanings into innocuous remarks
  • reluctant to confide in others due to a fear that information may be used against him/her

I’m not too sure about the spouse thing, but the other symptoms sure do feel as though they come awfully close to home. 

I can certainly cite several examples where these symptoms apply to certain digital entrepreneurs. The funny thing is that professional seem to think that this personality is very difficult to cure because the patient is suspicious by nature of any suggestion that he may in fact need treatment. Therefore it goes untreated. 

But I digress. The latest best fun example of this is the CEO of GGF, the would-be buyer of The Pirate Bay. 

Last week GGF was delisted from the AktieTorget, a small cap Swedish stock exchange, for a number of violations of the market’s rules. The company is also the subject of a criminal investigation by the country’s Economic Crimes Bureau and the CEO’s BMW 745, Harley Davidson motorcycle and SeaRay speed boat were all confiscated by the authorities last week for unpaid taxes. My buddy Hans Pandeya immediately went on a media campaign that defies explanation in which he blames his troubles on a former board member, a vast international conspiracy and finally on the head of market surveillance and board of the AktieTorget itself. Sound familiar?

In interview after interview, Hans maintains that The Pirate Bay acquisition is still going forward, in spite of the fact that shares in GGF can no longer be traded and must be considered worthless. My favorite is a Q&A that ran in www.readit.se in which he calls Peter Gonczi, the AktieTorget VP of Market Surveillance, the equivalent of “a scumbag” in Swedish. Hans is starting to sound a little like me! But then again, I’m not the CEO of a publicly traded company. Oops—formerly publicly traded company.

All this and the deal is still going through. Who knows? Maybe he’ll pull it off and launch in China!

So, to these few delusional would-be digital music executives, I say “Mazel tov!” But don’t forget what my old buddy Stephen Stills said, “Paranoia strikes deep”.



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