In its Jan. 12 edition, the Japanese business magazine Diamond Weekly decided to ring in the new year with a 10-page feature titled, "Who's Killing Music?" It was the topic of much discussion and reaction in the music business, and the article even made the agenda during a meeting of the Japanese music industry's trade group the Recording Industry Association of Japan.

As for the question raised in the provocative headline, Diamond gives a short answer and a longer answer. The short answer is "Sony." The long answer is "Sony and a lingering inability of the industry as a whole to adapt to technological changes that have fatally undermined their outdated business model."

Bashing Sony has become something of a hobby in the media of late, to the point where I've almost begun to feel sorry for them, but there is clearly something dysfunctional about the company. While 2012 saw the company's music division, Sony Music Entertainment (SME), finally wake up to reality and begin releasing its music on iTunes (an event DJ Takkyu Ishino likened on Twitter to the collapse of the Berlin Wall, with Sony cast in the role of East Germany and Apple as West Germany), the fact that it took so long is revealing of one of the dysfunctions that is hobbling the firm. It appears that at least part of SME's reluctance to embrace downloadable music was due to pressure from the parent company, a major manufacturer of CD players.