November 24, 2010 at 4:27am
Music is the ultimate transforming exchange, timeless and unbounded by imagination - a font of creativity that bridges and unites people the world over. During the 20th century music was shackled by industrialization. Now we have an opportunity to reinvigorate the creative core of music. Let freedom reign, let creativity find its just reward. Return music to the people who make it and who listen to it, and let music create a new sustainable model for everyone.
The opportunity presents itself to enable a global online environment allowing creativity to be tagged, rewarded, and delivered, to a desktop, mobile device, and most critically, to bricks and mortar retail locations the world over. Music created and delivered by the market to the market within the market. Music that mutates and transgresses boundaries, that carries and reflects cultural totems without the need for a middle man, an A&R man, an industry man, to filter control or delimit and define the sounds that people enjoy.
More music is being listened to than ever before but a decreasing percentage of revenues find their way to recognised industry hands. The current model is unsustainable because music industry management refuses to recognise that its key functions are no longer relevant to the musical experience.
Think of it in terms of Michael Porters 5 Forces - the "industry" positions itself in the centre - identifying source talent - the supply side made up of artists, musicians, writers, producers; providing manufacturing and logistics systems to create and distribute music; and marketing - creating markets, influencing markets and monitoring markets for the products it produces. Outside the industry core we have creative talent as a suppliers, alternative cultural/leisure pursuits as competitors and substitutes, while shops retail the product and consumers consume.
This orthodox industry model is doomed.
Today the consumer can directly identify and connect with their own choice of talent without the need for an A&R man from a record company. Electronic media negates the need for CD pressing plants and social media provides independent, global means to link a band with its audience. The orthodox industry model provides no value, it is doomed.
Music lives on, people still love to sing a tune, its just the industry that we can do without.
So how is it going to work?
Get this question right and you access a $30+ Billion annual prize and you win a lot of hearts. That's worth thinking about.
- Make DRM truly universal and applicable to ALL points of creative input into recorded sound media.
- Creative a cloud app that manages the distribution and accounting of downloads
- Create a global franchise for online distribution (ala itunes)
- Complement the online distribution with a bricks n morter retail franchise that focuses on cultural enablement.
- Shops market to cultural niches, large and small. R'n'B, Baroque, Orchestral, Rock, Emo, Country...and Western - all kinds of music Sarrr!)
- Music is sold alongside other relevant cultural totems - clothes, devices, adornments, refreshments and activities
- Shops are equipped for downloading directly to an array of electronic devices and standards (device agnostic), making electronic music easy for luddites as well as early adopters.
- Music is mixed by franchisees who may hold specialised knowledge of particular genres and may become known globally for their specialist mixes (with accompanying DRM assignment of their mixes & arrangements). In the 21st century time is precious and we will rely on infomediaries to dig the data to find the information we value. Franchisees will focus their deeper knowledge on the genres and musical hotspots so you wont have to.
- Music will sell for free...up to an economic predefined threshold. Then the value associated with demand will be monetised. The 999th download copy might be free, but the 1,000th will cost ya! If you're a fan get in quick and show your love. If your slow you carry the burden of the follower.
- If a band is popular in one district, analysis of buyer patterns will soon reveal additional markets where their sound is likely to find favour - marketing led by emergent market behaviour
We must return the creative industries to the creatives and to the love of the people. There will still be plenty of money to go around - just not so much centred in so few hands. Instead of Robbie Williams being paid an advance of $80 million on the judgement call of an expert in the hope he will produce a winner, why not save the money and let the market call the shots. Leverage diversity to pick winners rather than relying on a small select group to gamble on success.
Reduced risk - no need for A&R men to try and pick a winning act
Reduced risk leads to broader opportunity - anyone can be successful and it is the fans who decide
Improved incentives for participating in the paid for music model. You can obtain tunes for free by being a big fan and you can help your favourite artists succeed.
Music provides the social framework for selling a wide range of culturally linked items
A centralised network and repository of content provides a basis for monitoring crowd preferences and to provide socially defined penalties for ignoring I.P. boundaries
Obtain the backing or support of industry voices such as a major label and a retail chain:
Engage with interested parties in defining the details of a new Business Model which fully leverages the capabilities of an industry developed in the 21st century
Ratify standards for management of DRM throughout the network
Create brand definition for the enablement structures - Cloud App, content storage and access, franchise model
Engage creative talent in an organic approach to growth