Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Offer What Piracy Doesn't: A Rant About The Music Industry

Found a posting on the music survival guide.

It is a recording academy project that was meant to create a dialogue between music makers and their fans in order to shape the future of digital music.

One of the projects recommendations struck a ranting cord with me:

#6: Offer What Piracy Doesn’t

“So how can companies drive illegal file sharers to legal Web sites? This is something many are struggling to figure out, and there is not one clear answer or solution. However, if legitimate Web sites and online companies want to continue to grow, they must offer what piracy cannot.”

In my early twenties, I took half my bat mitzvah money and bought a stereo. I got a component based one with a NAD receiver that was made in Japan and kick ass speakers. My older brother Jeff who is a music fanatic helped me pick it out. The stereo rocks. The sound rocks. I later added a Harmon Kardon CD player. It rocks. And I still have it. And when no one is around, I BLAST my music and pretend I am still an annoying teenager.

I spent a lot of money on that stereo. And subsequently I have spent a lot of money on music and everything associated with music. Just last year, I spent over $200 bucks for scalped Radiohead tickets (and if you want to hear how the concert was Vanessa has an incredible write up here)

Here’s my point. With all those smarty pants over there at the labels, can they really not find something I want to pay for? Should they go and read The World Is Flat to find a new way to do business? UPS is fixing Toshiba laptops. What are they doing? Enough is enough. They are a bunch of whiners who want to sue kids to make a point no one cares about anymore. They stopped digital tapes from existing, they are trying to legislate their way out of this mess and it’s not going to work.

I am the newly digitally empowered consumer. I am willing to give you my money. Now, get all your executives together in a room, figure it out and I promise you I’ll listen. But this time, your offer better be good. In the words of Clint Eastwood, "go ahead, make my day."


Mich said...

I came across your post, from January -- I know, I'm finally catching up. Anyway, I read it twice and I think I agree with you in that, I have money and I'm willing to spend it... but then it gets fuzzy. I was hoping to find out what piracy doesn't offer? Now I haven't read The World is Flat, but it seems you're suggesting that musicians should do something charitable to secure sales. Or they should just put out good music. Am I warm?

Leigh said...

I am not sure I have a definitive answer but in my mind it is about reinvention. Where that means finding new revenue streams through older channels (say capturing a live concert and selling that at the venue the night of the performance) or finding new businesses to go into (in the case of the book the world is flat, they give the example of a shipping company going into the business of fixing computers).

I think what we are starting to see now is that the record companies aren't bothering to try and reinvent the model, the consumers aren't being impacted by organizations like the RIAA and therefore the musicians themselves are attempting to experiment with new modes of business (direct channel, distributing through places like Starbucks etc.)

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