Friday, 4 April 2008

The Revolution Will Be Live

Some people think that free streaming music paid for by advertising will be the future of music. I tend to disagree. Music tracks, whether the music industry likes it or not, are commodities whether ad supported or not. And one cannot sue their way out of a tidal wave and eventually, the industry will have to acknowledge that their opportunity to stem the tide stopped back when they started charging $20 for CDs when they should have been charging $10.

If the distribution of music is no longer a profitable business then what is the alternative? Talking to various progressive musicians and producers I know in the industry, the consensus is to look at where the value is. At the heart and soul of this debate is needing to find something that cannot be replicated and something that cannot become a valueless commodity like an mp3 or a CD.

What could that be? More and more, it's live performances that create a unique value proposition in a world where any other moment can be digitally relived. And why stop there? Concert promoters are learning faster than anyone how to merchandise and brand individual performances in unique ways such as the sale of digital videos and/or CDs produced for sale soon after the show ends. Music may be a commodity but experiencing the thrill of a live concert will never be. Each one is unique never to be experienced again. In the words of Gil Scott Heron, "The revolution will not be televised, the revolution will not be brought to you by COKE, the revolution will be live."


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