Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Music Industry Meltdown - UPDATED.

So, I’m updating this post after giving this more thought.  There are a number of ways the music industry could save itself from its self-instigated black pit of destruction…

1). Add value to the physical form of music.
Vinyl has now entered ‘niche’ status, it is desirable, nostalgic. If real value is demonstrated then consumers will (recession or not) spend a little extra for it. Japan is already great at this. Music stores like ‘Bonjour Records’ are still healthy compared to the UK’s sick and dying HMV.

Curated environments that cater for specific, selected tastes are also worth a look in, rather than ‘sell everyfuckingthing possible’ (for then, retailers risk entering a supermarket-esque price war).

Adding value to CD’s themselves is also a must – Why not a few secret signed editions put out there? (Opens CD > sees signature = YESSS!) Bonus content that is only available from the CD purchase (with suitable tamper-proof measures in place).

Why not a physical addition to add value? An artist in Japan (whose name escapes me) has released a CD album with an exclusive novel written for it about the musical lyrics, it came with a presentation box. Beck released their much-lauded ‘The Information’ album with a customisable cover. Easy-peasy starters for 10 right? 

2). Appeal to Downloaders to pay honestly for the music they rip. 
DeadMau5 was savvy about P2P last year, and released an album torrent with an audible watermark. It started dialogue about the ethics of downloading amongst his fans. A quick look at the comments on YouTube will reveal that there are in fact people out there who don’t like stealing music (shock!).

(Engrish corrected).
“I agree, I want their music the legal way, they [the musicians] deserve that”. 

3). Add value to the musician in question.
Highlight how skilled they are vocally (so no X-Factor auto tune bullshit) or technically (remember a time when people PLAYED real instruments? No? Get out). People will reward effort as tastes refine and steer away from the glitter-soaked sham of pop groups, towards more individual, self-made artists like Frank Turner or Lianne La Havas. 

4). Push new music boundaries.
Open up new markets and slow what Steve Rubel calls 'content decay' e.g. different genre creation like cross genre vocal mixing or sampling mash ups (‘Girl Talk’ has been doing that for a while now, and has built a fiercely loyal following). Check out this great doc about the culture of remixing. It’s also worth mentioning that genres of music have a finite life to them before they are killed by mainstream. To illustrate a point, consider how popular DubStep was this time last year, compared to now

Any more ideas? Fire them this way.

The entire fate of the music industry depends on it…

[Previous post]

A few weeks ago HMV announced it was closing 60 UK stores and axing hundreds of staff, Amazon announced that eBook sales have now overtaken physical book sales, and music as an art form has been devalued to the point where millions of people are not prepared to pay for it. With unprecedented download rates (95% of all downloads are made illegally) and the demise of solid state music, a strategy needs to be put into action by industry advertisers that can save the industry from its 'X-Factor' instigated destruction. Will any high street music stores even exist in 2020? If you'd like to know more about the strategy I have devised from talking to industry insiders and musicians, contact me and maybe we could have a chat.

Monday, 26 September 2011


Is the scale of a meme indicative of its strength? Discuss...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Financial Times and Moneygeddon.

Spotted this on the new Financial Times microsite. 

Any guesses as to where they got that little green map screen from?

Yes that's right, everybody's favorite genocide em' up, DEFCON. A fantastic game mind you with an amazingly haunting ambient OST. Definitely worth a look in.

Friday, 2 September 2011

The Wonderful World of Toy Cameras.

Dug this little gem out of the cupboard when I moved house. Got it at a car boot for 50p ages ago under the naive belief it was a real SLR…how wrong I was. Nevertheless I’ve just had a go with it and to be honest…it’s pretty damn good. There’s a lot of talk online about this camera (affectionately known as the Nippon ‘Crapcam’ in some circles). Basically from what I’ve gathered, it’s a cheap China-made thing that mimics the look of a real (I’m guessing Nikkon) SLR.

Here is a selection of shots using a Kodak ColourPlus 200 film taken on Holkham beach in Norfolk.

It’s lovely having a zillion camera apps trying to digitally replicate the charm of an analogue print (like Instagram and Hipstermatic), but why not just go for the real thing? It’s refreshing to see analogue cameras coming back into fashion (with brands such as Lomography and Polaroid) in a saturated sea of digital mimicry.

With old school cameras, there’s something nice about anticipating the outcome of a print when it’s developed. What will it look like? Nobody knows.One of the best things I discovered with this camera is when someone instructs me to delete a potentially embarrassing photograph I respond,

I can’t…it’s film.

This then raises the notion that we can achieve more honest photos with analogue. My toy camera adventure begins! Black and white film next...

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Lowest Common Denominator.

Has the bottom line in branding become lower in recent years after a spate of brand message butchery? Loveable old favorites like ‘Finger Lickin’ Good’ and ‘Probably the Best Beer in the World’ have been chopped into vague singulars, bent on reaching as many demographics as possible. The worst part is that many of these new straplines aren’t ownable for the brand in question - regardless of how pure the intentions. BMW cannot own the word ‘joy’, much like Coke can never own the word ‘happiness’ – they’re simply too indistinct and ubiquitous. The watering down of a message affects its ability to perform. Will future brand messages be nothing more than a single word? Will the magic ever return?