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.

No comments:

Post a Comment