Music Industry Makeover

The most exciting aspect of the chaos within the music industry is the prospect of opportunity.  With no one proven way to move forward on the table, the time is ripe for trying experimental and innovative approaches.  Those bold enough to see their vision through to completion are by no means guaranteed success, but the very fact of a marketplace in flux is worthy of celebration in and of itself as it demands that new tactics be evaluated.  Granted, many of the remaining power players would not have embraced this type of climate by choice, but now that the old models are crumbling before their very eyes there are decisions which must be made – and since the answers could come from any direction, minds are opening to ideas which previously would have been considered too risky or too far removed from the established ways of doing business.

Legendary recording artist Frank Zappa reminisces fondly on the days of cigar chomping old guys deciding how to market music…

Of course, when people speak of the decline of the music industry, they are often truly referring to the decline of one specific aspect of the greater whole, that of physical product sales.

Meanwhile, music continues to permeate nearly every aspect of our lives in ever expanding ways.  As always, fans continue to define themselves and their communities with the sounds and styles they love.  Consumers have simply spoken with their dollars in favor of a new set of priorities.  The ability to discover and share music easily has trumped both fidelity and format to assume the top spot on many people’s list of what they want from their music collections.

Music business advice from Lil Jon, Too Short, Gangsta Boo, Ashanti, Cash Money, hella DJs, an Entertainment Lawyer, radio station program directors and more…

Encouragingly enough, there are individuals within the established order who are in fact making the effort to embrace these insights.

It’s quite challenging to evolve quickly in a rapidly changing market. The music industry today is a very different beast to what it was 10 years ago. There has been a huge shift in focus. I think we all understand how much has changed. We’re just learning to have a different role and provide a different range of services for our artists, and a different offer for a consumer that fits the way people experience music now. That’s obviously a constantly moving target. It evolves all the time. ~ Ed St. John, head of the Australian Recording Industry Association

Jazzy Jeff offers his two cents worth on how to move forward in the biz…

Not only that, but as one market segment continues to shrink (CD sales), others are just beginning to bloom.  Consider the iPhone application, which artists like T-Pain have already used as a new way to reach consumers.  His “I’m on an iPhone” app has already sold more than 300,000 units at $2.99 each, comes complete with a contest opportunity urging users to upload a video of themselves singing along with the hit song, “I’m On A Boat”, and promises the winner $5,000 and a chance to hang out with the robo-voiced crooner.  Cheeky?  Absolutely, yet this type of marketing obviously appeals to his fan base and really only hints at the potential for interactivity between artist and fan.

Ultimately, it may prove that versatility will reign supreme and those willing to experiment on multiple fronts and with a variety of tactics will be the most successful.  That indeed is the beauty of this story…it’s outcome is still being written!

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