Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Music Strategies

After watching the livestream for New Music Strategies (#ampnms) I feel inspired to have a rant.

The Record Label
The "music industry" is working overtime to try and keep its stronghold on consumers money. The reason why? The industry focus way too much on stuff like piracy, and not nearly enough on satisfying their customers' needs.

For instance, not that long ago, it was almost impossible to buy a digital copy of music without it being riddled with some kind of DRM, rendering it useless and annoying to the end user. Why? Why would the music industry insist on its precious music being distributed in such a way as to make it more irritating to its intended audience?

And even now, they are still trying to impose silly restrictions to the customer - you can't buy a song on its own, you have to take the whole album. Or if you can buy a single song we'll make you pay the same price as an album. People don't like being ripped off - we're not stupid. If you say the CD costs £5 then a digital copy should cost maximum £3.50, otherwise we'll know you're trying to extort us.

And then there is the other end of the scale...

The Real Indy Musicians
These guys and girls and the lifeforce of music today, they are constantly battling the stereotypes of what music is and how it should be enjoyed. Employing such tactics as social media, twitter, facebook, blogs, soundcloud, bandcamp and others, to keep their fans up to date, and bypass the middlemen in distribution, marketing and the like, going directly to the consumer.

Whilst this is an excellent idea, it puts a lot of the workload on the artist to maintain their social media updates, working very hard with not a great deal of visibility to their intended audience.
And also on the consumer, who has to work out how to use proprietary websites and payment schemes, sign up to lots of different websites, and really work quite hard to "discover" new music.

The Missing Cog
I personally think there is a massive niche in the audio market at the moment. A tool that can deliver content as effectively as Spotify, that can recommend music in the same way as Amazon, and is as free as free can be to use, with no adverts, DRM or other stuff to drive the consumer crazy. It must be easier to gain music through it than torrents, and there must be no disadvantages to using it, over Usenet, or whatever the current flavour of "illegal" downloads happens to be.

We must accept that the pirates will always be ahead of the game, and so trying to stop them is a waste of time. Its the consumers we want to win the hearts of. The ones who are downloading music from ThePirateBay, simply because its the easiest (or only!) way to get music onto their Android phone, using their Gentoo Linux based system.

A distributed peer-to-peer system, where once paid for, a tune can be downloaded as MP3 locally as many times as needed, but can be listened to online easily too. Where the 100% of the money goes straight to the owner, not through the tool.


Hannah said...

The music industry is so tough to survive in to begin with, and this is a problem that seems almost impossible to truly resolve... I'm not quite sure where I stand on it all, but it does break my heart how all of the smaller musicians must suffer from illegal downloads and the lost revenue because of them. It would make a big difference if one could buy their songs "directly" from those artists so that there were no profits lost to third party download services, printing/distribution fees, etc.

russ said...

I think the biggest problem is that the people with the money/power who could make the biggest difference, also have the most to lose by implementing a change. They either need to change their own model, and reap the rewards of a better system, or wait until someone else does...

Or just sit around and sue anyone else who tries.

Check out this Laura Kidd's music here http://www.shemakeswar.com/sp.htm This is what has inspired me, showing that there is another way for an artist to be successful. Plus her songs are awesome =)