Takeaways from the music business/industry
A few weeks ago, we had attended the Ra Ga Carnatic concert in Aurora temple. We were wondering why the duo wasn't singing any original compositions and kept singing the older ones again and again. We found a possible answer to the question on one of our favorite blogs on the web - Seth Godin’s. And, that’s the lesson number one.
1. Familiarity and nostalgia.
The new thing is never as good as the old thing, at least right now.
Soon, the new thing will be better than the old thing will be. But if you wait until then, it’s going to be too late. Feel free to wax nostalgic about the old thing, but don’t fool yourself into believing it’s going to be here forever. It won’t.
2. Keep reinventing your music business.
Past performance is no guarantee of future success. The music business had a spectacular run alongside the baby boomers. Starting with the Beatles and Dylan, they just kept minting money. The co-incidence of expanding purchasing power of teens along with the birth of rock, the invention of the transistor and changing social mores meant a long, long growth curve.
As a result, the music business built large systems.
It was a well-greased system, but the fundamental question: why did it deserve to last forever?
It didn’t. Yours doesn’t either.
The shift that is happening right now is that the people who insist on keeping the world as it was are going to get more and more frustrated until they lose their jobs. Individuals who want to invent a whole new set of rules, a new paradigm, can’t believe their luck and how lucky they are that the people in the industry aren’t noticing an opportunity.
If your focus is on music, it’s great. If your focus is on the industry part and the limos, the advances, the lawyers, polycarbonate, and vinyl, it’s horrible.
The paradox in the music business - you want ubiquity, not obscurity, yet digital distribution devalues your core product. Most items of value derive that value from scarcity. Digital changes that, and you can derive value from ubiquity now.
The solution isn’t to somehow try to become obscure, to get your song off the (digital) radio.The solution is to change your business.
The idea of paying for music to this generation would be like asking them to pay for breathing unless of course, you shut it off. It ain’t gonna happen, not in my lifetime, and maybe not even yours, or your children’s. - John O’Rilley
4. You are the media now.
The more interesting thing to me is who is going to control the playlist. If there is an infinite amount of music available – and I would argue that as soon as the amount of music available exceeds the amount of time you have in your life, that’s infinite – somebody will have the leverageable spot of deciding what to listen to next. And it’s unclear whether someone will charge to tell me that or will pay to tell me that. It’s still up for grabs in every one of these vertical silos. Who are the tastemakers and how do these ideas spread?
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