Photo & Presentation

07Jan07

Day 32

State of the Music Industry

Digitization has advanced how music is created; however it has negatively impacted how music is commodified. Unfortunately, because the industry’s business wasn’t designed for this environment, artists and labels are unable to reap the benefits from these changes. The result is an industry that is not fairly compensating its most vital participants: creators.

The rapid changes of the last few years have empowered the artist. It is key to find a solution to their problems and fulfil their needs; without them there is no music. The democratization of the industry has taken the power away from the labels and needs to be made accessible to artists. We need to allow the artists to maintain control and ownership of their creations, empowering them to craft and control their own careers.

However, the labels still hold some power when it comes to commodifying music. Their strengths lie in the business, financial and marketing aspects. The label of the future is about providing these necessary services to artists, facilitating the relationship between the artist and the listener. This new approach will allow them to maintain their business and profit without drastically altering their business.

The listeners need music delivered to them the way they want. Just like the artists, they too have been empowered by technology and will no longer play by anyone else’s rules. They want to find great music and create rich experiences around it. They want to have music delivered to them on their terms, at the right price and without any restrictions. The demand exists; it is up to the industry to fulfil it.

To fulfil these needs it is essential to start embracing new technology and business innovations. The industry must accept this new technology and use it to its full capabilities. These innovations offer immense opportunities to enrich the musical experience and in turn, create profit.

The industry has the ability to benefit from the technology they are currently ignoring. Many mavericks have abandoned the past and have been greatly rewarded. The old system was designed to profit from music, the new one will nurture music and benefit from it. Artists and listeners have the ability to ignore businesses that don’t meet their needs, but they can also greatly benefit from ones that do.

From these perspectives it is clear that we need to empower the artist-listener relationship. The labels need to realize their core competencies. Artists need tools that empower them to reach the listener and make a living, and listeners want a rich music experience. The relationship is reciprocal; the artists have music and want revenue and the listeners want music and have revenue. Connecting the two is my goal.

This has led me to conclude that the music industry is in need of an effective way to commodify music that is designed to fit into the digital landscape. This will specifically focus on a system that provides artists with tools to effectively distribute their music and profit. The service will provide new artists with the tools they need to break into music, while also allowing established artists to continue their careers. It would also connect listeners and artists and nurture their relationships.

Simultaneously, this system will provide listeners with a product that fits their needs to effectively close the commodification loop. The act of buying music extends beyond the transaction. The music industry is a business, but to the artists and listeners it is all about the music. This service needs to facilitate this and provide music not as a product, but an experience.

To conclude, my goal is to create a system that distributes music in a way that meets the needs of artists and listeners in our digitized world, reinvigorating the music industry with a sustainable business model. This would enable artists to keep making the music we love.

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