Major Record Labels Sorta, Maybe Embracing Direct-To-Fan Projects

from the but-it's-more-than-just-the-platform dept

While we definitely knock the major record labels for their legal strategy and occasional business blunders, in the last two years or so, there has actually been some recognition within the record labels that finally they need to focus on giving fans what they want, rather than just suing them and hoping that the old CD business model magically returns to its former highs. There have been hints and glimmers of hope from the major record labels -- though, even those inside the labels who seem to get it will quietly admit that it's sometimes a struggle to get some of this through to "the old guard."

The question, though, is how much of this is real, and how much of it is the old guard putting on a show, picking up on a buzzword and insisting that this time, they've got it. A few years ago, all the talk was about "360 Deals" and how that would get the labels off of the CD revenue IV drip. But, many artists (smartly) balked, seeing such deals not as an industry adapting to change, but one looking to just get a larger piece of the pie -- and doing so without adding much value, and after decades of screwing over the artists. So that hasn't worked out so well for the most part.

It appears that the latest buzzword that the majors are picking up on is this concept of the "direct-to-fan" model. This is a bit of an offshoot of my own mantra of getting creators to connect with fans. And, for more independent artists, a number of platforms and companies have sprung up to help them more easily connect with fans, whether it's MySpace or BandCamp or TopSpin or TuneCore, or whoever else. And, of course, most of those companies also have relationships or deals with the major record labels, but it seems that the majors are realizing that they need to have a real "direct-to-fan" strategy themselves.

Just recently, we saw Warner Music sign a deal with Cisco to use Cisco's EOS platform for direct-to-fan efforts. And, more recently, Universal Music announced that it was working with Echospin to provide direct-to-fan offerings. I have no doubt that EMI and (probably way way way at the end of the line), Sony will get around to making similar announcements.

While I think it's a great thing that the labels are experimenting with smarter models that actually do focus on bringing the musicians closer to the fans and providing a much more compelling offering that goes beyond brochureware, I'm a bit skeptical that they'll really pull it off successfully in the short term. Direct-to-fan offerings is more than a platform. It's an actual business model and marketing strategy and it's unclear if the labels have actually figured that part out yet. Yes, they're adopting platforms and they're taking steps in the right direction -- so let's give them some credit. But until they really understand what fans want and how to better help musicians provide it, setting up a "direct-to-fan" platform won't make a big difference.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 3:24pm

    They keep using that phrase

    I don't think it means what they think it means...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Glenn, Aug 28th, 2009 @ 5:47pm

    Last "2 years or so"?

    More like last 15 or so. But how is this different? All of their legal suits have been "direct-to-fan" projects.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 28th, 2009 @ 6:05pm

    Re: Last "2 years or so"?

    More like last 15 or so

    Really? Five years ago, even the labels were admitting they had no clue what to do, and weren't even trying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 29th, 2009 @ 1:57pm

    I have a "direct to fan" project

    The idea is Create a "Lyrics Builder" (copyright, TM, etc, on the name ) where you can take lines from books, songs, poems, Cliche's, etc and just drop and drag a song together. Able to go from one word with acronyms to as many words as the user wants with acronyms. (Gotta think about fair use here)

    Like joining the following phrases into lyrics ...
    - "She has a body like an hour glass"
    - "its ticking like a clock"
    - "Time after time"
    - "I am missing her"
    - "etc"
    - "etc"

    Link the above to a chord builder that can be set to x to y notes.


    272 note/entry) What I say above for the business plan

    .... oh man I love this place great Ideas come from it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 29th, 2009 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re: Last "2 years or so"?

    "Really? Five years ago, even the labels were admitting they had no clue what to do, and weren't even trying"

    oh oh .... pick me ( hand raised ) I know what to do ...

    Problem is the record labels wont survive...

    Big Ole (grim reaper) GRIN

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 29th, 2009 @ 4:24pm

    Re: I have a "direct to fan" project

    273) For support the business plan needs to be posted on music blogs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 29th, 2009 @ 4:26pm

    Re: Re: I have a "direct to fan" project

    Every other comment on music blogs is Anti RIAA. I support the artist not the middle men seems to be the theme. Very cool!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 29th, 2009 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Re: I have a "direct to fan" project

    273) To find people to support the business Plan, Post on music blogs.

    274) Treat all music as a commodity... Treat/create the site as an exchange where the true value of the music can be negotiated by the fans.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 29th, 2009 @ 7:19pm

    Re: I have a "direct to fan" project

    275) random generation of lyrics based on previous lyrics...

    From avril lavgine ....

    - "Slipping down the slide"
    - "It took me by surprise"
    - "And that went out of bounds"
    - "don't turn around"
    - "I am sick and tired of your face"
    - "Its just one of those things"
    - "You'll have to get over it"

    Randomly put these lines and any others from past songs and picture the image you are trying to present to others and its new form.

    It works as "new" it works as "creative content"

    hmmm ... I like the concept

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 29th, 2009 @ 7:33pm

    Re: Re: I have a "direct to fan" project

    It feels so '[rnd]'

    good, bad, ugly, strange, etc, inserted as and option in the 1-n word lines as a programming option

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 31st, 2009 @ 6:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Last "2 years or so"?

    "Problem is the record labels wont survive..."

    See all my "nnn note/entry)"'s to understand where I am going with this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Peter Wells, Aug 31st, 2009 @ 9:12am

    Direct to Fan, from Fans

    The ease of access and disintermediation has let the artist become as much of a fan as his/her own fans. It's been a fascinating process to watch. The lines are blurring, as fans can use the Web to do far more as "superfans" than they ever could have before.

    We'll all be watching. :)

    --Peter
    peter@tunecore.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    barcode labels, Sep 4th, 2009 @ 11:01pm

    barcode labels

    Skylark Sales Corporation is a leading supplier of Labeling Equipment, Industrial Labels, Printed Labels, Barcode Labels, Food Labels, Security Labels, Packaging Labels, Product Labels, Holograms, Adhesive Tapes etc. In business since 1997, we have the experience necessary to help you with all of your marking and labeling needs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    jasmine smith, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 4:35am

    major record label

    The term ‘label’ refers to the logo or a picture of a particular company or a brand.The major record labels in Hollywood are way ahead of the others as far as volume of sales is concerned and some are in this trade for several decades. Today their logo is just enough to capture the market of audio products within days of launch.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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