The Next Generation Of Music Services Need To Go Beyond Replicating The Analog In The Digital World

from the bingo dept

We've challenged some of Forrester analyst Mark Mulligan's claims in the past -- such as the idea that music can't be free, that the answer to record label problems is to do windowed releases and his recent assertion that digital music has "failed." However, outside of some questionable claims like these, his insights into the music business are generally quite good and valuable. For example, he has an excellent piece up at Mashable highlighting how the next generation of music consumers is coming along and the industry faces a very big challenge in capturing their attention. He notes that the original Napster generation -- defined as "the Millenials," were one thing, but they were mainly taking the analog world they knew and making it digital. It's the next generation -- the "digital natives" who have always lived digitally that are driving things now:
The Digital Natives give us a sneak peak at the future. Millennials looked like the future for a while but their behavior has a finite life span. For example, ripping and burning CDs, even downloading from BitTorrent and iTunes both recreate the analog behavior of getting units of music. This is because they started out in the analog era. They are the transition generation with transitional behaviors.

Digital Natives don't have that analog era baggage. All they’ve known is digital. Online video and mobile are their killer apps. These Digital Natives see music as the pervasive soundtrack to their interactive, immersive, social environments. Ownership matters less. Place of origin matters less. Context and experience is everything. In a world beyond content scarcity, experience is now everything. With "free" infecting everything, the content itself is no longer king. Experience now has the throne.
Exactly (and nice to see we've gotten past the idea that music can't be "free"). Mulligan then comes up with a very consultant-speak version of what new digital products must have, saying they need to be Social, Participative, Accessible, Relevant and Connected. I'd argue that social and participative and connected and accessible are redundancies, but it's still a good general list. Unfortunately, there's little indication that the industry recognizes all of this. In many cases, they're still fighting the last battle against the last generation. In doing so, as Mulligan notes, they're almost certain to screw up their chance to interest the next generation as well.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 17th, 2011 @ 9:59pm

    When I saw this article come up I had two words come to mind ... TOTAL FAIL

    The article is not a failure. The fact that you think the legacy "Content Industry" can adapt and survive is the Total Failure. Even presenting that as a premise is an insult to anyone who has half a brain. I really do not get you some times. It is probably because you jet around with these people ... and are corrupted by them.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 10:22pm

    "Millennials looked like the future for a while but their behavior has a finite life span. For example, ripping and burning CDs, even downloading from BitTorrent and iTunes both recreate the analog behavior of getting units of music. This is because they started out in the analog era. They are the transition generation with transitional behaviors. "

    I guess we're getting old. There are three things you lose as you get older. The first is your memory ... and I can't remember the other two.

    ...

    Now, where did I place my glasses.

     

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  3.  
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    kyle clements (profile), Feb 17th, 2011 @ 10:42pm

    sounds about right

    "Online video and mobile are their killer apps. These Digital Natives see music as the pervasive soundtrack to their interactive, immersive, social environments. Ownership matters less. Place of origin matters less. Context and experience is everything."

    This statement really resonates with me, since I like to think that for the most part, I "get it" with digital content being free and all, but I still believe that authorship is important.

    One of the reasons that I am unable to get into something like Girl Talk (or any of the DJ-based genres) is because to me, it feels soul-less and empty. It's just a mash-up of other stuff - I'd rather have the original stuff!

    I still think of a recorded song as 'a thing'
    A remix isn't a new musical experience to me, its a modified version of 'that original thing'
    A live performance isn't an event, its provided a song to be compared against the "real" recorded version.

    I never realized how stuck in that one way of thinking I was. The idea of music just being there, in the background to highlight an experience, "...who cares what the song is, we can dance to it..." goes against my sensibilities of what music should be about.


    Thanks for making me feel old, TechDirt...

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 10:59pm

    Re: sounds about right

    "Thanks for making me feel old, TechDirt..."

    *Looks around

    Dang it, I need my hearing aids to listen to all that cool music on the Internet. I can't hear without my hearing aids.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 11:07pm

    Re: Re: sounds about right

    You haven't seen them, have you?

     

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  6.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Feb 17th, 2011 @ 11:11pm

    But..but..but... what about the children?

    The RIAA and MPAA already have a plan to capture the attention of the digital natives. They have campaigns to teach them that what they have been doing for their whole lives in regard to media is piracy and illegal and that they are all little criminals.

    We have to let the digital natives know that they are breaking the law and costing trillions of dollars of damage to the global economy.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:15am

    the content itself is no longer king. Experience now has the throne.

    The content is, of course, essential to the experience. But because content is expensive and laborious to create, nobody wants to do it. Instead, the new crop of experience vendors takes content that's already out there, repackages it, and sells the package. Sometimes they tweak the content a little bit and call it creativity. They paint a moustache on the Mona Lisa, claim credit for the whole thing, and sell tickets as fast as they can.

     

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  8.  
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    btrussell (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 4:21am

    "This is because they started out in the analog era."
    Brothers in Arms, Dire Straits, totally digital, 1985.

    Remember the wave of "Digital Ready" speakers right after this?

    So we are talking about the next generation of 30 somethings?

    Or is this another example of how far behind the times the industry is?

     

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  9.  
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    freak (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 4:22am

    Re: Re: Re: sounds about right

    Can't see them without your glasses?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 4:49am

    Re:

    Right, because there was absolutely nothing creative going on during that period of art history. And without Dada you wouldn't have had Surrealism.

     

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  11.  
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    Rich, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:02am

    I think people completely misunderstand analog and digital. The difference is not physical vs. non-physical. A laser disc is an analog recording and a CD is a digital one, but both are on physical media. An NTSC broadcast is analog, while a DTV one is digital. Neither are contained in physical media (although in a physics sense, they are still physical). The funny thing is, according to quantum theory, everything is already digital.

     

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  12.  
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    Shon Gale (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:25am

    Sounds like to me he's living in lala land. Nothing is as you say it is. This guy is stupid. People still want to own what they pay for. What a loon he is. He is living in a utopia that no one else can even glimpse. My son was a so-called Millenial and downloaded tunes. He did it because he could. And because it was FREE!! Duh. It's still the same way. Human behavior never changes no matter what label you put on it. No matter how you're connected you still look for the freebie.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:28am

    Re:

    "nobody wants to do it. "

    Baseless FUD.

    Plenty of content was, and is, created without copy'right', today under CC and other similar licenses (including movies and songs these days) designed to circumvent copy'right'.

    The reason it was difficult to create before (and is still less difficult to create it today, less difficult only because of the Internet) is because big corporations control all the media distribution channels (ie: radio and cablco infrastructure use) and they lock out content that they don't have copy'right' control over, making it difficult for independents to create and distribute their content. But now that that's changing, partly thanks to people creating all sorts of freely available content, more content is being created now than ever before.

     

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  14.  
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    Casey, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:23am

    Authorship vs. Experience

    They needn't be mutually exclusive. Nor are the legacy industries with their inflexible business models required for a functional, and adequately capitalized music ecosystem.

    Rights exist for a reason and I truly believe that copyright, as conceived by the Founders, strikes a beautiful balance between incentivization in a limited monopoly, and the wealth and "experience" of the commons.

    The entire marketplace is distorted because of the endlessly perpetuated and utterly useless copyrights. Like most pointless ideological battles, it prevents alternative concepts from gaining traction, inspiring further escalation among the cognitively rigid footsoldiers on either side of this ridiculous war.

    Digital ammo is also unfortunately not scarce.

     

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  15.  
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    Casey, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:25am

    Autocorrect is the real enemy.

    Should say "The entire marketplace is distorted because of the endlessly perpetuated and utterly useless copyFIGHTS."

    Copyrights are not useless. But autocorrect is.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:49am

    These Digital Natives see music as the pervasive soundtrack to their interactive, immersive, social environments

    yeah, they just don't see paying for it as an issue at all. Sadly, they haven't figured out the basic "cause and effect" nature of payment, which means that soon their pervasive sound track will either be old music made "before the death of the music industry" or a bunch of amateur noodling.

    Careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:55am

    Re:

    CULTURE HARD!!!

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 8:46am

    Two useless articles by two guys who every day or so feel compelled to remind us how little they know about music and the people that live it.

     

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  19.  
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    btrussell (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 9:18am

    Re:

    What music has the industry created?

    I have never seen any song written and composed by RIAA.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 11:33am

    Re: But..but..but... what about the children?

    @Josef Anvil

    lolz, this is uber-dry wit right? hell, im a brit, and even im not sure ur joking

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:24pm

    Re:

    You're using the term analog a little too literally here...

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:28pm

    Re:

    Not true. People are perfectly happy paying a small fee to be able to stream anything they want. Pandora is free to a degree, but it won't be forever. Netflix is a great example of this model working too; Netflix users don't own anything, they're paying for access and they're quite happy to do so. At the right (low) price, people don't need to own anything, you just have to give them easy access.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    Re:

    Without major labels, there would be no music? I see no problems with your logic at all!

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    Followed by one useless comment by another AC.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: But..but..but... what about the children?

    No, I'm pretty sure that actually is their (RIAA/MPAA) plan...

     

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  26.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 1:38pm

    Re:

    Two useless articles by two guys who every day or so feel compelled to remind us how little they know about music and the people that live it.

    The only really useless thing I see here is your comment.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re:

    To be fair, it's all they have left, really.

     

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  28.  
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    btrussell (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 2:52pm

    Re:

    I used to live music. My values changed.
    I think a doctor or a farmer is worth more than any musician, actor, or athlete.

    If you have a gallstone(potentially life threatening), who are you going to call? MCHammer? Radio station to make a request for a song?

    Grow up and align your priorities, dickfor.

     

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  29.  
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    Huph, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re:

    No. It's just that people don't know what words mean and they like to use buzz terms without any knowledge of what's actually being said.

    ALL MUSIC IS ANALOG, period. No one has bits or strings of ones and zeros fed into their mind. Even with MIDI music, the sound pressure that activates your ear drum is an analog source. Always. All digital sound passes through AD/DA converters on the way into/out of the digital realm. (AD/DA = Analog to Digital / Digital to Analog).

    Analog has a VERY distinct meaning in the audio world. Misuse of the term in this realm only causes confusion. It's like when people use the term "tone" to talk about the emotion of a piece of music. That's foolish, "tone" has a very distinct meaning in music, and it has nothing to do with emotion. (Even amplifiers with EQ settings referred to as "tone" are incorrectly using the term)

    So yes, this article is foolish. All digital music replicates analog music, not the other way around. It simply couldn't be any other way, because we only here something when air is moved.

     

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  30.  
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    huph, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 3:13pm

    Re:

    Precisely.

    Analog is like a wave.

    Digital is like a staircase.

    And, yes, technically quantum theory shows us that the slope of a wave is actually stairs if you look close enough. But that realm is beyond our experience... for now.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 3:36pm

    Re: When I saw this article come up I had two words come to mind ... TOTAL FAIL

    Apparently Radiohead decided the whole free gimmick didn't work. Their new album is available for a price, in all the traditional formats.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: When I saw this article come up I had two words come to mind ... TOTAL FAIL

    Actually In Rainbows wasn't free, it was a pay-what-you-want. Some decided to go the free route and others didn't.

    But it wasn't entirely free. A little gimmicky, sure, but I guess they learned from it and are trying something different. The horror!

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: When I saw this article come up I had two words come to mind ... TOTAL FAIL

    You said it. Free music is a gimmick, not a business model.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 5:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: When I saw this article come up I had two words come to mind ... TOTAL FAIL

    You suck at reading comprehension.

     

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  35.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 9:39pm

    Re:

    Two useless articles by two guys who every day or so feel compelled to remind us how little they know about music and the people that live it.

    Funny. This article isn't about music, but about the music business -- something Mark and I are both very familiar with.

    I wonder why you would get that wrong?

    I'm still waiting for you to call so we can help your failing band.

     

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  36.  
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    btrussell (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: When I saw this article come up I had two words come to mind ... TOTAL FAIL

    Music is a gimmick, not a business model.
    Bagpipes anyone?

     

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  37.  
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    Kelso80, Feb 20th, 2011 @ 3:27am

    It's very easy to say the music industry needs to do this or that. The difficult part comes with coming up with what exactly "this or that" means. In this case, you can claim that the industry needs to be "Social, Participative, Accessible, Relevant and Connected." But what does that translate into in the real world?

    Why not throw in not only the kitchen sink, but the entire house as well?

    No one can come up with an answer, and as such, it's totally useless advice. It's grandstanding from people who have no solutions or original ideas, but who feel that they are fit to criticize.

    It is easier to be an armchair critic than to innovate. While everyone says the music industry (or any other digital industry) is operating by outdated business models, no one can come up with a viable, sustainable alternative.

     

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


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