Mon, Mar 30th 2009 11:52am
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 13th 2009 6:48pm
from the getting-there... dept
There's now another interview with McBride at the Future of Music site where he talks more about his vision of a music future where people effectively pay not for the music, but for the convenience of a "music valet" that does a better job organizing and finding the music you want when you want it. I'm still not convinced this is how things eventually work out, but it's certainly worth thinking about.
However, there are few statements McBride makes that are worth highlighting. First are two statements I agree with, and then one I don't:
People have always been sharing music. Why would I want to stop them? Why would I want to tell them what to do? The way to win was to get them to support my artists, not to force them to do it a certain way. I know I wouldn't like anyone telling me that.This is a huge point that is so often missed by those in the industry who are focused on "protecting" and "control" rather than recognizing how people want to interact with musicians. The thing that I find most ridiculous from those complaining about file sharing is that they always make some statement along the lines of, "people who are sharing my files aren't fans, because real fans spend money." Of course, if that's true, what's the problem? The people who aren't fans aren't paying and (based on that statement) the real fans will pay. So, there's no problem at all...
Songs are not copyright. Songs are emotions.Indeed. And that's the point. Do people pay for emotions? No. However, emotions will impact what people will pay for. However, despite agreeing with McBride on so much, I think he goes a bit off-track with the following:
Out of all of the sharing of music, who's making an economic return? Whoever is should then share that with all the people that allowed it to happen, creating a nice alignment of interests to grow any business. A lot of the providers have viewed music as free content, while at the same time paying for the cable content to grow their networks. They've been making money off the backs of the artists without any compensation for the artists at all. I think that's fundamentally wrong. I've also said it's fundamentally wrong to go after the consumers that are using that opportunity. That's not the right approach either. The phone companies and the cable providers have gotten away with murder in this whole situation.This is the blame game and it's missing the point. The ISPs haven't "gotten away with murder." They've simply put in place a reasonable business model based on fundamental economics -- and there's nothing stopping plenty of others in the music business from doing the same. Demanding those who have figured out how to make money share with those who haven't isn't the answer either. There are business models that work just fine for those creating the music that don't require demanding anyone else share their profits. You just focus on coming up with real scarcities that give people or companies real reasons to buy and there are tons of business models that work.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Dec 12th 2008 7:40pm
from the consumer-models,-not-business-models dept
You should really read the entire interview, but a few highlights are things like where he points out that musicians and record labels should be selling the overall brand, not the music:
In the digital space, where you don't need to buy shelf space, if you create the right metadata behind what you're doing, and market it in an effective way -- you're not marketing the new album, you're marketing the brand.... Chad [Urmston of State Radio] just played to 2,800 people with a $25 ticket price in New York on the weekend. He's marketing a brand, he's not just marketing intellectual property. Now it all makes sense. He's happy, he owns his future, his audience has grown with him really well.Which brings up the second key theme: growing the audience and having them connect more closely with the musicians, even to the point of having some say in what direction the band goes in. For example, he talks about originally letting fans design the t-shirts the bands would sell. While some band members didn't like the fan-designed shirts, they inevitably sold more than the band-designed shirts. So, they started taking that even further: releasing versions of the bands' music online for fans to remix. And, with the latest K-OS album, even releasing all the musical stems for remixing, months before the actual album is released, with a plan to then release both the artist mix and the best fan mixes as both physical and digital offerings:
You can even take it beyond that. With K-OS, we're thinking about having the audience vote on which 10 to 12 cities he plays in Canada. We might even take it one step further: pay as you go not as you enter. And maybe when you leave you get a copy of the fan mix for your donation, so there's karma pricing on the exit.McBride also talks about where he thinks this is all going to end up, and he discusses a model that might sound sort of like the music tax we've been slamming, but in reality it's quite different:
To me, the future of music is really simple. It's cloud-based servers that have all of the music, TV, movies -- whatever it might be. Very rich application-driven PDAs, whether it's the iPhone or whatever else comes up, that has applications that I have yet to see. Like digital maids or valets, which go out and knows what your musical tastes are and your 20 friends, and finds that music and organizes it -- not the actual music but the metadata so you can pull it when and how you want it. You would have a $5 or $10 per month fee for pulling it down. And that's how it will all end up, because business cannot drive business consumption.I could see this happening to some extent. The difference between this and a music tax is (a) it's totally voluntary (b) it's about adding value beyond "free" that makes it worth paying and (c) what you're really paying for is actual scarcities: convenience and pointers to good music you'll really like. Of course, in the end, my guess is that eventually this would go one step further, where the service itself would be free, because musicians would find so many other benefits from being promoted through such a system (increased ticket sales, fan club subscriptions, etc...) that it would make even more sense for the whole system to be free.
How free loses out is the applications and metadata that makes it really easy. I call it the "hassle factor" -- for $5 to $10 you get all the music you want without the pain of having to find it. So you get the new Killers album without even knowing the new Killers album is out, and it's automatically in your weekend listening folder because your digital valet got it for you. And if you want to know what your buddy Ken's listening to, then the valet checks out his playlist and copies it over for you.
Anyway, it's great to see real progress being made on business models in the industry, and this actually highlights (once again) why Warner Music/Jim Griffin's music license system just isn't necessary. The market is making things work without it. In fact, the key quote from McBride may highlight why Nettwerk is getting somewhere while so many of the old school labels are having trouble:
It's a business model and not a consumer model. And it's definitely not a psychological model. This is about monetizing consumer behavior and not about trying to control where they go.He's talking specifically about "ad-supported" music, which I agree is a model that will never get very far, but the same thing pretty much applies to the old record label model, as well. These days, when there are real consumer options out there, you don't succeed by limiting what consumers do, you succeed by enabling them to do more. And, that seems to be exactly what Nettwerk is doing.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Feb 7th 2008 12:58pm
from the yet-again dept
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Oct 11th 2007 2:51am
warner music group
from the quite-a-week dept