Another Business Model That Embraces Free Music Sharing

from the the-idea-is-spreading... dept

Last week I wrote up my quick suggestions for a business model that embraced free file sharing without involving any changes to the law – or, in fact, changes to anything other than some music industry contracts. It seems that some others are coming to the same conclusion. Venture Capitalist Tim Oren (who does not invest in anything related to the music industry, content or digital rights management) has written up his idea of how the industry can embrace free file sharing, and it’s remarkably like my own thoughts on the matter. He suggests, though, that it’s going to take a top-40 teen heart throb type of success story to get it to sink in for the industry. He describes this as a combined “Britney-Blair Witch” phenomenon – taking the industry completely by surprise. Another thing that I’ve thought of since I wrote my own piece, and which fits in here with Tim’s idea is that it certainly will be possible for the bigger name acts to make additional money in sponsorships. Just look at how much Pepsi is spending on someone like Britney. That doesn’t change in a world of free file sharing – and, in fact, Britney is likely to have a larger audience since it will be easier to get more people to listen to her. So, now, the question is how to create this Blair Witch style groundswell for a musician, while keeping them away from the major labels.

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Comments on “Another Business Model That Embraces Free Music Sharing”

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dorpus says:

Prestige effect

The tinted stones we call jewels are things that people want because they are expensive. And because people want it, they are expensive. If we live in a world where gemstones can be bought by the fistful from bubble gum machines for 25 cents, nobody would want them.

So it could be with music: the prestige of owning an album goes away when they are free, nobody will want to own music anymore, and future denizens will wonder why anybody ever spent money to own noise.

dorpus says:

Re: Re: Prestige effect

Who, you or me? Diamonds are starting to be manufactured on the cheap. In a few years from now, women may consider a diamond ring an insult to their dignity.

A hundred years ago, when plastic was a brand new material, jewelry was made from it, and rich people showed them off. What rich people today would think to buy plastic jewelry?

Beck says:

How You Look At It

Maybe I get it now. Reading that article it suddenly hit me. Should file-sharing be considered as promotion or as distribution?

The RIAA and some musicians see it as distribution of product, and therefore see it as lost revenue. Other musicians see it as promotional material, which will result in concert ticket sales, T-shirt sales, lunchbox sales, and sponsorship money. And yes, it will also sell CD’s.

The key is to turn people into fans. No one buys CDs or goes to concerts of musicians they have never heard of. But turn them into a fan and you will have several years of revenue from that person. Give them the samples for free so that they can learn about you. Let them share those samples with other people. Word will spread.

Muscians don’t become famous by preventing people from hearing their work.

dorpus says:

Re: Re: How You Look At It

Here’s a look at social etiquette: if someone spent money to buy something, and is proud of it, basic social courtesy is to applaud their purchase (whether you like it or not).

Now if that someone got the same thing for free, and is still fiercely proud of it, does that situation not beg for mockery? Imagine teens whose life you just ended by making fun of their music, or nerds gushing fire hydrants of tears from their coke-bottle glasses because you make fun of their Bach.

I once saw a teen who obviously did a homemade henna, so I asked if it was a birth defect, and let me tell you, her day was ruined.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: How You Look At It

That doesn’t really work, because people will start sharing the higher quality versions as well.

Also, the idea of ofering “downloads” isn’t the point. By using P2P, you’re offloading the bandwidth costs and creating a good mechanism for promoting bands to people. See someone who likes a lot of the same music you do? Notice they have some band you’ve never heard of? Guess what? You’re going to check out that band.

mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: How You Look At It

all true, but that assumes that they’ll ever get it. if they offer the lower quality downloads, they can take a baby-step, look like the good guy, and promote their stuff, not similar stuff from another label that they won’t make any money off of.

the whole debate reminds me a little of environmentalism. if those folks put all of that energy into enabling alternatives, rather than trying to punish the evil ones, something might actually change.

but then again, i don’t download and haven’t bought a cd in quite a number of years…

anon says:

No Subject Given

I dont think you guys get why RIAA wants to kill file sharing. Its all about control. If they loose it they loose every thing. Right now most music deals do NOT include money from concert & t-shirt sales. Most of the Music compaines money is from made CD sales, also they make some from using the music in ads and movies and such. If they say, Yes lets give the shit away for free on P2P networks they will lose lots of $$$. But thats not even the worst part. If they let music leagly be shared on the P2P networks they lose CONTROL. Now ANY one with any kind of talent could release their stuff for FREE and not need a record lable. At the point when that happens, the music industry is screwed because their will be no reason to have contracts with them and the Artist will be happy becuase they will get 99% of every thing they sell.

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