Hip Hop Stars Understand The Real Business Models For The Music Industry
from the making-all-the-scarce-goods-valuable dept
It’s funny every time we hear someone say that the music industry is in trouble. There’s very little evidence that’s true. More music is being produced today than ever before — and plenty of people are still making a ton of money in the music business. What’s actually in trouble is the traditional recording industry, which is quite different than the music industry. When we point out business models for musicians, we seem to get a lot of pushback, but there’s more and more evidence that artists are successfully embracing the model we’ve put forth — and they’re raking in the cash doing so. Forbes just came out with a report about how much money the top hip hop artists are making, and they’re doing quite well. However, it’s not because of just the music, but how they’ve used the music to sell all sorts of other things.
It’s exactly the model we described (though, many could probably do even better if they further embraced freeing their music). The music itself is an infinite good and can be used to the musician’s advantage to make scarce goods much more valuable. As Lea Goldman, the associate editor at Forbes who put together the story notes: “they are smart enough to know that it’s not just about selling albums. That’ll keep you going for maybe two, three years tops. It’s about building an empire and plowing those earnings into lasting businesses that will generate income long after the music stops selling.” For some artists, that means branching out into totally different businesses. When people attack the business model we’ve described, they snicker at “selling t-shirts.” However, the article notes that hip hop artists are creating full lines of clothing that sell well and sell for a premium because of their association with the artist. Also, the successful hiphop stars all seem to recognize one of the key “scarce” resources they can sell: an association with themselves. Many of these musicians took in millions by doing sponsorships, by producing other musicians albums or simply by appearing on other musicians’ recordings. So, can we now set aside the myth that the music industry is in trouble? It’s only in trouble if you’re solely in the business of selling plastic discs — and that’s because those discs are increasingly obsolete.