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.

Filed Under: ,
Companies: universal music, warner music group

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Comments on “Major Record Labels Sorta, Maybe Embracing Direct-To-Fan Projects”

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14 Comments
Hephaestus (profile) says:

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.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

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

jasmine smith (user link) says:

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.

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