by Carlo Longino

Record Label Releases Greatest Hits Of Business Models Album

from the the-more-things-change... dept

It's been highlighted several times that major record labels have been dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age, preferring to try to cling to their outdated ideas of how to sell music rather than really try out any new business models. The New York Times has written a glowing piece on how Epic Records marketed a track and album by the singer Shakira, hailing it as some genius stroke of cross-platform strategy and marketing. It glosses over the smart part of the plan -- soliciting user submissions to create a promotional video -- and plays up the exclusive deals Epic made for the song on different platforms. The intention of the plan was to prop up a sagging album by releasing a second version of it with a new track, a popular take on the make -people-pay-for-the-same-content-over-and-over strategy. Epic then signed some exclusive deals, so that if you wanted to buy the track and download it, you had to be a Verizon Wireless customer; if you wanted to stream it online, you had to go to Yahoo Music. If you were one of the uncool kids that didn't have an affiliation with either of those companies and wanted to buy the song, you had to buy the whole album -- going back to the record labels' favorite ploy of making people buy a lot of content they don't want to get the little bit that they do. The NYT says that the record sales of the single when it finally went on widespread sale through iTunes and other download shops validated the strategy, but it's hardly surprising that only after putting the song on wide release would it actually sell. And while it may have gotten a good first-week bounce -- again, unsurprising for a heavily promoted pop song -- it's unclear if the strategy will turn into any sustained sales increase. So perhaps Epic does deserve some credit, for repacking its normal business model and making it look new, like entertainment companies often do with their content.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2006 @ 1:31pm

    I think if someone showed the music industry that new technology would actually help them make more money they would be all over it. The only reason they fight it is because a short term threat to their profit margins and annual bonuses.

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

    • identicon
      jdw242, 12 Jun 2006 @ 3:31pm


      the music industry is afraid of new technology, and probably don't even understand how any of it works; hence their continuing push to have the Gov't block such technology because that new stuff makes the sky fall.

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

  • identicon
    Miles, 12 Jun 2006 @ 3:20pm

    Not buying gets their attention

    The roblem is that the RIAA wants it both ways - they like you to purchase an album or cd; AND they want to pretend they are "licensing' you a copy.

    If it were a license, then when the CD goes bad, i should be able to get another copy of my "licensed" song for a reasonable price; but no one I know has ever gone back to Columbia, for example, and asked for a replacement for the Beach Boys "Surfer Girl" because the CD wore out. I can just imagine the guys at Columbia laughing the petitioner out of the building.

    The reason the publihers are losing money now compared to past years is not primarily due to hackers and thives: it is that MP3's make it possible for me to make a LEGAL archival copy of the music I have purchased/licensed; and no, I'm not ever going to PAY for a new copy of a song I have already paid for. I have "licensed" the Beatles song "Here Comes the Sun" on record album; 8 track; casette, and on CD; and probably several copies of some of thewe formats. I can tell you, now that I have a copy of one of these archived on my pc, I will NEVER again pay for another copy of the same music.

    RIAA: You've lived high on the hog for a long time, never complaining that I have paid you over and over and over for the same songs that you now want me to "license" in digital form every time I listen. Nope - game over. Stop bribing Congressmen and Senators (OK, I kno wit's easy if you have money) and stop your whining. No more new albums for me thanks....

    The best way to get their attentiojn - if we ALL stoped buying music (and not hacking copies to prove their point) then the RIAA would crash.. and they would have to find a new business model. Oh - and if you are incredibly rich, think about picking up a few Congressmen of your own and help us out here)

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

  • identicon
    BillDivX, 12 Jun 2006 @ 3:31pm

    it's been shown to them....

    They just don't get it. It's going to take another 10 years or so, until the techie generation, guys like me who grew up with computers, who have firm understanding of what you can and can't do with them, have managed to really infiltrate into the top executive spots in these industries. Most of us just went on to be IT and software engineers. It's gonna take someone like me, who has a thorough understanding of both computer technology and the music industry as it stands today. Your average technophile might know how to make the technology do what these guys can't do, but they DON'T know how to set up a successful music business, scout acts with real potential, work as producer on studio recordings, promote bands to the public, and cut business deals with others in the industry - and do it all well enough to compete with names that people have heard of. Making technology work for you is not easy. Setting up a Music business and making it successful is less easy. Doing both is going to take someone who is very ahead of his time and highly motivated to take on this industry. He's probably also going to need a lot of lawyers, some good engineers, and several really good bands.

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

  • identicon
    corbett, 12 Jun 2006 @ 5:46pm

    I'd be interested to know how many major record lable bosses have a tech background. None of the ones I've met do.

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

  • identicon
    I, for one, 12 Jun 2006 @ 5:59pm

    Silk purse from a sows ear

    One question. Was the album any good?

    I suspect the answer is, no it was a steaming pile of dog doo. That is what you should be looking at hardest.

    The record industrys failure is complex, like the fortunes of a small country it goes deep into culture, economics, psychology, planning...

    Did you know we don't even teach music in our schools any more?

    Did you know the cost of a production devices and software that rivals the capabilities of a multi-million dollar Hollywood studio costs less than a weeks wages now?

    Just think about those two things for a moment. There's just not enough time and space for me to get into it right now, but here's the truth in a nutshell... the media business is not just bankrupt ideologically and morally, it's bankrupt artistically too. It can't attract the talent or the customers any more and is still trying to recreate the 20th century idea of the "hit". It's not just the shift in technology that makes the middle-man redundant, it's a shift in culture away from mass affection for prescribed and approved products manufactured by machines (and cold dead machine-like people)

    Music is better and healthier than it's ever been, it's out there, go find it.

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

  • identicon
    nixr, 12 Jun 2006 @ 7:44pm

    I hope they never get it.

    What kind of sad cultural wasteland do we live in where our art has to go through some corporate filter before it can be appreciated? As far as I am concerned the entertainment industry as a whole can collapse in on itself and die. What I am waiting for is the artists themselves to fully embrace technology and start producing, marketing, and distributing their own material. The sooner they realize that they don't even need these dinosaur companies to distribute their art the better.

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

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