Bands Big And Small Finding New Business Models That Work

from the and-it-all-comes-together dept

There's been renewed interest in music industry business models now that we're seeing a number of top musicians experimenting with changing business models. The backlash to those early reports was somewhat amusing and seemed to fall into one of two camps. First, there were those who said that these business models would only work for big, well-known bands, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Then, there were those who would pick apart each business model to point out why that particular business model wouldn't work for other bands. One of the things that we've tried to do around here is make it clear that there no longer is just one business model that works -- but that there are many different business models that all are based around the idea of the music being free and then charging only for scarce goods. However, if we gave an example of bands making money off of concerts, people would say that some bands don't like to tour. If we gave an example of a band making money through merchandise, we'd hear that some bands don't want to sell merchandise. That's fine. The point is that there are lots of different business models, and bands can find the ones that work for them. Two articles that came out over the weekend help to highlight this.

The first is in the NY Times, and it talks about how big bands are embracing all kinds of new business models from having their music used in TV commercials to selling other related goods (beyond the typical t-shirts and CDs), such as branded drinks. The second article focuses on less well known bands, and how they're adopting all kinds of new business models that focus on getting fans to pay up. In fact, it mentions one band that appears to be using a close variation on the subscription fan club model we suggested years ago. What these two articles show, however, is that both big and small bands are learning there are all sorts of ways to make money in making music even if the music itself isn't where the money comes from. You provide the music to build up a fan base, which helps build up the value of lots of other things as well. It's nice to see more musicians recognizing this trend -- even if the RIAA continues to deny it.

Filed Under: business models, music

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  1. icon
    Nick Dynice (profile), 29 Oct 2007 @ 5:06pm


    Wired just did a post about the resurgence of vinyl.

    Of course, this is off the radars of the majors because most new vinyl sales are re-issues, indies, and dance music.

    The vinyl experience is definitely a scarce good. CDs, not so much. The CD experience can be replaced with free MP3s, the no scarce good. If the majors and the RIAA really knew what they were doing, they would be pushing the vinyl resurgence and telling everyone to be DJs. Not that we need more DJs but it would give record companies the opportunity to....wait for it....sell records again!

    I copied the new Interpol album from my friend. I recently saw that a vinyl version comes with the CD and a 12-inch book artwork for about $20. That seems like it is worth the money.

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