Not A Music Industry Crisis -- It's A CD Crisis

from the indeed dept

I got to spend some time with the organizers of Midem when I went there last week, and beyond doing an incredible job putting together a great event they actually have a really comprehensive view of what's happening to the market. Unlike some of those in the industry they serve, the Midem organizers not only have a really clear understanding of the market changes, but they seem to be working quite hard to adjust to the times -- and they've done it before. Midem actually started (and still functions) as a "marketplace" for buying and selling music rights around the world. So, for example, deals would be made where someone would buy the European rights for a hot new American artist or whatever. Somewhere along the way, the organizers realized that with so many folks from the industry all there together, it made sense to go beyond just a marketplace, and they added a conference on top of it. Then, ten or eleven years ago (well before many other folks) they realized that the internet and digital technologies represented a profound shift in the marketplace -- and they added MidemNet on to the beginning of the event, having two days that are just focused on digital issues.

There was one thing that struck me, though, during the event -- which is that separating out the digital part as a stepchild doesn't necessarily make much sense anymore. While they do include some digital/online things during the rest of the event, having the digital part as a "separate" event feels like it's a minor side issue, rather than a core trend changing the market. I had thought of bringing that up to the organizers... but, not surprisingly, it sounds like they're already ahead of me on that. Hal Bringman has a writeup on Midem for Digital Media Wire, where he notes that the director of the event, Dominique Leguern, says that they're considering merging MidemNet into the wider Midem as the industry is evolving into a fully digital domain. Also, Leguern made a key point that plenty of people have been making for a while:
"It's not a music industry crisis, it's a CD crisis."
Indeed. It's great that Midem is in such good hands. As an "insider" music industry conference, it wouldn't surprise anyone if the organizers acted like some of the old school execs in the industry -- focusing on the past and creating an echo-chamber of people trying to recapture a lost marketplace. Instead, they've been forward looking for many years, and working to change along with the market -- and even trying to help pull some of those execs along with them.

Filed Under: business models, midem, music

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  1. identicon
    PRMan, 27 Jan 2009 @ 3:01pm


    "The CD is an interesting thing. It is something the artists seem to want, but the fans seem to want digital (mp3).

    On my artist registration page, I have a small survey that helps me get to know the artist a bit so I know how to promote them. One of the questions is "Do you want to go all digital". 100% all say NO! They all want the CD because of the artwork and the overall experience that the CD brings.

    Whenever I have the opportunity to talk to music fans, I'll ask them if they prefer buying music in mp3 format or CD. Most (not all) say they'd rather just download the mp3 version. This is mainly because they only want a song or two, versus the whole record.

    There seems to be a disconnect between the artist and the fan, but I agree with the artist. The CD provides a much better experience than the mp3 ever could (I guess I'm showing my age here). This generation has become acustomed to the "instant gratification" and less on the experience.

    I think the key is to finding a way to bridge the gap and create a "happy medium" where the "experience" can be had "instantly"."


    I would LOVE for MP3's that I buy at Amazon to come with:

    1. Multiple high-quality pictures of the band (maybe a different one on each song of the album), instead of just the album cover itself
    2. Full lyrics for each song
    3. Comments including all the notes that are typically in the album cover (the thanks and whatnot).

    That would be great. Compared to the CD, I find the experience missing a bit as a fan as well. But not to the tune of 9 more dollars.

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