More Artists Recognizing The New Business Model: Sell The Scarcity

from the very-cool dept

Laughing Squid, in talking about how Eminem is the latest artist to embrace the tiered selling structure (though, I think he got the model wrong -- the music is priced way too high), calls our attention to a short article by famed musician Brian Eno that highlights the point we've been suggesting for years. The music industry is doing great, and it's doing it by selling scarcities:
Digital technology has made music easier to make and copy, with the result that recorded music is about as readily available as water, and not a whole lot more exciting.

This seems like bad news, until you pick up a copy of Time Out. Then you realise that the live music scene is exploding, for, unable to make a living from records sales, more and more bands are playing live. That experience can't be put onto a memory card--and people are willing to pay for it, and to pay quite a lot. Concert attendances are at an all-time high: recordings are increasingly ads for live shows, and live shows have become once again the real thing, the unduplicable.....

The duplicability of recordings has had another unexpected effect. The pressure is on to develop content that isn't easily copyable--so now everything other than the recorded music is becoming the valuable part of what artists sell. Of course they'll still want to sell their music, but now they'll embed that relatively valueless product within a matrix of hard-to-copy (and therefore valuable) artwork. People who won't pay £15 for a CD will pay £150 for the limited edition version with additional artwork, photos, booklet and DVDs. They often already own the music, downloaded--but now they want the art. They're buying art, and they're buying it in a new way. That suggests to me the possibility of a refreshingly democratic art market: a new way for visual artists, designers, animators and film-makers to make a living. So, as one business folds, several others open up.
It's so great to see more and more content creators realizing this.

Filed Under: brian eno, business models, economics, scarcities

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Cowherd, 20 May 2009 @ 1:37pm


    Eno touches on something that is very important: People are taking control and getting involved in/with their music. No longer content to be mere consumers, people want to be in control of all aspects of their lives, including their music. The Big labels view music fans as a captive audience that is duty bound to buy everything they crank out, the way they dictate, at the price they dictate. And you're a criminal if you try to deviate even slightly from the blessed path. People want to think and act and make their own lives, not receive them from above. Music is alive and well, and people are willing and able to spend money for it, but in ways they decide. The recording companies could participate if the wanted to, but they don't. Let them wither and die. From the remains a million new ways to enjoy and share music will emerge.

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