by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
business models, economics, music, stories, success


Success Stories From The Music Commerce Frontier

from the things-are-working dept

To hear some in the industry tell it, the music industry is falling apart. Except, we're not seeing that at all. What we have seen is that sales of one particular element of the industry have come under much needed competitive pressure, and that's caused a few companies who relied too heavily on that area of business to finally start to recognize the inefficiencies in their business model -- which they're falsely blaming on "piracy." However, the rest of the industry is thriving. A couple weeks ago, I presented at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) event, held in San Diego, about "success stories from the music commerce frontier," highlighting both artists and companies that were finding success, despite the "woe is me" complaints from both the big record labels and certain music retailers. Parts of the presentation come from older presentations, but about 2/3 of it is entirely new material, including the opening bit, built off of Clay Shirky's wonderful analysis of what comes next for the newspaper industry -- but applied to the music industry. The presentation itself runs about half an hour and you can watch it below (if you're in an RSS reader, click through to the page to see it):

NARM 2009 State Of The Industry: Michael Masnick from NARM on Vimeo.

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  • identicon
    angry dude, 22 Jun 2009 @ 1:14pm

    T-Shirts, idiots !!!

    Don't forget about T-Shirts
    it's a sure way to make up for your losses
    Mikey said so

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

  • icon
    Kelly Brown (profile), 22 Jun 2009 @ 1:30pm


    If you are running Linux, let the entire video buffer. Go to your /tmp folder, copy the Flash cache file (named something like Flashzbx93o or other garbage that starts with "Flash"), rename it as an MP4 file.

    Voila. You've just saved a Flash video off the Internet without using any fancy plugins/tools.

    I am in class right now, so I had to use this method to watch it later. This way, at least, I don't have to rebuffer it later. ^_^

    (In fact, halfway through typing this message, I lost my Internet connection.)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2009 @ 1:34pm

    Yes, Yes, Yes!

    Brilliant speech, Mike!

    This was 1000x better, keep up the great work! I liked the intro, inside joke, perhaps?

    (Standing ovation)

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

  • icon
    max (profile), 22 Jun 2009 @ 4:18pm


    The ideas for monetizing music in this NARM video are absolutely brilliant. Another instance of "creative adaptation" of the times. Survival of the fittest. There will be more "creative adaptations" to answer the downfall of the music business's outdated model. That's just the way of the world. P2p is now the will of the people. So be it. That can be monetized as well...through creative adaptation. Options are all good as long as the people have the choices.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2009 @ 5:00pm

    All the creative adaptation is to cover for one basic issue:

    Everyone downloading music is stealing, getting something they shouldn't have unless they pay for it.

    Giving in to thieves is a really, really bad business move. If they are going to steal your music today, they will steal anything else they can get their hands on tomorrow.

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

    • icon
      max (profile), 22 Jun 2009 @ 5:27pm

      Re: anonymous

      Huh? It seems you didn't even watch the NARM video before commenting here. C'mon, get real. Don't be posting just to post.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2009 @ 6:04pm

        Re: Re: anonymous

        Sort of harm - the presentation style is for the MTV generation, people with the attention spans of fleas. It makes me ill, and makes me wonder if all the flashy slides are just to cover up the lack of a true message.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2009 @ 8:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: anonymous

          No, that would be the "Lessig Presentation Method", which is actually an adaptation of the Takahashi Presentation Method, which was named for it's inventor, Masayoshi Takahashi

          But what do you know? Just blame the MTV Generation. Seems easier, right?

          Seems fair.
          I will also call you an asshole. Why?

          Seems fair.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Jun 2009 @ 8:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: anonymous

            Critical reading skills: zero.

            "the presentation style is for the MTV generation"

            I didn't say it was invented by the MTV generation, I just say it's for people of that generation - people who think that a music video with less than 1 camera angle change per second is boring.

            It's all flash, flash, flash, and very little actual content. Heck, there are something like 50 or 75 slides just to discuss drunk people from last night. Is that really needed?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2009 @ 7:53pm

    Interesting video. It would be nice if they showed you talking on the podium every once in a while as well.

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

  • icon
    Sammie Houston (profile), 23 Jun 2009 @ 4:33am

    Watunes, The New Music Industry!

    As representatives for the largest digital distribution in the world, we will show any artist and/or record label how to benefit from a Digital Distribution relationship as well as be paid 100% of their royalties for FREE! Gone are the days of selling your music through a physical means. Statistics say 48% of teenagers purchased their music online in 2007 with that number increasing from 32% a year prior. If you are still slanging CD’s, you are quickly falling into the dinosaur arena. We can help you change all that.

    Watunes offers services for the entire independent music community, whether you already have digital representation or are just getting started in the digital world. We make it easy to distribute your content to digital outlets, promote your content using our innovative marketing systems, and manage your catalog and sales using our first-class technology.

    WaTunes is a social media distribution service that enables artists, groups, and record labels to sell music, music videos, and audiobooks through leading online entertainment retailers, including iTunes,ShockHound, and eMusic. Artists and labels can sell unlimited music and earn 100% of their profits – ALL FOR FREE! In fact, as of Tuesday June 9th, we signed NBA Legend and Hall of Famer Earl ‘the Pearl’ Monroe who owns record label Reverse Spin Records. The link is listed right below & you can either click on it and/or copy & paste into your browser. Please direct any further inquires, comments, questions, or concerns to us. We're more than elated to serve you anyway we possibly can.



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

  • identicon
    music101, 23 Jun 2009 @ 11:44am

    You are really out to lunch

    Are you serious? NARM was a joke.

    How long do you think topspin will be in business?

    I predict imeem, topspin, etc. will all be under within 2 years.

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

  • identicon
    Lance Bledsoe, 25 Jun 2009 @ 7:48am

    Very informative presentation

    I finally got around to watching this and enjoyed it tremendously. I was familiar with some of the content from previous Techdirt posts, but this brought it together with some new (to me) stuff in a very informative way.

    Thanks, Mike!

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

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