Forrester Plan For 'Saving' The Music Industry: Annoying Windowed Releases?
from the copying-bad-movie-industry-ideas? dept
His latest effort is to release a report on how "to save the music industry from the current Media Meltdown it finds itself in." Funny, I thought we were just seeing multiple studies -- including one from the music industry itself -- noting that the music industry is getting bigger, not smaller. Not quite a media meltdown. What's been getting smaller is one increasingly obsolete portion of the industry: selling songs (or, really, selling physical media with songs on it, and a weak attempt at replicating that online).
First, the good news: somewhere in the last ten months or so, Mulligan has recognized that free music can exist. That's progress! The second part of his theory is also a big step forward, claiming that the key to "saving" the industry (that doesn't need saving) is to create "a continual artist-fan relationship." Yes, exactly. Some of us have been saying that for years. There's more in there too about how much of the industry needs to change and innovate to keep up with the times. Good stuff and great to see Forrester finally catching up and catching on to where the market is headed.
But, of course, parts of the plan are a bit of a headscratcher. It still seems very much focused on getting people back into "buying music" rather than coming up with actual scarcities to buy. Instead, it tries to invent new artificial scarcities, mostly by copying an awful idea from the movie industry: windowed releases. The idea is that "premium club" members would pay to get access to music before others, and could get some sort of bundle of content. Two weeks later, the regular "release" would happen, with CDs, download stores and radio. Then, three weeks later, there would be a "free" component that actually is more "feels like free" using either ad-supported downloads or streaming.
Of course, like the movie industry, this ignores both reality and what people want. Those timelines won't make much sense, because as soon as the music's out, it'll be widely available. There's just no stopping that. Artificially holding it back doesn't do much good and doesn't give anyone a reason to buy. If anything, it actively drives people to unauthorized copies. Those who don't want that "premium club" offering won't wait six weeks for the official "free" streaming version with ads. They'll just go out and get an unauthorized copy.
So, while I'm glad that Forrester and Mulligan seem to be trending in the right direction with this report, it still seems to come up a bit short in terms of reasonable concepts for the industry.