Posts Tagged ‘music industry’

Via The Hype Machine’s blog, I came across an interesting round-table discussion on The Morning News among a group of music bloggers.

It’s interesting to hear their thoughts on the relationship music bloggers have with the Public Relations people in the record industry, and there is definitely some take-away for all PR pros there.

Matthew Perpetua, who writes Fluxblog.org, says, “I am glad to get records sent to me because sometimes I get something that I really enjoy.” However, as a hat-tip to the growing importance that PR pros are placing on reaching bloggers rather than traditional media, Perpetua adds, “I work for the regular press too, and aside from my experience with New York Magazine and Pitchfork, the difference seems to be that no one really cares about what I write for money, but they are sometimes very invested in what I do for free.”

When asked if they read other music blogs, the panellists said almost universally that they did not. I feel like this kind of mentality is what has set them apart from other music bloggers and is similar to my suggestion that PR props stop reading PR blogs.

And as great as all that is, I think that this round-table discussion is more important to understand the opinions of these bloggers about giving away content for free and the future of the music industry.

It is slightly depressing to hear Andrew Noz complain that CDs will “be all but unattainable to towns with only one Wal-Mart” without him acknowledging that a) the CD is essentially a dead format and b) thanks to blogs like his, people in towns of all sizes have access to way more music than they would have ever discovered before.

I also disagree with Sean Michaels and David Gutowski, who both think that the future of music is in paying for subscription services packaged with our phone and internet plans. To think that the way for artists to make money off of the art they make (whether it is music or film or writing) by sharing their revenues with wireless and internet providers is ridiculous. All that does is replace one inefficient middleman (today’s record companies) with another.

However, some of the bloggers do seem to get it. “I believe pretty strongly that the next frontier lies in monetizing live performance”, says John Seroff. In fact, his suggestion that perhaps we’ll see something “along the lines of $20 for an album, four live shows and access to ongoing projects” sounds pretty Masnickian and forward-thinking.

Andrew Noz and Oliver Wang seem to support this line of argument by saying that physical products in the form of deluxe or limited editions of albums will help fund artists’ careers.

Later on in the discussion, as the topic veers towards the “free culture” movement, John Seroff does a great job of comparing his writing being shared online with the way music is being shared online: “I figure anything I write or make that ever hits the internet is gone and I don’t resent people doing what they want with it… that’s the internet, and that’s how it works.” He also goes on to say that, although some artists might not like this new way of doing business (giving away their content freely, making a profit on things like live performances rather than individual CDs), “it might not jibe with your professional/creative goals, but thus has it ever been.”

His basic point is that you should adapt to the new internet economy. Things have changed, and artists should change with it.

The whole discussion is worth a serious read, as these guys talk about everything from their favourite music, to their actual blogging process (and how to avoid burnout after 5+ years). Read the Music Blogging Roundtable on The Morning News.

-Parker

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It has been fairly obvious that the record industry is in decline, has been for years, and will probably continue to decline for some time.

That’s because the RECORD industry is based on a decades-old business model of selling discs of either the vinyl or laser-read variety. The music industry, it seems, has never been better.

Artists and record labels that have embraced the internet and new ways of doing business are being rewarded. Imogen Heap, a 31-year old recording artist from England (formerly of the band Frou Frou) is a great example of this. As a recent article on the Telegraph website says, she  “has a lucrative sideline in “sync deals”—licensing her songs for use on television and in ads and film soundtracks.”

I truly believe that this sort of licensing of music will be the future of the music industry. Fans will still get to hear and share the music they love and artists will still be rewarded for their hard work. The difference is that it will be companies paying the artist’s salary via these licensing deals. The more popular an artist is, the more choices they’ll have when it comes to aligning their music with a brand.

A great example of this in action can be seen in this ad from Nike SB featuring pro-skaters Paul Rodriguez and Eric Koston, basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, and music from Ice Cube (SB is Nike’s surf/skateboard/snowboard brand):

(Yeah, you can watch it here on BlogCampaigning or your RSS reader, but I highly recommend you watch the full-screen version with the sound on.)

I was out riding my skateboard through the streets of Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood within two hours of seeing the video. I had that song stuck in my head (and will forever associate it with Nike), and although I was wearing a pair of Nikes, they’re two years old and the video has me thinking about buying new ones.

I’ve never been a fan of Ice Cube’s music, and didn’t even know that the song in the video (“Today Was A Good Day”) was was by him.

The result of this video was that I was entertained by a commercial so much that I watched it a few times and shared it with some friends. I became a fan of Ice Cube’s song, and he probably got rewarded by Nike for having it play along with the video.

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As an addition to the Parker’s post about the future of the music industry (or lack thereof), here is an example from Germany of how the will to innovate can benefit everyone involved: in order to gain independence from the industry, hard rocking guitar pop band Angelika Express financed its last album by selling ‘shares’ to fans.

To give fans an impression of the new album the Cologne based group first released rough versions of new songs on Myspace on a weekly basis. They then decided to issue 500 ‘shares’ at 50 Euros (which sold out in record time and came with a detailed plan of how the money would be spent). With those 25.000 Euros Angelika Express financed the recording of their album, the album artwork, the manufacture of the actual CDs, and the accompanying promotion. They also plan to fund upcoming singles from this pool.

The thing is: Not only do the people who signed up for the shares get the new album but in return they also receive 80% of the earnings made with CDs sales and downloads (including upcoming singles and EPs) for the next seven years!

I have to say that this is really one of the most innovative and sympathetic concepts I came across so far. The band gained its independence and its fans get paid to support them. Everybody wins!

-Jens

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As an update to yesterday’s post about why videogames are so important, I strongly advise you to check out this post on Techdirt.

Apparently, the CEO of Activision has pointed out how much games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band have helped sales of bands and that perhaps the record companies should be paying the game companies to have their music included, rather than the other way around.

What do you think?

-Parker Mason

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You're reading BlogCampaigning. We write about public relations, social media, video games, marketing and pretty much whatever we feel is important. We've been around since August, 2006. Right now, It's mostly written by Parker Mason.