Do Musicians Dream of Digital Sheep? January 18, 2011
To coin a phrase from the famous Philip K. Dick short story, it represents both an outlook of the future and a paradox of the present. As we all know only too well in our industry at the moment, we are in the midst of a pretty big change. Many people would use the phrase “biblical proportions” but to me, it feels like we are driving off a cliff. So, what’s an industry to do when their key source of income is drying up? And, I might add, doing that at a much quicker than anticipated pace? The word panic comes to mind…but life will go on.
Which is why the three-sixty form agreement was invented of course. It has been interesting to watch the dialog on this subject. It seems to get heated along party lines, much like politics if you will. The record companies now demand it and of course the lawyers hate it (and yes we all hate the lawyers). And meanwhile the poor artist is in the middle left wondering what to do.
Well you can’t fight reality. The fact is that you still need to spend significant sums of money to record, manufacture, market and promote. Marketing costs have not changed while the music industry’s finances are in that vehicle I referred to earlier. Which leaves the lovely, level playing field that all the little goes spent years praying for, the "long-tail." Well, ask most anyone now and the reply you get will make you cringe. More on this one later...
So what is the future of the music business? I don’t think it’s complicated at all. It’s all about partnership, plain and simple. And it’s about re-inventing the way a company is built and run, from the top down. The majors keep chopping heads but the folks up at the top are still making the same big coinage, you can bet your babooshka on that, what ever that is. It's one of the things thats wrong with America, greed. The people at the top keep it all.
More ranting to come…