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Fortyfivan
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Great summary and great insight... thanks! "We shouldn't try to force another one-size-fits-all model to our industry; it's just not coming anytime soon. Instead, we need to cater to the needs and desires of each of our own niche's preferred method of consumption in order to create the best, most personalized and worthwhile music experiences possible." ^^^ This right here... it's all about facilitating the personal connection between fans and artists (or niche labels) directly. There's too many technologists and marketers trying to force one or the other into some overcrowded mass platform. Any time you do that, you can only work within the constraints of the lowest common denominator, making it difficult to differentiate. Consolidation and efficiency have their place in some cases, but not when it comes to expressing creativity in art and music.
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Thank you! This really needed to be said.
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True, but it's always good to take a look at the big picture to come up with your own practical efforts. There is no formula for success in business or music despite how many "10 Ways to Succeed" blog posts there are in the world. Those are tactics, not strategies. Tactics are most certainly important, and there's a whole Internet full of them, but you should have a strategy first and foremost and that can't be cut and paste. You have to know the world you live in to the T and apply what you do and who you are to come up with your own path to success. This book looks pretty interesting... I think I may cop it... right now in fact! Thanks for posting. Cheers, Ivan
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Sorry, missed your reply. I totally understand what you're saying. It's impossible to have this argument around Numero as an independent label, though, because they are so unique in what they do. At no point was I trying to dismiss streaming services... they are absolutely here to say and the best win for the fans. The direct money for an artist or label may be non-existent, but the attributable revenue has great potential... that will come from channeling your fan base towards your shows and other money making products and services. Increased exposure through streaming services can most definitely provide high attributable revenue opportunities. Numero doesn't have that opportunity because they have the historical recorded music only... but they do have a fan base of record nerds like myself who will pay the premium for it. (Although I do prefer the originals!) I always use this example... MySQL, the open source database software is free to download and use, but you need to buy a server to use it. That server is attributable revenue. This could loosely translate to the music world. "I'd actually like to see Amazon create a platform like they do for authors that allows them to sell their songs/albums at prices they choose." ^^^^^ This right here! If there is to ever be resurgence in the value of recorded music, it will have to be through a self publishing platform. Amazon is probably in the best place to provide the service, but not the best for the device deployment. Even so, I see this only as a 5-10 year vision at best. Great discussion! Back to work on attributable revenue opportunities I go ;)
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Phil, I'd say that fair pricing, fan engagement, and quality music is what should save the music industry, but I don't see iCloud helping in any of these categories. For pricing, Ken did the math... "For a publisher to make $1 a track would have to be matched 1667 times." You have to be doing Lady Gaga-esque numbers to make any real revenue impact. This seriously hurts the musical middle class. Fan engagement is key, but the continued devaluation of music doesn't empower the artists from a fan's perspective, thereby devaluing the engagement level. Engagement has to happen outside of the recorded music space and luckily there's a number of ways to do that in both the digital and analog world. Now converting that engagement to money is the hard part when the product is near worthless. As for quality music... you know who wins with iCloud? Rebecca Black. You know who loses? Numero. The fundamental flaw of the business model surrounding streaming services is that the money is wholly dependent on the number of plays. Watch what happens... we'll get slammed with crap music on the hopes that it goes viral for some other reason than its quality. Streaming music is just like banner advertising... it's all about eyeballs and marketers have all sorts of tricks to gain views that have zero to do with quality. My only hope is that music follows the second wave of banner advertising... recognizing that an eyeball isn't as valuable as a click so you actually do have to provide something worthwhile. As is, there is not much added value for a "click" in streaming music so it won't be of concern to the labels yet. My $.02... actually, that's my third post so my $.06... exactly how much money I would make in a year if I signed up with iCloud ;-)
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Hey Ken... I was hoping you or Rob would jump in and give your viewpoint ;) To answer the original question in this post... "Will other labels join Numero?" I'd say absolutely. It all depends on your dependence as an artist or label on recorded music revenues. If that's your primary source of income, you will be hard pressed to survive on the miniscule incremental revenue coming in, and you will be forced to find another solution... or in Numero's case, keep using the solution that works for you. If the spread of your recorded music points fans to your alternative sources of income like shows and such, then of course it makes sense to join up with the channels that provide the most awareness. There's many labels and artists on both sides of that equation, so to bash those that didn't jump in Apple's lap right away is completely short sighted. We'll see how all this plays out, but I'll go ahead and predict that many independent labels will join Numero before iCloud launches, and even more will join after iCloud launches ;)
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Don't... Numero is a collectors label uncovering lost gems from the past and even resurrecting careers that never were. The quality of the recordings and creative packaging of their products are a step above anyone else. Their label is built on the notion of preserving art and iCloud just plain doesn't work for them or their artists. If you want to see what Numero is all about and how they are about the artist more than anyone... watch this video of Syl Johnson opening up his boxset. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR33lQ2bFxs
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I really hope the "future" of the music business isn't in "back" catalogues.
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Wow! Thanks for the mention... great to meet in person. Cheers, Ivan
Toggle Commented May 10, 2011 on 10 Smartest Startups At SF MusicTech at hypebot
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Ha... what a pointless graph. How about making a similar one for what Horse & Buggy revenues would have been if Cars were never invented.
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Android is certainly gaining momentum, but I wouldn't rush there based on those numbers alone as they fail to cover two very important points... The first is the much talked about fragmentation. While Android as an overall platform has strong numbers, no one device or even Android version number has nearly the user base or market exposure as the iPhone. It's very important to develop for a specific device if you want a strong user experience. Certainly it's easier to port an app across various Android devices, but you're still probably in the 80/20 rule (80% standard, 20% custom), so you have to make a decision for each device based on the economics. Speaking of economics, the second point is that the ROI for Android has yet to be proven on any scale. Their recent In App Purchasing capabilities will definitely help, but it's really too soon to tell. I'm fully in favor of Android, and see it continuing to gain momentum, but I'm still in the camp of iOS first, Android second, and don't bother with anything else.
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Great article, thanks for posting. Chancius, there certainly is no defined "framework" for success, but this article is hardly suggesting so even though it may be worded so in the beginning. I see a ton of "10 steps to success" articles that take that approach... this is not one of them. This article identifies well how to pay attention to the components of your "own" ecosystem and how to use those to your advantage. That's about as close as you can get to any definition or framework. A little advice is always good as long as it's not too vague or strict. Also, there are TONS of unsigned artists making a decent living! Ha... get familiar!
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Very well said. I don't comment much here, but I do read most everything and applaud your critical thinking towards the current landscape of both the music industry and the technology industry. This "new music industry" is still very much in infancy and there needs to be challenging discussions amongst all involved if we're going to succeed on an artist/fan/business level. Keep it up! - Ivan
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Mar 4, 2011