Ahhhh, Napster. Back in 1999, I sat there for days, on a 56kbps connection, downloading music. As a result of that, and Audiogalaxy, I became an enormous music fan and I've spent thousands of pounds on music over the years that I'm very convinced that I wouldn't have spent if it hadn't been so easy to 'try before you buy'.
Today the news broke that Napster's relaunching in the UK. Of course, it's not the real Napster - it's what was formerly Roxio - a DRM-based subscription service. The company has just released version 4.6 of its player, which purports to allow subscribers to access and play their music on any internet-connected computer, without downloading any software.
If you work in an office, then how does the music work? Is it a tinny radio in the corner blaring out Radio 1? If so, I feel sorry for you, and I suggest you take control.
We moved offices over Christmas, and switched from a benevolent musical dictatorship run by Stuart from My Chemical Toilet to a much more democratic approach using communal playlists in Spotify. It's very simple, and all you'll need is some speakers, as well as someone volunteering to take charge. Click through to the post to find out how.
It's okay, you can open your eyes again. I've reached the end of my Six Tenets series. I hope it's proved interesting and perhaps even useful. The way people consume music is changing very fast right now, faster than it ever has done before. At the end of it, will there still be the same infrastructure we have now? I highly doubt it. So, in full then, here are my recommendations:
Today's the last tenet in the series, and next week I'll wrap up with some conclusions before getting back to regular programming in the new year. Last on the list is the importance of getting artists onside. Many bands bitch like crazy about their label, and actively recommend that people pirate their content - it's a strange situation and one that's unique to the music industry. How do you get them onside? Click over the jump for my recommendations.
Although piracy is undeniably bad for the music industry, there are plenty of ways around it. The sue-em-all solution hasn't worked, so what else can record companies do to slow the problem down? In this instalment, I'll share some of my ideas on how the industry can be creative in tackling the pirates. Hint: It's all about carrots.
There's nothing worse than someone who's constantly using buzzwords, but I've used one or two today to discuss what I think needs to happen to A&R. Crowdsourcing. Don't worry - I'm not going all Web 2.0 on you - but "the crowd" is far better at finding new bands than any A&R man. Find my thoughts over the jump, and an index of the past weeks below.
It's okay! I'm not dead. We just did a little bit of a shuffle of our features, and I'll now be posting Noise Gate on a Friday, rather than a Tuesday. Think of it as an extra-special treat for making it to the end of the week. Anyway, on with the next in my series of what I think a music company of the future should look like. This week, I'll talk about coping with advances in technology.
Last week, I discussed the first of my six things that I consider to be crucial to a successful music company in the digital age - being able to freely share music, and passion for music between people without let or hindrance, as my passport would say. This week, we're down to more business-focused principles:
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a roundtable event in conjunction with Intel (and their Intel Studio initiative) that discussed a very grand subject - the future of music. It's a big subject, and one that, for some reason, everyone's got an opinion on in the technology world. In conjunction between that event and thoughts I've been having for a long time on how music will change in the future, here's six tenets that I think will permeate the next wave of music creation and discovery:
1)Music must be sharable - word of mouth is more important than ever
2)Revenue must come from multiple sources - if one bit of the industry becomes obsolete, it shouldn't sink the whole ship
3)New technologies are to be welcomed and understood, not feared and litigated against
4)A&R can be crowdsourced, but remember the long tail
5)"Added value" is key - give people a reason not to pirate things - carrots, not sticks
6)Your artists are your most important spokespeople
I'll go into detail about each one over the next six weeks - but today, I'm going to discuss the first in the list - how essential it is to be able to easily share music. Click over the jump for my thoughts.
An almighty beef has kicked off between Idolator and Listening Post, where the former has blasted the latter with a headline accusing them of stupidity, claiming that "online nerds" don't know anything about the music business.
It started with the disclosure of EMI's financial data the other day. In that, it was revealed that 88% of EMI's artists make a loss, almost 50 per cent of CDs were returned unsold in April and May 2007, and the label spent £700,000 on taxis in London in the last financial year. To anyone but old-school music business people, that would seem ridiculous and not a good way to run a company, right...?