Sorry for the delay in publishing this second part, everyone is entitled to a bad week Continuing where I left it in my previous post…
The main issue is that the musicians and the end users are who actually make the link, they are the real and only proposers and consumers. The array of in-betweens is mainly adding cost to the chain rather than value. I know it is not fair to say it in the bold way, there are many figures that are there to build on the product, but in essence for the most cases there is no more than business operators. I feel I have to clarify a little my previous statement, a piece of music is composed, played, recorded, mixed, mastered and produced all of these stages are part of the creative process that renders the final song or piece of music, from here on it is more a business creative process where the commercial, marketing, promotion processes take over the lead (these steps are necessary but may be done in alternative ways) it is true that in today’s musical world you can have a great song and a bad commercial backing and go no were or in the contrary have a terrible song and with the right marketing sell millions. But that doesn’t mean that the old way is right for the new musical scenario they are in. Labels and record companies known as publishers need to look around and evolve to meet the new requirement’s the market is demanding. It is very possible to compose, play, record, mix, master and produce a great record from a bedroom studio, the digital world and in the box mixing and editing are a common thing, most of the musicians that I know have some degree of digital studio, quality in these studios has gone up over the last years and I have seen great works produced with a 100 fold less than a regular custom studio budgets. This would mean that the publisher would have less control over the production process and would have a full roll on the publishing part of the chain.
The problem becomes evident when the various stake holders start to perceive a drop in income generated. In other cases the benefit perception shifts, taking with it the interest, not only economically, what I mean is that end users doesn’t want a physical CD any more, lees so a booklet and DVD, they only bring problems in logistics, storage, conservation, availability. The end user wants simplicity, instant access to his music anywhere at any time and from any device, not the physical limitations of the XX century. ¿How many young teenagers listen to radio? Not many is my answer ¿why listen to a radio that plays music in a random sequence over witch he has no control? Plus having to put up with commercials and whatever the DJ wants to say. Anyone under 25 doesn’t own a radio unless they own a car. They all however own a selection of computers, mp3 players, smart phones and tables of some kind. This is where music needs to be delivered to, they demand that they can pick up any of the above and have their music at a click or a touch away at most. This is a clear indicator that models based on distribution of physical supports are obsolete and are of no interest to the main stream of consumers.
Even more digital solutions like iTunes or spottily are neither convincing solutions. The down side is that they are mainly platform specific. Meaning that they are not designed to share content across platforms in a simple way, even access sometimes depends on availability of a network connection (however this is less a limitation day by day). In my opinion we are heading to a cloud solution where any device can access the content, where you keep a cache of what you want on every device by only making it sticky where your content is controlled by credential where you can shop online from any source and where you interact with music and musician or the creative part of music in a much more direct way, where you can become a publisher and publish your own music, where you can recommend and loan (limited share) a song to your social network, where you can promote a song or an artist in your social media and get rewarded by doing so. It will be a bigger market of little fees and not a small market of expensive DC and millions of copies. If for every illegal copy the publisher, the artist and the store received 0.1c of a dollar would it not be worth it? There could be many different ways of buying your music, a trial and then purchase (¿why not?) volume licensing, special commercial licenses for clubs etc.. The system could include a measuring means to determine what is being played and where or when, this would help publishers to focus on markets and artist.
Consider this, internet has universalized knowledge and ignorance in similar magnitude, content multiplies daily, you can fight the file sharing sites but you will never win the battle of content distribution, close one down and three will surface, just like the hydra from the Hercules myth, people will find a way to share unless you provide an alternative that adds value to your proposal at a reasonable cost. What need does anyone have to buy a CD RROM for 20$ if all he wants are 2 songs, how does he listen to these 2 songs on his smart phone? Yes downloads are illegal but what are the alternative? Am I the stupid one that pays for things that are way overpriced. Looking back at other markets the music industry should have learnt from the telecommunications business, they had a challenge similar to the musical one and yet 20 years ago you paid a fortune for a simple town to town land call, now a day’s they are free, why because internet calls challenged their business model, how did they react, providing a wider offer of services (internet + content) they have actually grown, many customer many small hits instead of a few customers scarce large hits.
The Issue with profit shares is a long known story that the creative part of a musical production has always been the part that has received the smaller slice of the profits. I am convinced that most downloaders feel that they are stealing form the publisher, the distributors and the selling points that in a sense this is some kind moral justice. Any new method that ensures buyers, that what they are paying is being fairly shared with the artist they would feel more motivated to cover reasonable fees.
This is not a warship of illegal downloads I myself don’t download music illegally, it is more a personal meditation about the problems surrounding the musical industry, if we can’t make this industry rethink itself it may collapse, if downloads grow and sales drop, publishers will not invest in projects with no economical margin or maybe even unrecoverable costs, music will find its way out by other means and musicians will continue to make music, but the industry most surely won’t.
Please leave your comments I am very interested in other input.
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