Quotes from “The Future of Music”

As I re-position myself and my music plan, I found a fantastic book called “The Future of Music,” by Dave Kusek and Gerd Leonhard (whose name I have now include here b/c of the comment Gerd left at the end of this post). They calls themselves ‘music futurists’ –a title I hope I someday have the audacity to present as my own– and runs a blog, http://www.futureofmusicbook.com, not to mention the Berkelee School of Music’s online offerings. Here are a few passages I highlighted from his book that seem key to what I need to do.

Perhaps, as in the past, we can once again become part of the experience of music, rather than the e static purchasers of it. We can be involved, we can cheer our favorite artist on, we can participate in events and react to them, and we can actually make a difference–as the audience or the creator, or both. This fits in nicely with a general trend in our society, of moving, step-by-step, from the “Information Society” via the “Knowledge Economy” to the “Experience Society,” as we will explore in this book–that is, from a place where we are mere recipients of a flow of data and information, as in the traditional media models, to a place in which a lot more value is being placed on experiencing things first-hand and unfiltered. p. 13

The key to success in music niche marketing is to focus promotional dollars where they will bring the highest return–that is, maintain a low burn rate while getting maximum results. To support this, technology can be developed to allow for the highest possible conversion rate from ‘interested user’ to ‘buying customer.’ Matchmaking–having the right customer run across the ‘perfect’ music at the right time–is where the art of marketing comes in. Finding the appropriate digital exposure channel, and determining when to start charging, and for what, will be the prime job for music marketeers of the future.
Once seeded and well-tended, niche markets can be extremely profitable, especially with intangible wares such as music. There is great opportunity in this sector, both for savvy new entrepreneurs, as well as for service and technology companies. In twelve to fifteen years, niche markets may bring in close to 40 percent of the global music revenues, and a new middle class of artists may finally thrive. p. 29

…any information about any artist and their work can be obtained, news spreads within minutes, downloads and streams are instantly available anywhere, anytime, and territorial restrictions become meaningless… p. 31

Recorded music has too long been viewed as a ‘static’ product rather than a more fluid or participatory entertainment experience–but the latter is where its real value lies. p.34

“…the people you are trying to reach, by and large, don’t view music a commodity but as a relationship with a band.” Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records p. 40

In the very near future, distribution–and even more importantly, marketing–will shift towards digital means. Ultimately, marketing will be distribution…Digitally empowered fans are some of the new tastemakers, and they are going to drive the business. p. 58

Of course, the Internet is at its best when used to reach a targeted market niche. Once an artist has found an audience somewhere–through playing gigs, selling records at their shows, and gaining some grass-roots momentum, the ‘Net can be used to target and increase this audience. Knowing the audience and then engaging them, encouraging them to recommend an artist to their friends, finding other artists like them, and expanding the relationships, all can lead to an engine that can propel careers forward, regardless of where the music is actually sold. But it can be a lot more rewarding for the artist if they sell directly. p. 68

It goes without saying that online porn sites would not exist if they had not and would not continue to give away a cornucopia of free content. This is a proven fact that musicians and labels must really pay attention to going forward. It represents a tremendous opportunity to develop direct contact between the musicians and the fans, through the trade of free content in return for an ongoing relationship. This is going to be a very potent way to market music. p. 79

Kids today distrust mass advertising, and seek out information with much more agility and more proactively than their parents did. Thus, the traditional mass-marketing methods employed by broadcast television and radio have much less impact on this ‘Net generation…their lives are seamlessly integrated with what they can do online…any music company seeking to reach them and influence their purchasing decisions needs to make sure that their artists’ entire online and offline presence is engaging, entertaining, rewards, and highly interactive. p. 99-100

In the future, the opportunity to influence, and this market to large groups, will lie squarely with the ability to reach them quickly, inexpensively, and of course virally, via peer groups and via the smart leveraging of social networks. Radio play, advertising, street teams, events, and many other traditional forms of marketing are going to fit right next to new forms of peer-to-peer digital marketing. Creating a buzz has always been essential in the promotion of music. Exposure begets discovery, which begets income. p. 106

Of course, the real steady money in the music business is in publishing, where songwriters, due to the compulsory mechanical royalty on all records sold and the revenues that flow from public performance, can often make a decent living over a reasonable period of time–nickels and dimes from a multitude of sources…Publishing and all kinds of licensing will likely be digital cash-cows for artists and writers, in the future even more so than today. p.108+110

A more equitable system might be one in which artists and their musician businesses contract directly with distributors–in most future scenarios, digital distribution services–and would take care of their service agencies. The music service providers, in turn, could fulfill an additional marketing function by leveraging collaborative filtering and recommendation technologies, and a whole lot more. p.125

The future of music will be most significantly influenced by those who can give their customers a completely integrated and cross-marketed mix of recorded music, live shows, merchandising, tickets, artist access, mobile music, video games, television, radio, film, software, and other publishing and information products. Integrating music purchasing and enjoyment into an overall entertainment or lifestyle experience is a model that may work very well. p. 135

…the name of the digital content game will always be to get exposure, be discovered, and then monetize the fan base. p.159

To partake in these opportunities, we must try to deeply understand what people want. We must also understand where, how, and at what time they want it…then the next big step is marketing–and the art of marketing will probably undergo the biggest changes in this entire puzzle…ultimately the question of what you pay attention to will completely replace the question of how you get access to it. It’s all about exposure and discovery. p. 166+170

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I'm j and I play: musician, web guy, family man.

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