Terry McBride on music blogs and more

March 10, 2009


Terry McBride, the CEO of Nettwerk, is just talking to everyone these days. He recently gave an interview to Rollo & Grady, in which he talks about (what else?) the future of music. McBride argues, fairly cogently, that we are rapidly moving to an all-subscription model of music, based around mobile apps:

You’re going to see millions of applications come onto the marketplace. You’re going to see social filtering of the really good ones, and what’s going to be in there are applications that change the behavioral habits of how you consume music. The need to download music will no longer exist. If anything, it will be a hassle. You’ll have smartphones that can probably handle two to three hundred songs. That’s a gradual download; you’re actually not streaming it. It’s actually on your phone but it’s pulled from some sort of server, whether it’s your own server or a cloud server. … You’re going to see applications for maybe five bucks a month where you can access all the music that you want, how you want it, when you want it, imported to any device. So why would you want to download?

Time will tell whether he’s on the right track or not, but he certainly gets some cred for being one of the few music executives who gets technology – he starting orienting Nettwerk towards digital way back in 2002.

But, of course, this is what endears him to us pixel-stained technopeasants:

I love music blogs because they’re music fans. They’re authentic and passionate about music. They’re no different than me. All they’re doing is spreading the word about stuff they like. The authentic will rise to the top, which is why I like aggregators like The Hype Machine. I think it’s brilliant. It’s a great way of seeing what music fans are talking about versus some other filter. I’d rather the filter be a social filter, and then you can go into niches. Maybe it’s a bluegrass filter or a country filter or a hard rock filter or an ambient filter. Whatever. Those people are really passionate about that music. You know what? That’s what it’s about. Songs are not copyright. Songs are emotions.

Read the full interview here.

MP3: Great Lake Swimmers – Changing Colours [buy]

[via Machine Shop]


  1. Interesting that he brings up Hype Machine given recent changes to its default settings. Read “When Hype Machine Drops the Little Guy, We All Lose” for a long analysis of the changes, but the short version is that the front page has gone from listing everything to listing only the 100 most popular blogs. Given how incredibly easy it is to still get blogs outside the top 100, I think he’s exaggerating the impact of these changes, but his point about the dominance of default settings is a valid one.

  2. I was one of, I’m sure, many bloggers who wrote a response to Hype Machine as soon as I saw notification of the changes on the Machine Shop blog on the weekend, and boyhowdy at Cover Lay Down makes the argument well. Actively supporting the Matthew Effect seems to be entirely at odds with Hype Machine’s professed mandate to support diversity and (as evidenced by the quote above that they trumpeted) authenticity.

    Judging by the number of ‘I couldn’t figure out what had happened’ comments at HM’s blog, it doesn’t seem like the toggle to ‘all blogs’ is at all obvious. Defaults are incredibly powerful.

  3. Update: Hype Machine has now changed their front page to default to an ‘overview’ listing, which includes one posting from each blog each day (you can toggle to ‘top 100’ or ‘all’). I think this is a pretty good compromise, but mostly I’m impressed by their responsiveness to the blogging community – the new system was only in place for a few days before they changed it.

  4. […] interesting. Speakers include Dave Allen (of Pampelmoose), Terry McBride of Nettwerk (who gets around), and Fred Von Lohmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, with panels on social networking, […]

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