Posts Tagged ‘music industry’

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Read: Dan Kennedy, Rock On

March 26, 2008

An Office Power Ballad</i>

Dan Kennedy is clearly a man who knows how to make the best of a bad situation. He realizes a lifelong dream of working in the music business, only to discover that he’s just gotten himself a deckchair on the Titanic. The year is 2002, the company is Warner, and the record industry is imploding. Warner itself is about to be bought by ‘the billionaire grandson of a man who made the family a fortune in booze and chemical dealings,’ resulting in hundreds of layoffs, including Kennedy’s. Fortunately for us, he turned his experiences into a acidly funny memoir, Rock On: An Office Power Ballad. This book certainly made me laugh, and it also made want to loudly cheer the ongoing demise of the traditional record industry. However, my favourite part of the book was a lengthy, loving account of an Iggy Pop concert, possibly because Kennedy was writing about something he loved, not about something he had to be self-protectively cynical about:

…Iggy is everywhere at once. He flies like a computer-animated god-beast deity in an unhinged and hijacked Lucas film. You suddenly realize every punk band you thought was blowing your mind back when you were sixteen was simply a cute little messenger delivering a wadded note to you from this man, wherever he might have been that night.

You can see a promo video for the book here, and Michael Azerrad wrote a review for the New York Times, here. You can also download audio of Kennedy telling a story from the book at a Moth gig in Seattle.

website amazon

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The changing music industry

March 16, 2008

obsolete media

I’m a little late blogging this, but Seth Godin, a marketing guy, posted a transcript of a talk that he gave to a roomful of music company executives. This is the stuff I wave my hands about and try to explain to everyone I know, when I talk about why I have a music blog and how the music industry is changing. Godin starts by summarizing the factors that made the traditional music industry so sweet (the ubiquity of Top 40 songs, music as a physical artifact that was coveted and which wore out, free promotion via radio and TV, an oligopoly of record companies, and so on) and then makes the case that they are all gone:

Music is not in trouble. I believe more people are listening to more music now than any time in the history of the world. Probably five times more than twenty years ago…that much! But, the music business is in trouble. And the reason the music business is in trouble is because remember all those pieces of good news?…every single one of them is not true anymore….

Having explained how all these factors have disappeared, he goes on to discuss how record companies now have to change the way they do business:

There is a lot of music I like. There is not so much music I love. They didn’t call the show, “I Like Lucy”, they called it “I Love Lucy”. And the reason is you only talk about stuff you love, you only spread stuff you love. You find a band you really love, you’re forcing the CD on other people, “you gotta hear this!”. We gotta stop making music people like. There is an infinite amount of music people like. No one will ever go out of the way to hear, to pay for, music they like.

The final point that Godin makes is that music creates tribes of people, who want to interact with each other and the musicians, who want to go to concerts – nobody who really loves a band wants to be a passive consumer. Godin persuasively argues that the music industry has to start thinking about ‘tribal management.’

I’m not convinced that record label industry execs are the people who are going to make the transition (Nettwerk aside) but hey, at least they invited the clue train to visit.

link to transcripts: html, pdf

Seth Godin

via Boing Boing

Image: Vinyl albums, via Wikipedia Commons.

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Two guiding quotes

November 3, 2007

Today, we have an infinite number of choices available to us, and when content is infinitely abundant, the only scarce commodities are convenience, taste, and trust. [Peter Rojas]

Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.
[Tim O’Reilly]