Monday, January 07, 2008

Music Lessons that Apply to (Almost) Everything

Seth Godin is one of my favorite people in the world and I don't even know him. He's got such good ideas and a simple way to say them that he's just somebody to be loved. I read his posts nearly every day. His latest, Music lessons, offers 14 tips to the music industry in particular and business in general.

A few of my favorites:

0. The new thing is never as good as the old thing, at least right now.
2. Copy protection in a digital age is a pipe dream
5. A frightened consumer is not a happy consumer.
9. Read the writing on the wall.
11. Understand the power of digital.
13. Whenever possible, sell subscriptions.

Seth offers a lot of detailed advice to the pinheads who run the music industry, yet none of his ideas, in and of themselves, is original. However, his bringing them all together into one cohesive strategy can benefit those in the music industry infinitely.

The music industry needs to get off its duff and embrace the changes that are occurring to it. Copying has always been in the mix. Two things have changed, however.

1. Then,
it was between friends. Now, it's between strangers.
2. Then, it was analog. Now, it's digital.

The digitization of music, the ballyhooed CD, for which the music industry is forever indebted to Sony and Phillips, has changed the music scene on the order of Columbus proving -- finally! -- that the world was round. It's now cheap and easy to make perfect copies. With digital, either in CD or purchased downloads, millions of folks have been able to put their inexpensive, yet powerful, PCs to use, effectively making perfect copies of their music collections available not just to their friends, family, and acquaintances, but to total strangers.

This is what's got the music industry in a nut-bind. They've realized that there is absolutely nothing they can do to stop it. Oh, lawsuits are good scare tactics, and if they have enough money and time to beat 6 billion people into submission, then they can turn the tide. However, this is, as Seth mentions, a pipe dream.

Copy protection does not work, will not work, can never work. Pandora's box has been opened and the really scary shit is out in the open. The keepers of the box, the music industry, cannot put what got out back in.

One other thing: The product is not the CD or the download. It's the information contained therein. Ultimately, it's not the distributor of the media that holds the keys, rather it's the originator of the media. For too long now, it's been the distributors of the content that have received all the spoils. Now, it's high time that the content providers, the authors, the musicians and artists, who shall receive the compensation for their talent and hard work.

How will they do this? They might want to take a read of Seth's blog.