A short follow up to yesterdays story…
I’m of the opinion that you should embrace audience behavior. You should cater to how audiences are interacting with media, go to where the people are, make their overall experience better. At this moment in time that means going wide on your release. There are only a few anomalies where the opposite is true – AC/DC and The Eagles most notably. Those acts are so big and so dominant that they can manipulate contracts and buys ins to work in their favor financially. But, can either band REALLY say that they won new fans with Wal Mart exclusive CD only deals? I say no fucking way. Furthermore it is certain that they left money on the table by not going digital.
New music fans are all over the web, doing all sorts of things. Trust me when I say trying to figure out where they are and what they are doing is a full time job. We do know, however, that the low hanging fruit (i hate that phrase) is iTunes. It’s easy, it’s practically ubiquitous and its fun to use. I 100% wish it wasn’t the only option. It just so happens that no one has come along and done it better. It’s so funny to me when people get on an anti iTunes rant or talk about how Steve is bullying the music business. Steve’s POV is really simply – i’ve made the best product. so I’m going to run it the way I want. If someone comes along and makes a better product they will have leverage and currency to spend. It’s that simple. Take the Kid Rock example – he went CD only for most of his campaign, then gave the digital rights exclusively to Rhapsody which then went on to sell a whopping 3000 pieces. Reason being: Rhapsody sucks.
I’m not sure what the moral of the story is. I know this, anyone who says that they have the current state of the music business figured out is lying. It’s a brave new world. A wide open frontier. Yes, sales will shrink but we still have to find ways to create that passion for music consumption that fans once displayed. It’s still out there. Forcing them to go to Wal Mart isn’t the answer. Selling exclusively on iTunes isn’t the answer either. Finding out what your fan really wants and expects is the answer – how that manifests is anybody’s guess.