In an interesting email to music industry gadfly Bob Lefsetz, former MTV exec Bob Wilson (who was also the founder of the now defunct industry trade magazine Radio & Records), talks about some of the research that the network did when it first began in the 80's. Among the surprising items they found that appear to have had a profound effect upon current music:
- Music is personal and a song means different things to different people (although we intuitively knew that already). When you put visuals to a song, the visuals over-power the personal meaning and everyone "sees" the same thing, which also de-personalizes the music.
- This visualization of music makes songs burn out much faster than just hearing them.
- Live performances are perceived differently since the mind sees them as "events."
- It usually takes 5 to 6 times for a person to hear a song and like it enough to buy it.
- "MTV doesn't play videos any more and the Internet has moved in to replace the new music void for those that crave new music. Things have changed but the way the brain takes it all in remains the same. The Internet allows a person to hear a song as many times as they want - whenever they want -- which should reduce the time to the purchase cycle -- especially when they can purchase and download the song they like from the source they are listening to it on..rather than have to make a trip to a record store. I think it will take some time and more research to monitor this but as you say - the model is changing."
Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.