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Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's True, The Music Business Is Not About The Art

Line Outside Club image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Last week the entire music portion of the blogosphere seemed to be lit up by the following statement from Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge when talking about Justin Bieber:

The company likes hits, the fans like hits, and that's what he's there to do--make hits. 
We're not in the art business.

Why this statement should be any surprise to anyone I'm not sure. First of all, except for the label pioneers of the 50s, 60s, and 70s like Motown's Berry Gordy, Warner Bros' Mo Ostin, and Elektra's Jac Holzman (among a few others), this has been the label mantra for at least 30 years since the majors were bought out by the international conglomerates. Why should it be any different today?

Here's the bottom line if you're an artist or band and want label interest: a label doesn't care how good or bad your music is, they only care if you have an audience.

Good and bad is so subjective anyway. What's great to one person may be crap to another and vice versa. Most record companies only care if you have a line around the block waiting to see you. Really when you get down to it, that's all that counts.

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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Most Online Listeners Stream Classic Rock

Cloud Computing image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Here's something that's definitely unexpected. According to a Wakefield Research survey targeting cloud computing literacy that asked which music from the cloud they listen to, most chose both classic and modern rock legends. The top 10 artists mentioned were:

1. The Beatles

2. The Rolling Stones

3. Michael Jackson (okay, I agree, he's more r&b)

4. Bon Jovi

5. Pink Floyd

6. Bruce Springsteen

7. Eminem (definitely not rock)

8. Maroon 5 (their rock credentials are suspect)

9. Led Zeppelin

10. Coldplay

There are a few other things the survey found:
  • 5% of those who think they're not using the cloud, actually are
  • 59% believe the workplace of the future will exist entirely in the cloud
  • 33% agree that using the cloud allows them to interact with people that they rather not in person
  • 68% recognize the economic benefits of the cloud
  • 14% have pretended to know what the cloud was during a job interview.
The survey just goes to show that the cloud has permeated our everyday lives to the point that we're really not aware that we're interacting with it. Let's hope that this connected remains forever intact.

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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

10 Advantages Of Social Media Over Traditional


Here's a great post on the advantages of social over traditional media from Hubspot via marketing guru Simon Mainwaring.

Social media is the hub around which the Music 3.0 wheel turns, and the following provides some reason why.

As traditional and social media duke it out for the leadership role in commanding consumer attention, it’s worthwhile to highlight some of the undeniable benefits of social media. Here are ten that quickly come to mind. My comments in italics.

1. Cost: There are almost no barriers to entry in creating or distributing social media content. Or put another way, beyond your time and production costs, it’s almost free. (Still need the other nine reasons? OK.) And that single piece of content ricochets around the web indefinitely with no additional expense unlike TV, print or radio. The cost of time can be significant though, so that must always be kept in mind.

2. lntimacy: Traditional media necessitates broadcasting to thousands or millions of people at once robbing it of the specificity and dialogue that can be achieved through social media. Fans of any type want a personal interaction with the artist or brand, especially since they see it's now possible - another Music 3.0 fundamental.

3. Targeting: A key advantage of social media is that it can be far more specific in terms of isolating exactly who that brand or product wants to talk to. What’s more, consumers share the load by constantly sourcing information and products of interest and distributing them to others. Why broadcast to those who have no reason to care about you? Such a waste of time and money.

4. Nimbleness: One of the unique advantages of social media is that it allows brands to adapt to consumers buying and sharing habits almost instantly. Traditional media necessitates sizable (and often prohibitive) investments by corporations who then can’t react as quickly as market requires. While big media buys will probably never go away, they're far less necessary than ever before thanks to social media.

5. Measurement: Traditional media has to rely on long-term measurement tools to gauge the effectiveness of brand messaging. With social media that measurement can be almost instantaneous as the customers respond to brands and each other across networks, platforms and apps. When that response is negative, a brand has the chance to course-correct quickly minimizing damage to the brand. As the old advertising saying goes, "50% of advertising works, we just don't know which 50%." The age of that is now over.

6. Newness! Consumer preoccupation with whatever is new is hardly unique to social media. Yet as a function of its ability to constantly evolve in response to consumer demands, social media retains the sheen of “new” re-engaging consumer attention. With traditional media content can change but the format of distribution changes little and slowly. In marketing, "new" is more about what's current. It's far, far easier to be current ("new") using social media.

7. Exponential: As difficult as it is for a brand or product to thread the viral needle, the potential for exponential growth is almost unlimited and repeatable at a low cost. The problem here is that you never know exactly what will become viral. Still, at least the prospect of exponential viral growth is always available, while it's possible but pretty unwieldy with traditional media.

8. Participatory: As soon as the barriers to content creation approached zero, consumers quickly stepped into the vacuum and began participating in the commercial dialogue. It’s as if the longstanding presumption of traditional advertising that brands and consumers were in dialogue has finally come true thanks to real-time communication tools. Once again, true fans, super-fans, "tribe" members crave interaction, especially since they now know it's possible.

9. Proximity: Time and distance have virtually disappeared as a barrier between consumers around the globe. As such, social media has created a global, connected community like never before. That opens up enormous potential for success or failure depending on how well brands understand the new dynamics in play. We are truly in a global economy, especially if social media is used.

10. Future: Just as advertising dollars have followed consumer eyeballs online, they will shortly follow consumer adoption of mobile community (enabled by smart phones) as the new defining social media dynamic. While new rules of engagement will appear and consumers will increasingly be defined by where they are (hello, Foursquare), much can be divined about how to prepare for the future from current social media practices. Social media evolves quickly so you must stay on top of the latest evolutional trend to take advantage.

What other advantages to social media do you see?

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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's Time For The YouTube Music Awards

YouTube logo image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
There's been much hoopla over this year's Video Music Awards (VMA's), with everything about who won, who didn't win, the fights, the pouting, and finally, the low ratings. The fact of the matter is that the VMA's have long been obsolete, but sadly out of touch as well.

MTV, who sponsors the VMAs, is now a lifestyle channel and rarely plays videos any more. How can it have any award credibility if it's not in the game. That's assuming, of course, that it had any in the first place.

But here's the most damning indictment; some of the biggest videos that have been nominated in this past year (Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe") have been a product of viral videos on YouTube. In fact, many studies point to the fact that YouTube is one of the main avenues of discovery for new music. When was the last time MTV could claim that? 1989?

That's why it's time for an music video awards show that's far more relevant to what's happening today - the YouTube Music Awards. Google, who owns YouTube, is already building broadcast facilities and gradually dipping their toe into television, and this would be the perfect way to start it off.

Just image how they could tie it all together. Do a live stream on YouTube Live and GoogleTV in conjunction with a TV network, and tie in the social with a massive Google+ Hangout. In fact, I volunteer my services as exec producer, if you're listening Google, because the YouTube Music Awards is an idea who's time has come.

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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Here Comes Apple's Streaming Service

Streaming Music image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
It's been predicted for years, but it looks like Apple is finally entering the realm of streaming music. Reports from The Wall Street Journal now indicate that the computer and music giant has been in talks with the major labels to create a custom service similar to Pandora's that would create virtual music streams based on a listener's song or artist choices. The report also states that the new service would not be available on Android devices, which is Apple's way of maintaining a strong grip on its online music market share.

There's already competition in this space, since iHeartRadio and Spotify besides Pandora offer an algorithm that make custom song choices. Rumor has it that Apple's service will be different in that it will offer a lot greater interactivity than any of the other services however, and their license fee to the labels will be larger as a result.

That said, you can see the shakeout coming already. Pandora's stock fell 17% on Friday, and you'll see a giant change overnight not only in that part of the industry, but online music in general if Apple's service comes to pass.

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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.

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