Chris Dahlen writes:
Here are the broad headlines from the Future of Music coalition policy summit:
CDs are on their way out. While the 80-minute compact disc may be the standard format for years to come, nobody's excited about it. Sales are down, and the customers see less and less value in a regular CD-- especially when it carries a list price close to $20.If you agree compact discs are out, there are three ways you could replace them. First, the industry could somehow resolve every licensing, payment, and digital rights problem, and produce a "celestial jukebox" where the customer, for some kind of fee, can get every song ever recorded. Second, artists could retreat to the 19th century model, and base their careers on live performance-- which would make CDs just another piece of merchandise. And third, customers could pay for a kind of blanket license where everyone puts cash in the kitty (either voluntarily, or maybe in their ISP bill), and then swaps or steals as much music as they want, with their contributions filtering through some kind of ASCAP-like general fund for the artists.
Downloads don't sell, either. Or at least, they don't sell much. To most of the big players, downloaded music is a loss leader: Apple uses iTunes to sell iPods, and Rhapsody sells downloads as a courtesy while they try to rope you into a subscription. iTunes may have just sold its 500 millionth download, but a billion or two files cross the p2p networks every month.The problem: "The baseline is that people will always be able to get whatever they want for free. So how do you compete with that?"
Music is everywhere "Music is becoming more and more a soundtrack of our lives." It's a constant background presence in our cars, at our workouts, and on our cheapo workplace computer speakers. And the kids today are cycling through songs on their iPod between classes, and checking out new songs via ringtones.We may not consume music for its own sake, but music permeates our lives. So licensing music-- to movies, television shows, advertisements, whatever-- has become a huge source of revenue for artists, small and large.
For marketers, these trends spell new opportunities for building a coalition with artists and creating a connect with their brands.