I know I should be using this weekly email to pontificate about music and whatever topical trends hit our screens — “Hey look — Christmas! iheartradio! ATP! Gangnam Style! UMGEMI! [Insert Trend of the Week here]!” But I think the here & now is fairly well covered.
I truly believe that the best way for the music industry to grow is to figure out how to use it to fuel other businesses. IDJ’s Russell Fink brought up this point while in the middle of working some minor miracles last week, and it bears repeating. Instead of building another app that reads my iTunes collection and suggests other bands I might like (roger, got that), instead of trying to wring yet another dollar out of the converted, focus on finding new ways to gain an extra point here & there from the customers we lost along the way.
Does that fishing app need music? License some tunes! Would that parking app work better if some crazy Korean dude did a funny dance on your phone 10 minutes before your meter expires? Hell yes it would! Would you still be playing ‘Draw Something’ if you could turn in 50 coins? Wait, don’t answer that.
Album sales’ gross revenues ain’t ever coming back. The jury’s still out on the future of ticket sales as boomers get older / superstars fade / mass hit artists become more scarce, etc. TV & film licensing continues to become more ubiquitous, even as supply & demand (and dwindling production budgets) squeeze licensing revenues.
But pennies are turning into dollars via YouTube and Spotify and the like. We just need to find more nooks & crannies to insert music, and hope that some more of these platforms take off. Music has, and should, lead the charge in whatever the next big trends in social / web will be.
Although I will say, to totally contradict EVERYTHING I said above, if there were a way to preach to the converted, it would be to open up playlists on terrestrial radio and play some smarter music — listeners are not as dumb as those mattress commercials would like for you to believe. We have this wasted resource pre-installed in every single vehicle, and yet. Kills me every time I hop in the car.