Consumer or Music Lover: You Decide
GUEST POST by Kyle Bylin of indie label 50 Entertainment. Kyle also contributed The Fall Of Communization And The Rise Of The Music Fan and We Are The Curator, The Light and The Frame.
Before Kevin Roberts became the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi he told them, "We’re not going to be in the advertising business anymore, we’re going to reframe that, we’re going to be in the ideas business."
When Trent Reznor developed and adapted a new model to deliver Ghosts I-IV, he reframed what it meant to be in the music business. Understanding that free was inescapable and multipliable formats were inevitable, he established six points of participation for fans. By catering to the resurgence of vinyl and allowing interaction with multi-track files he went on to challenge market abundance with scarcity by increasing the level of personalization and authenticity. Thus making the purchase, Better Than Free for his core fans.
Roberts went onto say, "We’re all looking to get to the future first and it’s going to come from you. It’s not going to come from the engineers or the merchant bankers." To paraphrase, we’re all looking to get to the future first in the music industry and it’s not going to come from the major labels, the lawyers…
, or the managers. It’s going to come from creative individuals.
Through strategic, creative insight and foresight there is still room
to succeed in the music industry today.
Continuing his path of innovation, Reznor is now offering special incentives for participating in his market research survey.
This brings to light Roberts later comment that "EMI and Sony BMG know
more about the CD market than anybody in the world, but who cares,
because there isn’t one anymore." In an adapt or die market, Trent’s
freedom allows him to ask for his fans advice. Depending on the success
of the survey this information could advocate the justification of
future special projects previously unheard of. Gaining a deeper level
of understanding of what his fans want and how they interact with the
music he creates will garner the further insight and foresight needed
to travel uncharted territory.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s article The Ketchup Conundrum,
he speaks of Howard Moskowitz who holds a doctorate from Harvard in
psychophysics. Moskowitz, most notably known for revolutionizing
spaghetti sauce, brought forth the understanding of multiple varieties
rather than searching for the platonic or perfect dish. From his
previous work with Pepsi, Howard understood that there was no perfect
Pepsi, only perfect Pepsi’s. Paraphrasing Gladwell, "Standard practice
in the music industry would have been to convene a focus group and ask
music lovers what they wanted. But Moskowitz does not believe that
consumers-even music lovers-know what they desire if what they desire
does not yet exist."
What Howard Moskowitz and Trent Reznor have in common is their
understanding of the need for multiple varieties as well as the notion
that a fan can’t desire what does not yet exist. With the Major Labels
recent introduction of pre-loaded SanDisk microSD cards, it makes you wonder, between Trent Reznor and The Major Labels…Who is surveying the music consumer and who is surveying the music lover?