Music marketer Echo, which handles web sites, online communities, and digital marketing for such top tier artists as Kanye West, Keith Urban, Alicia Keys and Dierks Bentley will be winding down operations over the next 60 days. Ticketmaster bought Echo in March of 2007 for a reported $25 million, but found the Nashville based business unprofitable. “The decision is not really a big surprise to most of us considering the economy,” one staffer told LA Business.
COMMENTARY: When a business with the proven track record of Echo fails, it's easy to blame the perils of operating within a struggling industry in the midst of slumping economy; and no doubt those were major factors. Mistakenly, marketing dollars are often the first to go during cutbacks.
But wasn't building community, as Echo diid, supposed to be the alternative to the failing label machinery and the direct artist to fan connectioion the answer to all of music's monetization woes?
Echo took a top down approach to community building. Based on cutting edge concepts, they built beautiful tools and for a fee provided the experts to run them. But just as tech has proven the power of open source and low cost software, open API's and crowdsourcing, the real potential lies within the communities and the tools that support it rather than the gatekeepers.
Going forward, music is better served putting tools in the hands of creative artists, entrepreneurs and fans and keeping the experts to a minimum. Look around. It's already beginning to happen.