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Forrester Study Offers Plan To Save Music Industry

Forrester release chart

A Summary & Commentary - Forrester Research has released an aggressive road map of changes that analyst Mark Mulligan says are "necessary to save the music industry from the current Media Meltdown it finds itself in.  The CD is dying, the 99 cent download model clearly isn’t enough (nor is live), and ad supported and subsidized models all have much distance to go". 

"a continual artist-fan relationship"

The challenge is to make people willing to pay for music again and Forrester suggests that part of the answer is an staggered release schedule (illustrated above).  But that's just the beginning; the core music product needs a complete overhaul: "The album has been with us for exactly 100 years and... has remained largely unchanged... (Instead) releases can become part of a continual artist-fan relationship with artists delivering a steady stream of creative output".

Value-added content in the form of back stage footage, covers, remixes, mobile apps etc. Now "...content should no longer be seen as a way of selling albums and gigs, but as an end in itself".

The 4 Cs of Digital Content:

Content, Convenience, Cost and Community.

All music industry innovation must be based around the 4C's according to Forrester.

Commentary:  Most of the Forrester plan to save the music industry is based on proven marketing concepts and sales techniques (value-added, the 4 C's) that were suggested years ago by Seth Godin and many other consumer marketers. These problems and their solutions are not unique to the music industry. But Mulligan and company are right; the big labels have done little more than flirt with them.

A full embrace is what's needed to shape the new music industry and proof that it can work is everywhere.  Indie music marketers from Trent Reznor to Topspin are testimonies to the power of listening to the community of fans and offering value added content and a variety of costs.  Imogene Heap, Amanda Palmer, Jill Sobule and Jonathan Coulton each offer their own unique glimpses into the power of community. 

The next actions needed are clear.  If the old music industry does not take them; the new music industry will.

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