Techdirt publisher Mike Masnick took the stage in Cannes today offering an optimistic view of the music industry. “The industry is amazing right now… we have more content than ever before, more access than ever before, and more opportnity than ever before. "And this is a good thing,” he said. The challenge is very much a marketing challenge," Masnick told the Midem audience. “It can be met by being more open, more human and most of all, more awesome.”
His talk was based on a research report being released today: The Sky Is Rising – a survey of the global entertainment industry today. “Actually we should be celebrating what is happening, because things are actually amazing.” Music, games, books, film and video.
“We found that for the entire past decade, the industry has been growing. The story of doom and gloom is not actually true. Things have been getting better and better and better.” 66% growth across the entertainment industry since 2006, he said. “People are spending money. The sky is not falling, the sky was never falling.”
Masnick talked about the difference between the ‘record industry’ and the ‘music industry’ – lots of revenues from things other than record sales. And he noted that there has been an explosion in the amount of music being made.
“For consumers it is a time of abundance – more content, more choices – more ways to experience music than ever before… For musicians, easier to create, record, distribute and promote. But the challenge is there is much more competition… The challenge is a marketing challenge… to capture those consumers in a much more highly competitive market.”
In the report, Masnick says he has looked at a number of artists making this work. He talked about comedian Louis CK, who recently released a live performance, through his own website. It was DRM-free, and cost just $5. “He was incredibly open and transparent and human in the way he handled it,” said Masnick.
That included writing a letter to people who might be tempted to pirate the video, explaining his perspective – that he’d like to make more of these videos, if he could afford to do it.
“He trusted that if he acted human, they would act human in return,” said Masnick. “Within 12 days he had made over $1m.” He then explained what he was doing with the money – some distributed to charities, more going back to his staff, and some for himself.
“None of this works if what you are doing is not awesome,” warned Masnick. If Louis CK wasn’t a funny comedian, if a musician isn’t making great music, none of this works.
The report is being made available at www.techdirt.com/skyisrising