What’s Ahead For 2011? Benjamin Campbell: It Will Bring Further Consolidation In The Music Industry.

image from www.startupbeat.com As we end the year, Hypebot asked some our favorite thinkers, writers, and friends to answer two questions – one looking forward and the other back. Here Benjamin Campbell, Founder + CEO, OurStage.com, anwsers.

Hypebot: What do you see as the most important business and consumer trends that will shape the music industry in 2011?

Benjamin Campbell: I think musicians and fans understand more than ever just how symbiotic their relationship is.  

An informed, motivated, fan base can change the game for an artist – pushing them to the top: whether it's financially supporting them, helping spread the word about them online and via word of mouth, or judging them up in the rankings like we do on OurStage.com. 

In 2011 I think we'll see a further advancement of the tools that allow artists and fans to interact online – more direct interaction with passionate fans, more ways for those fans to spread the word, and more ways for the artist and fans to reward each other. 

I also think 2011 will bring a further consolidation in the industry.  Many of the media-darling music companies of just 3 years ago have either gone bust or been gobbled up for pennies on the dollar. 

This process is likely to continue in 2011 – with both MySpace and EMI on the rocks.  I think that by the end of the year we'll see big money being spent in the industry again to assemble the key components of a new-world-order platform – one with sufficient scale to actually have the industry reconsolidate around it.

Hypebot: Since this is ultimately all about music, what were your top musical moment(s) of 2010?

Benjamin Campbell: When OurStage band "Mission Hill" opened for Bon Jovi in front of 60,000 fans at Gillette Stadium; When 16 year old OurStage artist Sarah Solovay opened for John Mayer; When OurStage band "Kill the Alarm" totally rocked the OurStage MTV Showcase in NYC with their song "Sit Up". 

Sorry to have all my best musical moments be so OurStage-centric….but I'm very passionate about what we're doing.

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  1. “Further Consolidation In The Music Industry” means mergers and reducing the number of little players on the market towards a smaller number of big players. These bigger labels are then not exactly motivated to enlarge the number of different releases in print, but to sell those they would sell anyway to a larger percentage of potential customers. Beancounters keep thinking in superstar money, unfortunately. But superstars and singles are the most pirated. Hence, further consolidation the next year. How can this shrinking process be stopped? Since google bought youtube, piracy cannot be stopped anymore, so the only way to go might indeed be repertoire diversity. Lots of musicians musicians as opposed to focussing on a small number of big name acts. Otherwise, the Lady Gagas of this world will be so omnipresent that everyone’s got enough of them pretty soon and customers give up on buying music altogether, kind of like they did on listening to the same-old same-old that’s looped on format radio.
    In around 1999, the internet proved to be a viable alternative to the radio that I abandoned because its music got so boring. Over the last 2 years, the internet with its viral marketing omnipresent in message boards has suffered as a tool for new music discovery because obscure releases cannot be found as easily as was possible about 6 years ago, and when you do find the gem of sound, it may not even be available anymore or might never become available for purchase.
    It’s sad.
    For me, direct-to-fan marketing means emailing an artist if they would agree to selling me a CD-R of their album because the compressed mp3 sound “quality” is just not enough for me. If I’m able to reach them, they usually agree, and about two months later, I’m able to hold it in my hands. Recently, I just don’t have the time anymore for that time-consuming practise. But good music not being easily available doesn’t make me buy a Gaga CD. No score for the beancounters.

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