Streaming

Denial Of A Digital Lifestyle: Living The Life Of An Ostrich (With Your Head In The Sand)

Ostrich-sandGuest post by Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder.

According to legends (although there is no evidence to show that this is true), ostriches have a tendency to bury their heads in the sand as a way to avoid danger.  Today, people are often said to bury their heads in the sand when they refuse to confront or deal with a problem, and choose to deny it.

And that's exactly what's happening with many people in the music business, on both the label side and the artist side (it's the latter that I find most shocking).

FACT: People are still trying to fight and challenge the new reality of how music is being consumed (streaming or downloading or Spotify-ing, as opposed to purchasing).

FACT: Yes, the industry has indeed been upset and overturned, that's without question.

OPINION: It's the resistance to change that baffles me.

Top 4 Things We Need To Accept

1. Music and media consumption behaviours have changed.

2. The value of music and media has changed.

3. How music and media fits into a person's life has changed.

4. "No matter what you say, you can't make me change." (as spoken by every teenager since time began)

And here's the thing…
it doesn't matter if you don't like it.
And it doesn't matter if you don't think it's fair.

Change-acceptanceIn fact, it doesn't even matter if people continue to lose jobs. I know I did. The mp3 took away my job of 14 years at a chain of record stores, one that I thought I would have forever.

But it doesn't matter.

And unfortunately it doesn't even matter if musicians aren't getting compensated the way they expect to be for their hard work.

And yes, it sucks, but… that's just the way it is.

This is all a part of The Change Acceptance Cycle.

But if no one is listening, if no one cares about an artist… then why should that artist get paid? Just because you can hit the Record button doesn't mean it's worth anything. People DO need to actually listen to it and re-listen to it, over and over, and to enjoy it.

The days of paying 99 cents for one listen, only to discover that the song sucks, are gone.

JugglaBut don't worry, the shitty juggler on the street corner who keeps dropping balls isn't getting paid either.

Just because something used to be a certain way, doesn't mean that it will remain that way forever. The music industry will never be the same as it once was.

Never. Money will never flow as easily as people seem to think it once did.

It's just the way it is.

All arguments are moot.

Whatever logic you use, right or wrong, it won't change the behaviours of an entire generation that has grown up with digital music and who have never purchased a CD (or a magazine or a DVD).

It's just the way it is.

You can't fight technology once it's been accepted and embraced into society and its become a part of our everyday lives.

It's just the way it is.

So here's the thing:

Use new media to find new fans. Study these fans… especially if they haven't bought anything yet. They are your potential new consumers. Learn from them. They have needs and wants and desires, just as music fans did 20 years ago. But the music fan has evolved. They're different now.

Today's music fan interacts with the medium in a very different way than ever before, but they do it just as passionately as the hippies did in the 60' or 70's.

Today's music fan has new needs:

1.
Access
2. Scarcity
3. Curation
4. Portability
5. Personality
6. Interactivity
7. Community
8. Shareability
9. Convenience
10. Bragging Rights

It's your job to figure out what it is your fans want. And then give it to them.

Accept the new reality.
Roll with it.

Embrace the multitude of new opportunities that didn't exist prior to digital media, peer to peer sharing, cheap technology, powerful tools, a new generation and the social web.

Adapt.

Step it up… and then rock that shit. Your fans want you to.

ThreadlesstPut your head in the clouds rather than in the sand.

That's where the solutions are.

After all, it's only by dreaming and brainstorming in which we can create new opportunities and find exciting
new ways to provide value for today's music fan… while earning the necessary revenue to keep the business of music alive.

We can all learn a lot by studying what Louis C.K. and Amanda Palmer are doing. They're doing it 100% DIY and killing it.

It's a scalable solution that can work.

Don't fight your customer.

Embrace your fans and they'll embrace you back.


Share on:

26 Comments

  1. One could say that the digital only tards are doing the same with regards to the use and demand for physical music. As well, If it’s not too much trouble to ask could you please show some supporting facts or label you statements what they are –opinions.
    Like the fact that Amanda Palmer has signed a distribution deal with Alliance. I have to ask do you think that Alliance, which is partial owned by UMG, is some some DIY outfit or the biggest distributor in North America.
    As for Louis CK it only took me one minute to find a his fan site that sell merchandise and when I sorted by “Best Sellers” the idea that came on top was what……wait for it
    Louie Season 2 DVD
    Price:$29.98
    Bahhhhhh haa http://shop.fxnetworks.com/index.php?v=fx_shows_louie&view=list&sort=bestsellers
    I’m not quite sure who put of the memo that said consumers only want music or entertainment in one format; However I’m pretty sure that it came from someone that sells hardware, bandwidth or stockholder of digital companies since they seem to be making money hand over fist.
    BTW when is this site going to rename itself HypeSpotifyBot.

  2. Brian,
    I don’t think anyone has their head in the sand on this one. And really you have very little new to say on the topic. We’ve heard this all before.
    Your biggest problem is that you see the situation purely from your perspective, not the perspective of work class artists. Free, forever is not a sustainable business model for anyone and I find it particularly disturbing that someone who choses to work in music, even tangentially as a writer, has so little regard for the craft.
    I don’t think anyone is questioning the transformation of the business, but in the case of Spotify, we are more focussed on the artist getting a fair deal, than supporting Spotify’s growth as a global corporation.
    Time you woke up to realize that with change comes challenges and when they opened that digital door hoards of musicians came charging through it.
    So get real, think about someone else’s life for a change, not just how you can get another free ride.

  3. Friends.
    Read this article again and substitute the words “Music
    Business” with the words “Mainstream Movie Business” and
    then contemplate the concept of “what is the incentive to
    spend (invest) X million $$$$$$ on a movie project?”

  4. As broad as this piece might be, Brian makes some decent points. What’s bothersome is the idea that you are either a digital denier or you’ve got to suck it up and adapt to the current landscape. The beauty of digital technology is that it’s instantly replaceable. So, why not accept that digital is currently the way and then contribute to it, shape it, rather than roll over and believe that what is is what will ever be.

  5. OH and since all art is free, I get complete works of Dali, Devinche, Michealangelo, The beatles master tapes, Moneh,(Canadian spelling)Rembrant, Whorhale. Since i live in canada I,ll go to the National Gallery and grab the works of The Group Of Seven. -7 Spellin
    PS And the “Gone with the Wind” master reel.
    This is called sarcasm kids.

  6. I’m Gonna leave this right.
    “I don’t even know why I would want to be on a label in a few years, because I don’t think it’s going to work by labels and by distribution systems in the same way. The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within 10 years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it. I see absolutely no point in pretending that it’s not going to happen. I’m fully confident that copyright, for instance, will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing.
    Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity. So it’s like, just take advantage of these last few years because none of this is ever going to happen again. You’d better be prepared for doing a lot of touring because that’s really the only unique situation that’s going to be left. It’s terribly exciting. But on the other hand it doesn’t matter if you think it’s exciting or not; it’s what’s going to happen.”
    -David Bowie 2002

  7. Talented artists should just give up.
    dumb dee dumb “maybe call me, here’s my number” dee dumb dumb dumb dumb, so dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb

  8. Amanda only signed that deal AFTER she made the money to produce her album. She only signed to help distribute. She didn’t sign away any of her copyrights.
    Also, you should take a “how to google” class. That’s not Louie CK’s site.
    Here, let me help you…
    https://buy.louisck.net/

  9. Question: What good does it do anyone to look at this problem from the “working class artist” perspective? In what business do you sit around trying to figure out how to get your customer to pay ten dollars for something that’s worth twenty five cents, and then whine when they won’t pay it?
    You accuse him of not caring about the craft. How do you know he doesn’t care about the craft? He never says anything about the importance (or lack thereof) of the craft in this post. The fact that you can’t separate his point from your feelings is exactly the point he’s trying to make.
    Let me put it another way. I care about the craft. I care deeply about it and understand it’s importance to the whole endeavor. But it’s completely besides the point. It’s about scarcity. Gold is still gold but it becomes worthless if every rock on the side of the road is made of it. In other words, your song may be great (and it needs to be great to worth anything). So the craft is monumentally important. But if your song has zero marginal cost to reproduce and ship (meaning it doesn’t cost anything to copy and send) and you can find it anywhere on the internet (like finding gold rocks everywhere on the ground) then it doesn’t matter. A COPY of your amazing, inspiring song cost zero dollars on the open market. That’s the point of this piece and it’s dead on.
    Innovate. It’s the only way to figure out a way to get paid moving forward.
    Also, the key to any artist getting paid well from a streaming service (like Spotify) is the growth of the service. The bigger the service gets, the larger the percentage everyone gets paid. Support Spotify (or whatever streaming service you like) and in 10 years time you won’t believe how much money artists will be seeing. You’ll wonder why everyone fought it for so long.

  10. When Spotify is willing to be transparent about their equity relationship with the labels, a guideline for pay increases to artists based on subscriber growth and advertising revenue, so we actually know what it is there talking about, then it becomes a new ball game.
    Until Spotify does that, there is no reason to believe that they are nothing more than a corporation with an eye toward an IPO. As a corporation with stockholders they will be hard pressed to raise their operating expenses.
    ” Gold is still gold but it becomes worthless if every rock on the side of the road is made of it. In other words, your song may be great (and it needs to be great to worth anything). So the craft is monumentally important. But if your song has zero marginal cost to reproduce and ship (meaning it doesn’t cost anything to copy and send) and you can find it anywhere on the internet (like finding gold rocks everywhere on the ground) then it doesn’t matter. A COPY”
    That is the lamest excuse for ripping off artists I have ever heard. I would love to see a guy that produces forged currency use that argument at a trial. Do you think he would win that case? You sound like a printer salesman. What does the cost of reproduction have to do with the value of something?
    While were on it, Jeff, any thoughts on patents? How about Trademark? Tried selling any T-shirts with the CocaCola Logo on it? After all you are just making a copy, aren’t you?
    “Let me put it another way. I care about the craft. I care deeply about it and understand it’s importance to the whole endeavor. But it’s completely besides the point. It’s about scarcity.”
    In your world, everything would just have an X on it.
    ” I care about the craft. I care deeply about it and understand it’s importance to the whole endeavor.”
    What a bunch of BS.
    I’ll leave to your “rock” collection.
    Will Buckley, founder, FarePlay

  11. When Spotify is willing to be transparent about their equity relationship with the labels, a guideline for pay increases to artists based on subscriber growth and advertising revenue, so we actually know what it is there talking about, then it becomes a new ball game.
    Until Spotify does that, there is no reason to believe that they are nothing more than a corporation with an eye toward an IPO. As a corporation with stockholders they will be hard pressed to raise their operating expenses.
    ” Gold is still gold but it becomes worthless if every rock on the side of the road is made of it. In other words, your song may be great (and it needs to be great to worth anything). So the craft is monumentally important. But if your song has zero marginal cost to reproduce and ship (meaning it doesn’t cost anything to copy and send) and you can find it anywhere on the internet (like finding gold rocks everywhere on the ground) then it doesn’t matter. A COPY”
    That is the lamest excuse for ripping off artists I have ever heard. I would love to see a guy that produces forged currency use that argument at a trial. Do you think he would win that case? You sound like a printer salesman. What does the cost of reproduction have to do with the value of something?
    While were on it, Jeff, any thoughts on patents? How about Trademark? Tried selling any T-shirts with the CocaCola Logo on it? After all you are just making a copy, aren’t you?
    “Let me put it another way. I care about the craft. I care deeply about it and understand it’s importance to the whole endeavor. But it’s completely besides the point. It’s about scarcity.”
    In your world, everything would just have an X on it.
    ” I care about the craft. I care deeply about it and understand it’s importance to the whole endeavor.”
    What a bunch of BS.
    I’ll leave to your “rock” collection.
    Will Buckley, founder, FarePlay

  12. Ya Know, I used Limewire and napster. Then someone explained to me how it was stealing and WRONG (how would you like it if people just took your songs?) and I stopped doing it and paid for my music like I should. David Bowie be dammed.(Well at least his “music is like water” quote.)

  13. “I don’t think anyone has their head in the sand on this one. And really you have very little new to say on the topic. We’ve heard this all before.”
    co-sign, this was cheerfully content-free stuff

  14. I prefer to never roll over, but, yeah, both is fine on a basic level. My point is not to limit responses to change but to continue to be engaged rather than be a passive, reactive participant in a very dynamic world.

  15. Wow, what an atrociously poor attempt at a “copying is stealing” analogy using difficult-to-copy originals, many out of copyright, already exploited many times over, and all of which contributed to the advancement of the arts through their wide availability, not scarcity or profiteering. Imperfect copies are widely available for free and also for pay; there’s a Renoir print on my wall right now…did I support a working artist when I bought it? And by calling anyone who disagrees with your reductio ad absurdum “kids”, you say more about yourself and your biases and demonstrate you’ve completely missed the point of the article.

  16. We can talk about this when the big-name actors aren’t getting paid millions, Michael Bay movies aren’t killing at the box office, more films aren’t coming out of Hollywood than ever before, technical production and distribution costs aren’t dropping like a mob informant off a bridge, and Hollywood isn’t churning out endless remakes and sequels just to justify its bloat. As it stands, there’s plenty of incentive…

  17. Good luck running a business based on the idea of shaking your finger at consumers, questioning their morality, and accusing them of theft. Sounds like a great business plan.

  18. So if I’m a composer, and someone hasn’t paid for my music, then you consider that person my customer instead of a thief? LOL! Because when burglars become fans of my furniture and break in to take it, they’ve engaged in a business transaction with me too!

  19. Actually the people who are in denial are those who think that the internet reality is more REAL than the physical world, particularly its economics.

  20. Please think about what Alex has said for a minuet.And, Ophelia, Please excuse my anger, but why should people be able to help them selves to my property and make copies for any one they want?
    Don’t mix this with any business model.
    For instance, Most disabled song writers and composers can’t tour. What can they do to make and protect their paltry $0.13 cent-$0.99 cent cut, they are entitled to?

Comments

Email address is not displayed with comments

Note: Use HTML tags like <b> <i> and <ul> to style your text. URLs automatically linked.