Maximizing Your Music Experience, Marketing, and Method By Khem Na'khi

The Music Fan
The Challenge
Maximizing Your Music Experience

“Selecting a CD isn't as easy as hitting the seek button on your stereo.  That same person may feel discouraged if a large array of options is present, because it forces an increase in the effort that goes into making a decision.” – Kyle Bylin

Kyle Bylin, associate editor for Hypebot, recently posted this article about the differences in experience for the satisficers (older generations) and the maximizers (digital natives). He focuses more on digital natives and the infinite number of choices they have when selecting music. Instead of settling for a song that may suite their taste – for the moment, digital natives strive to search for song that will make them fill complete. I wrote an article for an audio magazine I produced last year called, “The Paradox of Choice”, which goes into detail about how the listening experience is affected due to the fact that we, as digital natives, are never satisfied even though we have a large selection of music to choose from.     

The Opportunity
The People’s Music Store

"I believe the collective knowledge of serious music fans is more compelling and can scale more effectively than any company can do on its own. That's the idea behind People's Music Store - giving fans the power to curate their own online stores, promote their favorite artists, and write about the music they love," – Ged Day

I always dreamed of owning my own music store. Instead of storing the same music as the other retailers, I wanted the music to reflect my own musical taste. With the thought of coming up with startup money, finding a location where the rent is reasonable, operation costs and the efforts of marketing to drive sales, those dreams soon faded. Fast forwarded ten years later, the internet allows you to do whatever, whenever, wherever. Enter, The People’s Music Store, started by Ged Day, the founder of and co-founder of Warp Records. The People’s Music Store empowers the music fan to setup shop, pick and choose what music to promote, write reviews, embed widgets on your social networking site and earn credit to buy new music.   

The Music Artist
The Challenge
The A,B,C Approach to Music Marketing

“…..What exactly is the best route to market for a new artist these days?

Two HUGE questions face you:

1. Just what do you do to get your music heard? and;
2. Just how long do you intend to last?” –
Keith Jopling

In today’s competitive and saturated market, music artists are given unlimited resources to promote their music to the world. Many fail because they don’t understand the digital landscape and/or they don’t have a solid plan in motion moving forward. I’ll give the analogy of standing in the middle of the desert without a compass and no sense of direction. Keith Jopling, author of the Juggernaut Brew blog, provides great insight on the ventures a “not yet popular” pop musician endures while trying to reach the masses. He also gives good advice through his A,B,C approach to Music Marketing from live performances, uploading your music to digital aggregators and filters to building loyalty with your audience.

The Opportunity
NIN Released New Album for Free in New PlayApp Format

“PlayApp is being designed as a new music sales format that offers more than just songs as a downloadable multiimedia collectible with DRM optional.” - Hypebot

Trent Reznor, front man for Nine Inch Nails, is at it again. He has started another trend in the attempt to change the way music is marketed, distributed and formatted. At the beginning of 2007, he released the NIN album, Ghost I-IV, as a free download and gave his fans multiple purchasing options. This unorthodox distribution method garnered the attention of the industry and the album went on to become a success. With the release of the new NIN album, “The Slip”, Trent is experimenting once again.  

The Music Label
The Challenge
Universal and Sony Reject Virgin Media’s Plan for Legal P2P

“The concerns of record labels, publishers and licensing societies, as well as, a myriad of contractual and legal obligations deeply entrenched in the industry will all have to shift dramatically before ISP licensed P2P becomes a reality.” - Hypebot

The monetization and control of music seems to be the only thing on the minds of record labels, publishers and licensing societies. It’s been well over a decade since Napster first appeared on the scene and caused an uproar in the music industry due to the new approach of owning music without paying. Anti-piracy campaigns, lawsuits and shakedowns have ensued with the record labels still scratching their head as to why their strategies aren’t working to end P2P file sharing. Virgin Media’s plan, similar to Nokia’s “Comes With Music” plan, was rejected by two majors, Sony and Universal because they feel would be loosing control if music uploads and downloads are unprovisioned.

The Opportunity
DRM-Free Music Sneaks onto iTunes from Major Labels

“It'd be nice if labels would stop trying to use DRM as a bargaining chip to try to force Steve Jobs budge on song pricing, album bundling and other issues; that way, all of the music in the iTunes store would be available in the unprotected AAC format, causing fewer consumer headaches and widening the hardware compatibility of iTunes-purchased music.” – Eliot Van Buskirk

What is DRM? Digital Rights Management. It is a range of access control technologies used by publishers, copyright holders, and hardware manufacturers to limit or restrict usage of digital media or devices. In my lifetime, I’ve downloaded only one song from iTunes. I paid the 0.99 for the purchase. However, when I tried to put the song, “Sean” by Aya, onto my MP3 player, Rhapsody didn’t recognize the file to add to my library. This scenario is all to familiar to the music fans who’ve ever downloaded songs from iTunes. However, with the ever increasing pressure on the record labels to allow music fans to stream music freely without restrictions seems to be coming to be coming to an end. The four major labels, EMI, Sony/BMG, UMG & WMG are finally beginning to release DRM-free music to the iTunes store.