[Music Monday] Music Labels, Make Something Simple And Put It On The Web!
As covered by DailySocial a few days ago, Touchten launched a music app in collaboration with Aquarius Musikindo, one of the ‘major independent’ labels (this is the term they use in the industry to note a large music label not affiliated with the Big Four: Sony, Universal Music, Warner Music and EMI). This move deserves applause as it shows that the music labels are willing to try out untested new waters, instead of trying to find a new medium to repeat the old business model of record music and profit by amount of sold copies.
I mean, if we’re going to move on from the issue if piracy, we might as well try something new. The increasing trend of concerts being a major income contributor for musicians has emphasized that the recorded music itself, obtained legally or illegally, is a way to sell a music experience, which in some cases in better enjoyed live.
I think if you checked each person who came to a Katy Perry concert, not all would have bought the original CD – but they definitely have paid full price to buy the concert tickets. Why? Because the concert is an irreplaceable experience, with different meaning to different people. Just like the songs themselves.
Aulia has previously pointed out that musicians should move on from selling music to trying to sell experiences, and music concerts do just that – and concert DVDs are a great idea too (although you’d hit the piracy problem again). But live concerts are very expensive undertakings and are limited by time and place. So where can you go where you’re not limited by time and place? The Internet, of course.
Live streaming Internet concerts is nothing new, of course, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg (and not the best one at that, as ‘live’ will mean somebody somewhere in the world can only watch in at 2 in the morning). Not everybody can make an iTunes or Spotify, but it means each service has a unique user experience proposition that we can take note of – iTunes for its ecosystem and simplicity; Spotify for its large library and yes, simplicity.
Simplicity is in the eye of the user, of course – all the magic needs to happen behind the scenes. iTunes had employed DRM in its early years but since they made the experience simple enough, I’m willing to bet nobody realized the DRM was there until some guy tried to copy songs to another computer or device. Technology needs to make things easier for the user, instead of complicated – as I believe one of the main reasons for digital piracy is it’s just easier and simpler to go to 4shared and download a file. But on the downside of the Internet being a channel for almost ubiquitous piracy, it can also serve as a channel for ubiquitous experiences.
There’s no killer business model yet, and I don’t think there’s going to be one business model that is capable to replace lagging physical music product sales. But I’m willing to bet that a simple music experience, one that rewards users more the longer they are immersed in it (or buy in to a higher-level experience), is key.
There are millions of methods to try, if the music labels are willing, and the Internet is large enough for all these services to coexist, even with the iTunes and Spotifies of this world. The collaboration between Touchten and Aquarius is a good start.
Ario worked in the digital music industry in Indonesia from 2003 to 2010, and recently worked in the movie and TV industry in Vietnam. Keep up with him on Twitter at @barijoe or his blog on http://barijoe.wordpress.com
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