Thursday, January 17, 2008

Music Lessons from the Edge

Because of its high profile (and the way it marched, unprepared and eyes tightly closed, ahead of most of us into the digital future), the music business is a fascinating case study for the evolution of business in the Web age. Marketing guru Seth Godin had a fascinating blogpost recently entitled Music Lessons: Things you can learn from the music business as it falls apart.

Here are some of his rules:

The first rule is so important, it’s rule 0:
0. The new thing is never as good as the old thing, at least right now: Soon, the new thing will be better than the old thing will be. Don't expect old models to survive long.

1. Past performance is no guarantee of future success: Every single industry changes and, eventually, fades.

2. Copy protection in a digital age is a pipe dream: You used to sell plastic and vinyl. Now, you can sell interactivity and souvenirs.

3. Interactivity can’t be copied: The winners in the music business are individuals and organizations that create communities, connect people, spread ideas and act as the hub of the wheel.

11. Understand the power of digital: You may believe that your business doesn’t lend itself to digital transactions. Many do. If you’ve got a business that doesn’t thrive on digital, it might not grow as fast as you like... Maybe you need to find a business that does thrive on digital.

13. Whenever possible, sell subscriptions: Few businesses can successfully sell subscriptions (magazines being the best example), but when you can, the whole world changes. HBO, for example, is able to spend its money making shows for its viewers rather than working to find viewers for every show.

Godin concludes that the biggest opportunity for the music business is to combine "permission with subscription."

"The possibilities are endless... the good old days are yet to happen."

Read the original post here.

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