Originally Posted by roadsweeper
I have just finished watching the lecture by Gerd Leonard at Digital Music News: Insider Blogs — Digital Music News
If anyone who has viewed this lecture can enlighten me with some information that may have gone over my head I would be very grateful. After a lot of research I am still no closer to understanding how, realistically, professionals like us can continue to make money.
Well I've not watched his lecture but I've read his book and have been reading DMN daily for the past 3 yrs. I can't enlighten you but I will give my take
How does one monetise the internet when (at present moment) there is no legal framework nor viable technology that can introduce accountability? Accountibility as in being able to pinpoint who accessed / distributed which file and BILL him for it?
The answer I think is not to try to monetise the internet, but as he said, use it as the new radio. What is the thing that people couldn't get taping songs off radio? Why did records/CD still sell despite that? What is the differentiating quality - now? What makes you feel different if you had 10,000,000 page views on your band's video on youtube versus your band played on a TV show which would be syndicated to 18 countries worldwide? Which means more to you?
Do you really think selling purely music by units (downloads, discs whatever) is still viable in the near future for every musician / band? Why are there musicians who make a living creating music you never really hear (only in the background) and those who still sell albums in quantities six figures in the 1st week? Who are the people who are directly and indirectly paying them? Content will be be tiered naturally. This rule will never change - just lke how crude oil is refined - different grades are for totally different uses. We may have 1000X the bands you can readily hear online now compared to 10 yrs ago, but it's the same cream of the crop who will have their paymasters be the music consumers themselves. The rest? Of course their music can be monetised, just not in the form of selling CDs and downloads. The thing to bear in mind is consumers want multi-dimensional, and varied entertainment now. And the majority of musicians in future will have to increasingly rely on a much larger palette of avenues (live touring, merchandise, sync licensing etc) to make a living.
Slowly the world is moving towards subscriber based on-demand ("pull") entertainment. Its proliferation and adoption rate (i.e. the number of people who would pay the minimal amount for these services to be financially sustainable) is only hindered by the lack of the mass of content available at the viewer's disposal. Imagine a world whereby someone in Africa can at 8:30 pm watch a live soccer match in UK and straight after switch to a delayed transmission of a street carnival in Brazil and then accidentally find a prerecorded music concert in Japan while channel surfing.
It only takes "secured channels" to make it happen. These channels can be subscriber TV, mobile platforms or anything they haven't "invented" or coined a buzzword for.
And a purely ad-supported entertainment platform I think is not viable, simply because advertising always have to take into account different demographic profiles and product variations, which can vary from regions within even a country. Advertisers will pay less and less for untargetted reach. And it's different advertising on nytimes.com versus on a site where the viewers' eyeballs are following the moves of the artist's body and the ears are enveloped in heavily limited audio.
Branding will be more viable.
Therefore the key lies in music stakeholders developing "billable content" for "secured" channels and continuing to enlarge the difference between these billable content and the free content on the internet
. What could be this difference? Transmission quality? Curated content (ratio of good stuff vs chaff)? "Liveness" (we tend to forget this traditional stronghold of TV that has yet to be superseded by the internet)? There are still a lot of "elements/qualities" in the user experience that people can't find on Youtube / bitorrent/ itunes / lastFM etc that hasn't been explored and commercially exploited.
There are too many "stakeholders" simultaneously asking for a piece of a tiny cake. These remnants of the old world music business are trying stubbornly to enforce their rules on a different game. They all claim to be acting on behalf of the artist, but their actions are actually hindering the evolvement of the new game which if allowed to play out, will create a cake that is 100x the size for the artist.
If those media corporations are smart enough they should be now looking at buying up / merging with the people who own the infrastructure : ISPs, cable broadcasters, telcos. If the new generation of artists are smart enough they should be demanding deals whereby they are partners with these super-corporations (content + delivery) and no more obsolete middlemen roles getting in the way.
It's only a matter of time when the lawless frontier of internet will be a memory, when the correct combination of stakeholders finally realise they could make even more money banding together. The same people who allowed the internet to grow so powerful will make the internet less powerful by limiting its influence to being only an informal / amateur / user-generated platform. They will find a way to make the internet nothing more than a promotional viral machine, where the citizen media can fart and broadcast themselves all they want but nobody really takes it very seriously
That will be the day of (borrowing a phrase from Gerd) the end of the end of control.
Sorry for the long post