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Is supply destroying demand? Direct Injection Boxes
Old 16th November 2007
  #1
Lives for gear
 
peeder's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Is supply destroying demand?

One of the things the digital age has done is unleashed pandora's box of content...It used to be that the only music the public got to hear outside of a local bar was vetted by many layers of filter and massaged by hand-picked professionals into a highly polished product. The public only got the best of the best (at least according to the priesthood's taste) and paid a premium.

Indie labels appeared as the priesthood's grip weakened, but they were just another layer of vetting. Still, they coined the "alternative" moniker, much of which can be mocked along the lines of the great book of that era, "Commodify Your Dissent" which argued that "non-conformity" was just another marketing angle for established corporations.

Finally digital downloads appeared and the promise of direct unfiltered contact between musician and consumer was realized. Alongside, DAWs and home studios got more powerful and cheaper and now any idiot can make something in garageband and get just as much visibility on myspace as John Mayer or whoever.

And with negligible unit costs music is routinely given away at varying quality levels, by amateur and major label act alike. If you want to hear your hero, you can at 96kbps/22Khz on myspace, anytime, for no charge. There is so much to choose from you could just surf from act to act, never paying for anything, getting an idea of the "scene" but not really participating in it or funding it. Musicians (even major acts like Radiohead) are now just resorting to "tip jars" where you can pay whatever you want for the digital copy of their latest album.

We've all made ourselves just buskers along the information superhighway.

And in so doing we have, more or less, achieved the egalitarianism that a lot of idealists in this business long wished for. Radiohead is just playing on the same street, with their guitar case open too, a few feet from you or me. But while they might draw a bit bigger crowd (much from their reputation earned in the now-lost world), the raw overload of all the choice is daunting to the consumer.

If you can imagine a whole city, with buskers of every description every ten feet on every street playing their hearts out, that's more or less what the music world looks like now. And the consumer is likely lost among the cacophany and so overwhelmed by the choice that they feel unable to "vote" with their wallets. I believe declining overall record sales have less to do with piracy and more to do with simple analysis paralysis by a consumer that doesn't feel able to declare allegiance given so many options.

So do you invited experts feel my analysis is wholly or partially right or wrong, and to the extent correct, what can or should be done about it? Can collaborative filtration of the consumers, something tried since the days of firefly.com and continuing but yet to really take off, be improved or marketed enough to narrow the field? Is a narrower, filtered field actually better for all of us, and the free-for-all actually a dystopia? Is this a transition period, with a new order of "priesthood" about to emerge? And who or what would they be?
Old 17th November 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
superjc's Avatar
 

I think you've nailed it on the head, although I don't know the answers to your questions. Look at the struggles of R&B musicians for example, the musical basis developed and grown over the decades culminating in bands that people never stop loving like Earth Wind and Fire, Shalamar, Luther Vandross, etc. Now look at the utter crap that passes itself off as "R & B" T-Pain, Akon, etc. It's a complete joke. What do you think Quincy Jones thinks when he looks at the Billboard charts..... I can guess=

" I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"

I know I do.
Old 17th November 2007
  #3
Peter Wells, SVP Operations, Customer Advocate - Tunecore
 
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I'd say in part, Peeder. Your question ties back into the "tastemaker" power of a well-funded media blitz. There will always be those who, through connections, money, power, will try and convince you everything else is "noise" and what they're selling is "signal."

The more they do that, the bigger a shadow they cast, the more room for "alternatives." So to my mind it's a problem of ebb and flow, mainstream to alternatives and back. And the music business is very, very experienced at surviving those riptides.

--Peter
peter@tunecore.com
Old 18th November 2007
  #4
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

Being a "filter" is now the new way to ascend to power in the digital age. Witness the meteoric rise of Pitchforkmedia.com.

In a world of absolute saturation of content, the people who get paid are not the content providers but the content filterers, the tastemakers. This is why Pitchfork makes a zillion bucks.

If you want to rule the music business of the next decade, start a really popular critical blog that generates a lot of attention by calling it right more than you call it wrong. Then people look to you for your opinion... the public seeks out your perspective as a way to filter out the crap that constantly coming at them.

The tastemaker is the king of tomorrow. If you can consistently tell good from bad, people will pay you money. A lot of it.

- c
Old 26th November 2007
  #5
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I think MTV is still the big filter world wide. That's where I get my info of whats out there, and think the majority of people still do it that way.. most of us are to lazy, at least I am. I'm a musician, have a myspace account but find it so boring... by the way I heard theres some kind of software that let's you add millions of myspace users in one time ? Is it true.. ? i need that heh
Old 26th November 2007
  #6
Gear Head
 

The filtering will happen in time - it happens naturally.

If you look at Facebook - one of the first things people did with it was form groups that seperated them from the other people. The wired world doesn't break down the social groupings that exist outside - lets face it a hip-hop kid is hardly going to take advice on music from a goth.

Different scenes flock to their own portals (for instance this one Drum & Bass Arena) where people know the music better and that kind of filtering occurs.
Old 26th November 2007
  #7
Founder CD Baby
 
Derek Sivers's Avatar
 

Smile a few people on earth who still watch MTV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose Mrochek View Post
I think MTV is still the big filter world wide. That's where I get my info of whats out there
Whoa. Weird. Dude.

I heard there were a few people on earth who still watch MTV, but I didn't think I'd meet one here.

MTV is the enemy of music.
Old 26th November 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Demand hasn't even begun to be tapped. Most people I know barely follow popular music. Just like most people I know aren't that excited about movies. (Though they love both--they just can't find anything they relate to.)

The music industry is like McDonalds--it has the youth appetite very well sated but does little or nothing (or worse) for mature tastes.

At .99 a song it can't develop or support niche artists with smaller, more mature, or more artistic viewpoints. Just like McD's can't offer grain-raised filet mignon. (Although it could certainly try to make some sort of factory produced Filet Mcgnon--which I think the music industry does as well.)

Mass content (music, films, books, tv) are the ONLY markets on earth that have fixed prices--and are the only markets on earth where consumer frustration is a fact of life.

Where else do you have the most affluent consumers going without while those with the least money are drowning in options?

On the flip side, where else do you have producers (artists in this case) complaining that they have to dumb everything down and play it safe to make money? In every other segment of the economy it's the smartest and risk-friendly who make the most money--not the dumbest and risk-adverse.

These are all functions of a fixed pricing—a system which is failing. As this system fails and the industry is forced to adapt floating prices, they will all disappear.

The solution is a lot easier than we think.

Charge more for better music. Less for worse music.
Old 26th November 2007
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Jose Mrochek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Sivers View Post
Whoa. Weird. Dude.

I heard there were a few people on earth who still watch MTV, but I didn't think I'd meet one here.

MTV is the enemy of music.
Ummm.. to me it's not, my favorite music was covered on MTV or VH1 at some point. I'm not a fan of what's out there right now, (i do like pimp my ride though hahaha) and I have a general feeling that all the people I know are that way, they are either stuck in the 60's, 70's.. 80's etc.. or get a feeling of what's out there through the mainstream while they are passing the channels.. I live in Bolivia, South America by the way.. but when I lived in the US i had the same perspective from my friends.

If the internet is the new way, or way of the future that can only mean good things to me because i'm obviously not on MTV. So I would really like to believe that.
Old 26th November 2007
  #10
Founder CD Baby
 
Derek Sivers's Avatar
 

Maybe in Bolivia, MTV plays music.

In the US, they do not.

I remember going to Sweden a few years ago, and being amazed that MTV there actually plays music videos. They haven't done that here in years.
Old 26th November 2007
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
naked-puritan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Sivers View Post
Whoa. Weird. Dude.

I heard there were a few people on earth who still watch MTV, but I didn't think I'd meet one here.

MTV is the enemy of music.
They should change their name. They're barely a music channel anymore.
Old 26th November 2007
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Jose Mrochek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Sivers View Post
Maybe in Bolivia, MTV plays music.

In the US, they do not.

I remember going to Sweden a few years ago, and being amazed that MTV there actually plays music videos. They haven't done that here in years.
Yes totally different, much better down here. Anyway, don't want to take up more of your time with this.. thanks for being here, and I hope to do business with you guys sometime in the future. Thanks!
Old 26th November 2007
  #13
Peter Wells, SVP Operations, Customer Advocate - Tunecore
 
PeterTuneCore's Avatar
 

No matter how calcified Mtv gets, I still cheer for it. It's the original medium-bender: right up there with Rolling Stone. RS said, "We can write about music!" Mtv said, "We can do TV about music." Neither were first, there's plenty to say neither is best, but the three letters "M" "t" "v" always warm my heart.

--Peter
peter@tunecore.com
Old 27th November 2007
  #14
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wallace's Avatar
 

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