360 Degree Music

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In the constantly changing and, these days ever fledgling, world of the music business, revolutionary concepts and business models will be required to reverse the course. 

I’m not certain yet if it qualifies as radical, but I was introduced today to a concept and term I liked a lot called 360 degree music.  The premise is simple: In today’s online world, most consumers attach no direct value to the music itself anymore.  The music itself is becoming free  However, the larger world of music still has great appeal and is being experienced on more platforms, in more ways, than ever before.  In the 360 degree spirit, licensed music effectively serves as a marketing tool to attract consumers to that which is still valued, namely concerts, merchandise and portable devices.  I was once told by a senior executive at a Hollywood studio that the self-aware media person sees themself as a marketer above all else.  The idea of 360 degree music is clearly a marketing play.    

Again, while this may not be a revolutionary answer on it’s face to the music business challenges, it’s the right way of thinking about the future.  And, at a minimum, I definitely like the 360 degree play more than the proposed notion of, oh say, a music tax.  If this theme begins to pick up some steam, one player out in front appears to be Live Nation, who made some interesting noise in 2007 when they signed their record deal with Madonna and paid $80M for a music merchandising firm. 

2007 was a bad year for the music industry and, as a fan on many levels, here’s hoping it was the bottom of the slide.  If 2008 is the year the comeback begins, the focus should be on emphasizing the experiential components of the industry rather than scraping for pennies on per download license fees or music taxes. 

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2 Comments

Filed under Business, Music

2 responses to “360 Degree Music

  1. I like the 360 degree model especially because it is empowering the artist (or artist/manager combo). Since today’s consumers are clever bastards who will get their hands into your creative assets one way or the other, this situation challenges the artists to reach out to the fans on a more personal level as well as discover new ways to thrill the audiences. Good (albeit already a bit worn-out) example: Radiohead.

    So 2008 can be another great year or another flop, depending on the viewpoint. A great year to the part of the industry embracing the new paradigm of distribution, and another nightmare to the old, label focused part.

  2. Paula, thanks for the comments. I agree with them on all levels and hope the management of the music labels can get their arms around how to effectively pursue this model. Or, if they don’t, to your point, the artist’s will have more of an opportunity to do it themselves.

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