In my previous installment, I outlined what I thought was wrong with the music industry today, namely the complete overreaction and panic induced by an unforeseen loss of control over the distribution of their product.
They've controlled the entire chain of music recording for decades and to be scooped by a technology they had not developed, licensed or controlled in some way really smarted them. I also thought the copyright battles are a meaningless side avenue, brought about by an industry trying to regain control over their product and to recoup revenue from distribution, their largest source of profit.
Anyone who has read the news lately knows what's wrong with the record industry today, but now I'd like to toss out a few ideas about how to make it right. The most important thing the industry can do now is quite simple: Get Over It. Yes, hundreds of thousands of people have downloaded music and swapped terabytes of files. Going after the file trading services is not going to work, because people want to download and trade files.
In case you haven't noticed, these same people downloading and trading songs are your consumers and you've managed to royally pissed them off with your antics. Why not do what a business is supposed to do and meet not only your customer's needs, but also their wants? Engage the market and offer a competing product that is superior to the ubiquitous MP3.
The most important thing you need to do is recognize that the CD, as a music delivery platform, is obsolete. It's dead, kaput, no more. It's had a great run, but time marches on and it's time to put it out to pasture. It is now the Age of Digital Music and your task is to figure out how to wrangle this beast and make it your own.
First, look at your target market. Those people, aged 13-25, have grown up with computers and have incorporated the beige boxes into every facet of their life. They also like to listen to music, specifically new and popular music. It's not surprising then that the two looming giants, Computers and Music, have been effortlessly mated together. It's easier for them to download songs they like and listen to them on their computers via an MP3 program or portable player than to go to the store and pay an obscene amount of money for a single CD that may have only one song they like.