My colleague at Heavybag Media, Jackie Peters has a post about the great opportunities record labels have in using social media as a marketing strategy. The challenges they are facing: they must switch from selling music in physical packages to selling musical experiences, allow fans to interact with the music in meaningful ways, and allow music to be an experience to share with friends. The convergence of downladable, infinitely available music along with the ability to learn about new music via word of mouth/social media in the form of music blogs, podcasts, recommendation (both algorithms and friend) is the perfect fit.
But for now, the transition is rough for music industry veterans. Almost every week for the past two years the music industry manages to make one puzzling move after another, while independent artists are free to make decisions who’s only stockholders are themselves along with their artistic and commercial aspirations. Increasingly, independent artists commercial strategy is not in selling CDs, but in the more scarce goods such as early access to new releases, performances, and limited edition vinyl or DVDs, reliable discovery and immediate access to files on iTune or Amazon MP3 . They now they need to sell their fans something they cannot get for free.
People love to talk about the music they love. Allowing them to share it easily and legally, and talk about it online, and put it in new contexts is the new path to commercial success.
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