Here are five questions we have for the music industry this year:
1. Will consumers take to Sonos?
A careful marketing campaign where promotional copies of the state of the art audio hardware were sent to key influencer’s means people are raving about Sonos. Sonos is music hardware that streams your digital music with HiFi sound and has no sound loss over wireless. It reminds us of the buzz surrounding Spotify when it first appeared in Europe. Bob Lefsetz talked about wirelessly connecting his system, then we heard Howard Stern’s producer Gary Dell’Abate eschewing it’s merits. With the economy back on the upswing and people buying homes again, upwardly mobile music fans now have the money to bring their homes into the musical 21st century. Will Sonos catch on or will an old stalwart like a Bose or Sony or Apple TV-like system beat them for the win?
2. Will the synchronicity of the internet and your car catch on?
Yes, we know that you can hook your smartphone up to your radio but we are talking about seamless integration here folks. Ford was on to something with Sync, but it’s reviews are mixed and overall user-friendliness is questionable. When you can drive your car and dial up your favorite Pandora stations or Spotify list, does that mean terrestrial radio is shaking in its boots? Probably not, but with distracted driving at an all time high, and laws coming into place, successful integration is desirable. We’ll see if it catches on more in 2013.
3. Will Apple step into the streaming game?
It is frequently mentioned in business that the first person to the game is not always the victor. Many have noticed the trends that digital paid downloads are on the downtrend while streaming is on the up and up. There is no doubt that Apple will step into the streaming game but could it be this year? Right now we’ve got Spotify and Google Play — has your life changed as much as ours by syncing a Spotify starred playlist to an iPad so you can listen to two gigs of music on an airplane? So will Apple take the Spotify format and enter the streaming world? Only time will tell…
4. Will YouTube reign supreme?
YouTube continues to be the number one destination for people to listen to music. Just over 5 years ago, what if we told you people would listen to music more on an online video site called YouTube than on radio, MTV and CDs combined? It’s incredible — now we have Psy and his one billion plus video views. When Spotify does not have a live version we switch to YouTube and vise versa. It certainly SEEMS like YouTube is not going anywhere for a while.
5. Are DJs the new rock star?
We have all seen the numbers. Will EDM continue to rule the live market? It’s Electronic HUGE for live music sales, especially in 2012. The bigger players in the concert industry like Live Nation have even taken notice. But some fans are questioning…check out this article, Is America killing EDM?
There you have it music fans! Do you want these questions answered as well? Or are there some we missed? Write your predictions in the comments.
You’ve been to the best music festivals, seen every up-and-coming band the world has to offer but still haven’t been to Coachella (this weekend, April 14-16). Odds are there’s a couple reasons why you haven’t braved the infamous grass field. Maybe it’s the price tag? One ticket can run you upwards of 600 dollars…and that’s only if you get the opportunity to purchase one. This past year, Coachella sold out in record time. Maybe it’s the drive then? Heading out to Palm Springs for the weekend isn’t the most terrible thing in the world…so stop making excuses. Hop on Craigslist, pawn that dusty guitar you haven’t played in a year and get yourself a ticket to the music festival known only as Coachella. Tip: Read today’s LA Times article about “non-musical changes to expect this weekend.”
This is the ultimate definition of the Field of Dreams catch phrase, “If you build it, they will come”. In the middle of Palm Desert music greats like Jay-Z, The Killers, Gorillaz, Cold War Kids, The Decemberists can be seen rocking to thousands under the stars. But the brilliant piece to this event is the audience. To look over the mountains and see a never-ending trail of headlights for a full 3 days…fans, friends, label executives all making the trek together– meeting in the middle of an empty field…each feeling like they are as much a part of the event as the headliner. Beautiful.
Invested interest in any venture is the most powerful thing you could ask for. After the price tag, drive, hotel cost or braving the campground…the Coachella crowd is invested. Not just monetarily, but also with something more. They come prepared
to listen and be involved. To participate fully. To enjoy the fruits of their labor- not to be confused with entitlement. Not to mention this is the nicest bunch of random people you will ever come across. So pack your bags, pick up some snacks for the roadtrip and make the pilgrimage with the rest of us. See you there.
There’s much debate between CEOs and record label reps, musicians and teenagers alike; Should music be free?
Not long ago at brunch with a Senior A&R rep from a label that’s ruling the airwaves (just take an educated guess as to which one), we got into a post-mimosas political debate about the topic. My opinions were quickly hushed out before being painted a very plain picture by the rep:
You’re standing in-front of two grocery stores. Both have the same groceries, both are the exact same store, except one gives its shelves away for free. Now, knowing that both are legitimate stores and that you won’t be arrested for taking the free groceries, or even looked down upon…which would you walk into?
Interesting question right? It becomes quite the moral dilemma. Or does it?
Music, plain and simple, needs to have a clearly defined role. It can no longer be considered just “music”. It has become a marketing tool…effectively a product used to gather greater awareness by the public. Giving away music for free can’t be looked as a loss of income anymore but rather an “indirect route from product to revenue“ or “loss-leading“. This is the process of leading in a consumer with a free product, then projecting that they will unknowingly spend a larger amount because of it. The Internet, although seemingly destroying the music industry, has only forced artists and product managers to think outside the box…Use free music downloads as a way to build your email list. Use that list to offer promo codes to your merch store. Sell more merch. This is a not-so-hard to figure out formula that can be applied to literally thousands of variations.
Look, if this topic was up for argument, the opposing side would have brought back Tower Records, or maybe the Virgin Megastores wouldn’t be closed in the States. It’s not something we have to accept, but it is something we can use to our absolute advantage. This is a OUR huge opportunity to provide the artist and consumer with a more direct connection then ever possible before. Build a street team, awareness, merch sales, tour support….and eventually the popularity provided by free downloads will lead you to a record deal (or you’re that much closer to opening your own label). What, sound weird? You’re probably right, there’s noooo way anyone would get a record deal these days from just posting videos online…