Thursday, 10 October 2013

The game is about to change

Spotify is a game changer. Its a disruptive technology that has massive implications for the music industry and unless musicians realise that and change their approach, we are going to struggle in this new world. Spotify is also the best thing for 'real' musicians since the invention of the CD.

In the old days, people used to buy music before they had heard it. There was a buzz before an album came out. Reviewers often got it in advance and added or detracted from that buzz.

Then, the album hit the stores and thousands of people went out and bought it before they had even heard it.
How many products to you buy these days without knowing what they are going to be like?

Precisely none, you don't go to the supermarket and buy a carton of milk and get it home hoping its going to be a really great carton of milk only to open it and find that it wasn't as tasty as the last one you bought. Every carton of milk you buy is the same and you know what you are getting in advance.

The old industry model was great for the record labels because to be quite frank, they could sell complete shite music and make a bundle of money out of it. Then when everyone realised it was shite music, the label would move onto the "next big thing" and pedal that shite. This is how the "One hit wonder" was born.

Those days are gone.

In the future, people will not buy music, they will rent it and artists will get paid for the number of times that consumers play their tracks instead of buying it upfront.

Now consider your own CD collection. How many albums do you have that you played a few times and then relegated to a dusty CD rack never to be played again. But, I bet you have a few albums that are absolutey brilliant that you play again and again and never get tired of.

This is why the rise of Spotify is so good for the art of music.
The new model incentivises the creation of really great music instead of mediocre throw away crap.

Artists and Labels will have to start thinking long term instead of just aiming for a place on next months chart then dropping off and moving onto the next big thing.
A good quality song or album could continue to generate income on Spotify for decades while a crap throw away song might generate a few bucks for a week.

This is good news for good musicians and also good recording studios and producers who have all suffered under the iTunes model where it is possible to pedal sub standard music recorded in your own garage. Those days are about to be over and songs and albums that take months or even years to develop into masterpeices will rise once again.

The new target will become "Long Term Popularity" instead of "Chart Success".