There's a pivotal scene in University of Death where the muso-technology geek at the heart of the story struggles to persuade the venal record industry boss to buy-in to a groundbreaking new scheme that will change the industry forever. To accomplish this, the geek plays the boss a new composition, which has been engineered to embody the latter's favourite musical tropes — to push his buttons, if you will.
Late last week, Warner Music Group fired nearly 40 people at Rhino Records, signaling it has all but given up on producing CDs. The flacks blathered and the stock analysts swooned, yet nobody mentioned that the company pretty much ceased to exist.
Since MIDEM, I have been reflecting a lot on the future of the music industry. As I wrote below, as an outsider, I was discouraged by what seemed to be backwards thinking regarding what I see as the great opportunities of the era of the networked audience.
Many of you have seen my presentation "business models matter", which shows how the music industry has been slow to react to a changing industry landscape.
Here a video explanation by Mike Masnick from Techdirt of how an artist, Trent Raznor, is re-inventing business models for the music industry. Most interestingly: he shows how FREE can be the basis for earning substantial revenues...
I'm just back from giving a keynote at a conference in the Netherlands and Ireland. The first one was about new business models in the media industry and the second one was Ireland's big innovation conference that takes place every two years.