Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Luke, use the power of the free, the music industry's a-changing!
Everything that is digital can be copied and distributed online quite easily, we all know that. I went to SIME-conference last week and heard a few interesting presentations on the subject. I’m not gonna go too deeply into the stuff that the PirateBay guys had to say (yeah, they want it all for free and it’s fun doing that , that’s pretty much their political agenda), but I’d like to share some thoughts of Joi Ito.
Joi Ito is the CEO of Creative Commons and his point was simply that in the digital world copyright issues should be thought over. He was not only speaking pro free content but he had some good points on how different levels of copyrights could actually serve in marketing the artist/producer. This just calls for profound adjustments on the business model of the current music industry.
He had a good example of the Brazilian Tecnobrega-movement. The whole Technobrega-phenomenon is based on the fact that artists don’t get anything for their normal CD’s. The CD’s are sold as pirates or they are even given away for free. The artists are paid through concerts, sound system nights, t-shirts, special merchandise and such. Ito pointed out that in the Brazilian market it would be impossible to make a living selling CD’s ’cos no one would buy them from uknown artistst. And these unkonwn artists don’t get a single gig unless people know their material. By distributing cheap/free CD’s the artists gain more attention and are booked to better gigs. And once they get to be more famous, some people actually buy their special versions of their CD’s for really high prices, wanna wear t’shirts with the artists logos…
This is actually Long Tail Theory & Freeconomy mixed in real life: you give away free material to market your talent and then you make money selling specialized niche products for a good price. The old model of marketing and trying to sell to masses doesn’t work there. Many analysts think this is the way how music business is developing – the business model is slowly changing and the biggest income comes out of touring & merchandise.
The reason why I'm a fan of mr. Ito, is that he actually thinks of the bigger picture, the business side of copyrights. I mean there should be a business side if some people (artists + the people working for/with the artist) want to focus full time on making music and making a living out of it.