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Our venerable MidemNet Blog contributors – plus MIDEM Visionary Chair Committee member Terry McBride – also gave exclusive posts to the Preview, MIDEM’s official pre-show magazine, which you’ll find in full online here.

Just provide your contact details (the system will give you a cookie, so you don’t have to do it again…)
& then head straight to page 62! Below, as a taster, is Ted Cohen‘s answer to the question…


…Recorded music sales doomed to die a slow and painful death. Do you agree? If so, what is the industry’s one biggest hope for the future?

The future of recorded music is not music as a product but is solely rooted in music as a service. Whether the consumer pays directly or the compensation comes from an ad-supported model, this reality is undeniable. In a connected world, access trumps ownership.

Even though it has not performed as well as some have hoped, Rhapsody has admirably demonstrated the potential. With an all-you-can-eat model surrounded by rich curation tools, they have created a model that music fans will pay for. Simple access to millions of songs is not enough, it needs to be augmented with discovery and recommendation tools that get me to the music that I didn’t know I was looking for, that’s the “a-ha” moment, the experience that demonstrates the real power of access.

I have maybe two hours a day that I can dedicate to expanding my musical horizons. I don’t have the time or patience to navigate through the millions of possibilities, I’ll pay for a service that guides me to the two dozen new songs I absolutely have to hear. Pandora, EchoNest, Syntonetic, these services all recognize the value of my time & they allow me to discover that new musical breath of fresh air.

To date, the main consumer resistance has been that nagging feeling that they were paying for something that they didn’t own. Next-generation services such as Omnifone’s MusicStation address that concern by letting subscribers retain a portion of the music that they have enjoyed through their “Keep Your Favourites” feature; Nokia is doing something similar with “Comes With Music.” This is a great fan reward program that can significantly blunt consumer opposition.

Recorded music as a product is dead, it’s now time, as Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos so often extols, to super-serve the fan. Anything less will court failure.


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About Author

James Martin

James Martin is Head of Social Media for Midem organisers Reed MIDEM. This includes defining and rolling out Midem's social media strategy, editing midemblog, influencer outreach, developing Midem's fanbase of 75,000+ music professionals and more.

1 Comment

  1. What is the future of music? Depends on what the fans want, albeit, for free or for a fee.
    My personal opinion is the future of music lies within giving customer/fans “added value”. I very seldom buy music any more, because I can listen to any genre of music for free. When I do buy music, 99% of the time it’s from great indie artist that do not have a deal of any kind. They sing, write, and perform music that connects with me. You only have to surf My Space or You Tube to hear & see a lot of wonderful new artist, artist we would never have seen or heard of 5-10 years ago. There is so many wonderful artist in the world; so many artist that are as good or better than top acts on major labels, there isn’t a need to buy any music. I have found many of these artist will email you a couple of MP3 at no charge if only you will ask.
    With the proliferation of the internet, music has truly become a commodity, a commodity that is seeking it’s own niche market & following for each artist/band. The market; the fans, demands “added value”, especially if they are to pay for your music. Would you buy a car without any options? Most likely you would not….you want specific options, therefore, you will pay for “added value”. What “added value; what options are you, the artist, going to give me that make connections; that create moments in my life?
    Every artists’ marketing must determine what it is their fans/following want in terms of added value & do their best to delivery it to them.
    By music becoming a commodity, artist that do well, will be the ones that give their fans/following what they want through “adding value” to their brand. I believe successful artist will be the once that learn how to become ‘creative’ with their music, thereby creating “added value” / “options” for their following/fans/tribe/community.
    —End

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