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From Bob Lefsetz to Glenn Peoples at Billboard and from Music Ally to Digital Music News and my own Hypebot, there are a plethora of music business commentators and analysts, each with our own perspective on the seismic changes effecting industry. There are also entrepreneurs like Ian Rogers, Terry McBride, Tom Silverman, Jeff Price and Jim Griffin who share their experience and ideas at conventions and in blog posts. There are even consultants like Ted Cohen and Ralph Simon who tie the pieces together for companies trying to make sense of it all. Each has much to offer and as an eternal student of the music business, I listen to what they share carefully.

But lately, I’ve found much of my inspiration coming from outside of the music industry. No offense to my colleagues, but we are all lucky that some of the brightest and boldest thinkers in fields from marketing to socio-economics and management to technology are, not surprisingly, also fans who often find inspiration in music and the music industry that informs and influences their work.

A partial list of my recent teachers from outside the music industry include:


But lately, I’ve found much of my inspiration coming from outside of the music industry. No offense to my colleagues, but we are all lucky that some of the brightest and boldest thinkers in fields from marketing to socio-economics and management to technology are, not surprisingly, also fans who often find inspiration in music and the music industry that informs and influences their work.

A partial list of my recent teachers from outside the music industry include: Umair Haque – When you read what he wrote way back in 2004 about the music industry and how to fix it, you’ll think he owns a crystal ball. You ‘ll find his latest thoughts on business and the edge economy on his Harvard Business blog. Richard Florida – His classic The Rise of the Creative Class transformed modern socio-economics. But Florida played also played in a band in high school and his love of music and the music industry often comes through in references from Jack White to Muscle Shoals. Florida recently dubbed music an early indicator of change or “fruit Fly industry” and launched a project Music & The Entertainment Economy because he believes that the entertainment industry provides insight into what make the idea-driven creative economy tick. Seth Godin – This marketing guru loves music so much that he once started a record label. Fortunately for us, he’s moved back into all things marketing which he blogs, speaks and writes about in books like his latest, Tribes And if you’re not already, start trying right now to find your Purple Cow. Kevin Kelly He usually writes about tech, but two of his essays in particular reshaped how I and many others in the music industry think about a paid of core issues: the fans and free. 1000 True Fans and Better Than Free are must reads. Chris Anderson Speaking of free, Wired Editor Chris Anderson literally wrote the book on it. Free: The Future of a Radical Price will be released July 7th. I’ve been lucky enough to read an advance copy and it’s filled with music industry examples that will effect how we think about our business as much or more than his The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More did. Om Malik – His GigaOM blog shapes the conversation for many in the tech sector. When he turns his attention to the music industry with skewering posts like YouTube, Music Labels: Stop Crying Over Spilt Milk, Why Apple’s iTunes Concessions Are a Double-Edged Sword and Why MySpace Music Is Likely to Fail, you don’t have to agreee, but you better pay attention becuase the rest of the business community already is. Mike Masnick – Few are more critical of the music industry than tech pundit Mike Masnick is almost daily on Techdirt. But if you saw his case study on the marketing of Nine Inch Nails at MidemNet ’09, you also know that he comes from a place of deep knowledge of the industry and an even deeper love of the music it’s supposed to be nurturing.

Some of the other non-music industry thinkers that provided inspiration in recent months include: Lawrence Lessig, who has almost forced us all to think about copyrights in entirely new ways; behaviorist Malcolm Gladwell, the author of The Tipping Point. Blink and The Outliers; and marketers Chris Brogan and Mitch Joel. I could go on.

Who is changing the way you think about the music industry?

Who provides your inspiration?


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1 Comment

  1. The Heath Brothers “Made To Stick” was quite the eye opener. The Black Swan by Taleb.
    My students in Music Marketing and Indie Labels watch and read Masnick, Haque, Rogers, Leonhard, McBride, Godin, Gladwell and quite a few others – oh yeah, and hypebot, of course!

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