How the music biz can live forever, get even richer, and be loved

A modest proposal


Things get complicated. You'll argue that the figure will rise if CD sales fall by significantly more than 20 per cent. But maybe they won't.

Do I hear any objections? I think I do.

HOW DO WE MAKE MONEY? - You have to start thinking really big. Media ownership laws, or regulations about horizontal integration will be vulnerable. The Big Five can each host a decent 24 by 7 radio station. But isn't that giving your back catalog away? It might be, but there's a lot missing from digital downloads. For a start:

- Downloads don't have a cover. 92 per cent of downloaders in a recent poll said they'd buy more CDs. So make the package fun again. Hire some writers. Remember that CDs will be able to play themselves. Or the book will be able to play a soundtrack. You're suddenly in the book soundtrack business! Record companies only think of packaging when Christmas is coming. Start thinking that every day is Christmas - and give people something nice. Music is the soundtrack to human activity from birth to death, so if you can't make money from it, then there shouldn't be a business. As the recording owners, you have to prove that isn't the case.

- Sell Insurance CDs break. Hard disks crash. Phones are stolen. Sell them access to a permanent collection. You're then in the services business. That's where all computer companies want to be. A permanent fixture of everyday life.

- Stopped diversifying yet? Starbucks is a public company. It's also a distribution channel. Buy or strike a deal with them before they realize how much they're really going to be worth. They're still cheap. You might have realized why the phone networks are hanging onto these expensive retail outlets in every town. You'll need some of your own. People object to an EMI store now because they want choice, and an EMI store is a cheesy proposition. That stops being the case the second flat fees are introduced. At that moment you become Tony Benn - a loveable brand, a source and archive of great music. Flat fees and ubiquitous wireless give people unlimited choice - but a good store saves people a lot of tramping around, because we're all lazy, and it lets you add a lot of value once they're indoors.

- Pools are us The LP gave the music business it's golden years. It's true lots of LPs have stinkers. But another way of looking at it is that I've spent $3 instead of $1, and I'm still not that unhappy. iTunes and Napster destroy this model because they let people pick and choose the tunes they like within 15 seconds of hearing them. My sympathies are with you guys, because you're actually right from every point of view I can imagine. The world works on bundles: a newspaper is a bundle of stories; a TV channel is a bundle of programs; a satellite channel is a bundle of TV channels; economically the world only works through bundles. The stuff you don't want pays for the stuff you do. There are sound actuarial reasons for this. It works. And artistically, we wouldn't have had The Beatles or Joy Division without the bundle.

Next page: Objections

Other stories you might like

  • Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise adds Wi-Fi 6E to 'premium' access points
    Company claims standard will improve performance in dense environments

    Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is the latest networking outfit to add Wi-Fi 6E capability to its hardware, opening up access to the less congested 6GHz spectrum for business users.

    The France-based company just revealed the OmniAccess Stellar 14xx series of wireless access points, which are set for availability from this September. Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise said its first Wi-Fi 6E device will be a high-end "premium" Access Point and will be followed by a mid-range product by the end of the year.

    Wi-Fi 6E is compatible with the Wi-Fi 6 standard, but adds the ability to use channels in the 6GHz portion of the spectrum, a feature that will be built into the upcoming Wi-Fi 7 standard from the start. This enables users to reduce network contention, or so the argument goes, as the 6GHz portion of the spectrum is less congested with other traffic than the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies used for Wi-Fi access.

    Continue reading
  • Will Lenovo ever think beyond hardware?
    Then again, why develop your own software à la HPE GreenLake when you can use someone else's?

    Analysis Lenovo fancies its TruScale anything-as-a-service (XaaS) platform as a more flexible competitor to HPE GreenLake or Dell Apex. Unlike its rivals, Lenovo doesn't believe it needs to mimic all aspects of the cloud to be successful.

    While subscription services are nothing new for Lenovo, the company only recently consolidated its offerings into a unified XaaS service called TruScale.

    On the surface TruScale ticks most of the XaaS boxes — cloud-like consumption model, subscription pricing — and it works just like you'd expect. Sign up for a certain amount of compute capacity and a short time later a rack full of pre-plumbed compute, storage, and network boxes are delivered to your place of choosing, whether that's a private datacenter, colo, or edge location.

    Continue reading
  • Intel is running rings around AMD and Arm at the edge
    What will it take to loosen the x86 giant's edge stranglehold?

    Analysis Supermicro launched a wave of edge appliances using Intel's newly refreshed Xeon-D processors last week. The launch itself was nothing to write home about, but a thought occurred: with all the hype surrounding the outer reaches of computing that we call the edge, you'd think there would be more competition from chipmakers in this arena.

    So where are all the AMD and Arm-based edge appliances?

    A glance through the catalogs of the major OEMs – Dell, HPE, Lenovo, Inspur, Supermicro – returned plenty of results for AMD servers, but few, if any, validated for edge deployments. In fact, Supermicro was the only one of the five vendors that even offered an AMD-based edge appliance – which used an ageing Epyc processor. Hardly a great showing from AMD. Meanwhile, just one appliance from Inspur used an Arm-based chip from Nvidia.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022