HBO’s eternal life vs music industry death

You have to love how HBO reaches out to market their shows. It’s never about trying to force proprietary systems and platforms to replicate the functions of pre-existing functions as it seems to be in the Uk. They recognise that their audience is on YouTube and out in the blogosphere and that trying to deliver content to them in what are, in effect, “walled gardens” is only going to hinder the spread of their message. Plus they do it with such elegance and such great design.

The latest offering surrounds a show called TruBlood from the creator of Six Feet Under, Alan Ball. It’s embedding itself into your life with blogs, YouTube channel, online cartoons, newsletters…and if you really want to you can sign up for a vampire dating site, unfortunately for me I am married…

In a market that is time poor – or more accurately perceives itself to be time poor – the more connection mechanisms the better. Just because you will have the chance to actually reacch the people you are worried about instead of missing them when they leave the tele in the ad break to get a soda. Basically, they get it. the entertainment model has changed and your content becomes your marketing, its simple and effective.

By contrast the music industry seems to be having severe problems getting their heads around the changes that the net has brought to music purchase and enjoyment. This is partly because they have a financial model that doens’t slot quite as easily into the new world of free content and content sharing.

I went to a conference held by musictank on Thursday called Meet the Millenials, the result of work by Terry McBride on how that generation consume media and music. His ideas tie directly into the principle that things which can be copied in the digital environment have no value whereas things that cannot be are highly valuable.

Music files = easily copiable hence of low financial value
People = currently uncopiable hence of high financial value

The music industry model is built not around the artist as a brand/commodity, but around the music they produce but for millenials, although they are willing to pay to enable an artist to continue making music there is a tipping point of value beyond which they won’t pay.

Several users got really annoyed and started asking the millenials how they expected artists to survive and continue making music – ignoring the gigging, merchandising, person touching model that was being discussed. The guys being interviewed were a bit stumped, they just don’t perceive it as value to pay for tracks, unless they really want to possess and own them on cd or have loyalty to the artist.

This is a more asian model of creativity – copying of all kinds is not a big deal.

I was stunned to hear this anger from the music professionals, they obviously just do not get it. There is no point being angry, this is just how things are and it springs from passion. I made mix tapes and then got deeply into Limewire because I love music. That’s a powerful thing. And love creates loyalty.  Industry professionals just have to get to grips with the new environment, see this passion for what it is and learn to appreciate the fanaticism that we wish we could create around the brands we all work with to monetise the asset they do have access to, the brand of the artist themselves.


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