There is no secret that there is a change happening in the music industry. It’s not just the record industry but with the live music industry as well, which the latter made a wise decision to separate itself from the former in order to save its own ass. At least live music has a future.
The change, as we all know, happened in the late 90’s and especially with the launch of Napster in 1999. That’s old news. What’s been happening since then?
A lot of things have been happening. With the invention of mp3 and Napster’s brilliant person to person sharing concept, music suddenly became a free, and more importantly, social entity.
The old model is the record industry model. The new model is the social model.
The old model is based on the absurd premise that record execs have “the golden ear.” They know what people want to hear. They can “sense” a hit. I’m not saying that this is a ridiculous notion because certainly an educated music business professional can tell when something has a certain sound that is marketable. The real problem with this premise is that they are relying on that sense in order to sell records. But they still rely on people liking it in the long run. So why not just start there?
Nextbigsound.com is a company that exemplifies these changes. It is a tech start-up in NYC that tracks social media analytics. This data can tell artists where to tour, agents what artists to pick up, and talent buyers who to book.
Nextbigsound.com has been related to the concept in the book and movie “Moneyball.” In the movie they use the analytics of baseball players’ statistics to determine what players to sign to win a championship. The essential quality was, do they get on base?
There are obvious correlations between the two. But, using this model for baseball makes baseball boring and predictable.
It does not do that for music, however. It doesn’t make music predictable like moneyball did for baseball. Really what it is doing is democratizing music. It allows everyone a free and equal vote. Every time you listen to a song by an artist or like their page or share something, those numbers are taken into account.
We, as a society in general, love music. It isn’t going away. Old industry standards are vanishing. For the live music industry what this means is that we must be listening to these votes and be paying attention to these numbers. Why wouldn’t we anyway? It is literally the fans telling us what they will buy tickets for.