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07|05|2007 04:34 pm EDT

Newspapers Ahead Of The Game when it comes to Music Distribution?

by Richard Lau in Categories: Editorial, Miscellaneous

While in their never ending search for lost revenues, Universal Music is reconsidering their iTunes distribution deal and Fergie takes product placement to a new level, the old guard of the media industry is looking for new ways to retain readership. And as Richard Lau discovered, they might just have stumbled across the new method for music distribution. /Frank

There’s been quite a bit of talk lately about how Newspapers are dinosaurs and just don’t get it. Well, it seems that the UK tabloid newspapers do get the music industry better than the music industry retailers.

Prince: Purple Rain Movie PosterThe newspapers in the UK will often give away a DVD or CD with their Sunday edition. And the latest announcement from the Mail has caused a small uproar in London. The announcement came out that none other than the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince would be releasing a 10-track CD for free in an upcoming edition of the Mail.

The Mail knows that they are taking this to the next level. Personally I’ve been saying for a few years that music will be free. I’ve envisioned that instead of collecting Miles on your credit card spending, you’ll be getting a music download credit for every dollar or two you spend. Sony and Pepsi have already given away song credits with the purchase of a product, but I forsee a more basic free-ness to it. Where you, as the consumer, are receiving all of your songs without opening your wallet for them. It could be that you receive access to an unlimited music library along with your monthly subscription to your phone service, ISP service, or the like. And of course, you’ll go online to redeem your free music credit.

I love this quote from one dinosaur to another:

“They are living in the old days and haven’t developed their businesses sufficiently. We can enhance their business. They are being incredibly insular and need to move their business on,” he said.

The fact that music downloading on the internet is awash with ‘copy-protection’ concerns is a speedbump. Music is sold without copy-protection on all CDs, and as soon as I peel off the plastic wrap and slide it into my pc, iTunes kindly asks “Would you like to rip this album into mp3s on your pc?” You betcha! So now I have a dozen or so mp3s with no copy-protection on them. What’s the difference? I’d buy more songs online if I didn’t have to worry about which devices the online service would allow me to use the songs on.

So here we have a newspaper of all people shark-jumping. They will become the distribution for free music. Buy a paper, get tier-1 music from an A-List performer with no copy-protection. Why stop on Sundays? Why not a CD every day?

Why stop on a single CD everyday? How about unlimited music online with your newspaper subscription?

Artists used to get rich selling songs. The future of music is artists earning a living from live performances. The digital bits we call mp3s is simply a free ad for the concert tickets. Prince is due to play 21 concert dates in London later this year and has his sights set on ongoing performances in Las Vegas indefinitely.

So run out and grab domains around Free Music. It’s the future, and the future is here.

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4 Comments

David

July 5, 2007 @ 9:37 pm EDT

OK, trying for the second time to post. This article is very wrong to say the future of music distribution in newspapers is the way to go. It’s commonly reported that the inclusion of CDs in newspapers in Britain is a loss leader and cannot, and will not, go on for much longer. Editors comment there are sales bumps for the day of inclusion, and then sales retreat to normal levels.

So it’s totally wrong to say newspapers “will become the distribution for free music.”

David: Sorry you were having trouble commenting the first time – this is the only comment that showed up in our queue.

Judging from your comment, I am not sure if you have read the full article. As I understand it, Richard is suggesting that free download and free music samples will help drive concert sales up, and that concert sales might be the main way for artists to make money in the future. There’s nothing wrong with using a loss leader to sell something else elsewhere.

I personally have always thought that the music industry has lost the connection to the market. Instead of promoting/partnering with single song micro-purchase options right from the beginning and instead of encouraging voluntary payments from the “downloaders” to the artists, they have decided to dig their own grave by fighting any change to their business. And in turn, they seem to have missed the major change in the music industry: It should no longer be the labels that control the artists, but the artists that control the labels. While the majority of money and control is still with the labels today, in the future they will probably be more of a marketing agency working on behalf of the artists. No wonder the music industry is scared of change, as this will also shift the distribution of profits.

/FrankM

Richard

July 6, 2007 @ 1:53 am EDT

Hi David,

Thx for your comment, but I think you took the line incorrectly when I wrote:

“So here we have a newspaper of all people shark-jumping. They will become the distribution for free music.”

I meant it as the newspaper is shark-jumping by distributiong free music, not as “They will become THE distribution for free music.”

Perhaps it would have been better written as:
“So here we have a newspaper of all people shark-jumping by distributing free music.” or “They are being a distribution channel for free music.”

Thx

Richard

Jorge

July 6, 2007 @ 4:17 am EDT

I stumbled upon domainnamenews.com somehow, and was excited to find another rss feed to add to my collection. However, I can’t see how this post has anything to do with domain names. I understand it was filed in the misc. folder, but still, it would help if you could summarize why whatever you are talking about is important to domainers at the top of future articles.

Great domain name, btw!

-Jorge

Jorge, thanks for your comments. I enjoy regfee.info as well.

I can see that this article could be considered borderline. Often the newspaper industry is called a dinosaur that fails to see the signs of the times, especially when it comes to internet publishing. So we considered this article of interest and after all there’s a call to register/buy names related to “free music” ;-)

/Frank M

Frank Michlick

July 20, 2007 @ 4:45 pm EDT

R.E.M. is lucky enough to be able to follow the Band 2.0 concept with their Rehearsal’s in Dublin:
http://remdublin.com/

Basically they opened up their tour rehearsal to the public and encouraged them to take pictures, blog, pod- and videocast. Even Bittorrent is used to make some of the data available for download.

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