07|05|2007 04:34 pm EDT
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.
The 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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