Thursday, February 4, 2010

Entrepreneurship And The Future Of The Music Industry

As you can tell by the sparing nature of my posts, I have been true to my warning that I will be posting less frequently during my GMAT preparation. However, hopefully I am also staying true to my promise that I will continue to post valuable content whenever possible. I came across a great clip on the importance of entrepreneurship within the music industry. The speaker is Ken Lopez, Clinical Professor of Music Industry at the USC Thorton School of Music. Ken provides some great insights on what it will take for those in the industry to be successful, whether they be musicians, producers, record label execs, etc.

What I really like is that Ken doesn't try to cling to the past like many in the industry. Ken not only embraces the new realities of the industry, but he is focused on teaching his students to exploit those realities. I get the sense that Ken understands what many in my generation understand and what many others in the industry fail to put into practice. He understands that the music itself may not be the deliverable that makes money anymore. He doesn't say it in so many words but I interpret him as saying that the music is your way of branding yourself, or your band, or your label. The way to make money is through entrepreneurial new ways of delivering value to the fan.

I have had a few discussions with my geographically dislocated band mates about how we would go about making a Mask of Sanity reunion successful. Many of our discussions involve thinking of new ways to monetize things the fans find valuable. Although it is about the music, technology and social norms have made the fans less willing to pay for the value that music holds. We have discussed the possibilities of giving away all the music for free, asking for a recommended donation with half going to charity, letting the customer choose what to pay for the music, etc. The idea is to get your music to as many people as possible. Anything to build the brand that is the band. Once that b(r)and is established and that community of like-minded people is created the potential to make money on other products is much greater. The ideas can range from the standard DVD release to wackier ideas like fans contributing to the actual music, but the point remains that the traditional concept of selling the music is likely dead, especially for smaller acts.

Check out Ken Lopez's video HERE!

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