Addressing the disruption of media release cycles

A huge challenge for media companies today is the disruption of the release cycle created by the Web.

Records are routinely leaked before their official distribution date. The financial risk for film studios is even more devastating, as Eric Garland points out in an interview with CNET News. A carefully planned and staggered release schedule is not only a revenue driver, but can be a huge part of the emotional impact of music and film. As Garland points out, once a product hits the Web prior to it’s release date, it’s buzz is largely neutralized regardless of the quality of the work.

This raises several important questions:

Does the audience have too much power?

How does this change not only the business reality for content owners, but also the nature of the relationship between artists and fans?

What can companies do to adapt? The music business has tried for years to dig in and hold on to their old models. We have a pretty good idea how that is turning out.

As Larry Kramer says, fans demand greater access to content, have an increasing sense of entitlement, and more choices than ever, including the choice not to commit.

Artists are approaching this in different ways. Guitarist Bill Frisell recently changed record labels so that he could accelerate his release schedule. He is also selling a series of live board tapes (in MP3 and Hi-Res formats) that augment his official label releases. This is a great solution for busy jazz musicians who are continually involved in multiple projects and create amazing music every day. Their output is not easily channeled into the typical once or twice a year record release schedule. Companies like Aderra are recording shows and selling to fans in an interactive format at the venue.

These approaches work for some artists but not others.The scale of the film industry creates an entirely new dimension to this challenge.

What are your thoughts?

How can musicians, record labels, and film studios maintain control of their distribution strategies while strengthening their relationship with fans?

Join the discussion!

Danny Barnes Knows Why You’re Not Into Music Anymore…

I just had to repost this great essay by the wonderful musician Danny Barnes (who also happens to be an excellent writer)..

I encourage you to check out the rest of his blog. Each entry is a gem!

I Think I Know Why You Are Not Into Music Anymore


Bob Baker on the Realities of Making a Living as a Musician in 2011

Interesting post by Bob Baker today.

The tools and the channels have changed dramatically but artists have always been self-employed and struggled to balance the pursuit of their craft with the economic realities of survival. More of my thoughts to follow…

The Realities of Making a Living with Music in 2011 via music think tank

Is Apple Killing the Golden Subscription Goose?

I have been using Apple’s products since the 512K Macintosh. I have immense respect for the company’s user-focused product management and business models. However, once in awhile they go too far and do something stupid. Apple’s new subscription licensing policy could seriously impact subscription music services,  an important developing market. The same is true with the continued market leadership of the iPad. If media companies part ways with Apple on this, everyone loses. Maybe my next phone will be an Android after all…

Apple’s New Subscription Model Is EvilGizmodo

Rhapsody CEO Blasts Applehypebot

New Apple App Rules Could Kill Subscription Music hypebot

Rethinking Music Pts. 1 and 2 – Creativity, Commerce and Policy

Check out these two excellent podcasts in preparation for the upcoming Rethink Music conference coming up this April in Boston.

Radio Berkman #168 Rethinking Music Pt. 1
Radio Berkman #173 Rethinking Music Pt. 2 – The Portrait of the Self-Published Artist

RIP, Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart)

Captain Beefheart Dies at 69

Iconoclastic musician and painter Don Van Vliet died today after a lengthy battle with MS. Many of his recordings including Trout Mask Replica, Lick My Decals Off Baby, and Clear Spot where game-changers for me. A true original who will be missed.

Check out Van Vliet’s paintings here: Run Paint Run

The John Scofield Quartet: New Morning, The Paris Concert

Check out this  video by the great John Scofield and a killer quartet. I was very fortunate to know and study with John when I first arrived in Boston way back when. He is a wonderful person and a phenomenal jazz musician and innovator. This is a particularly good DVD with some nice extra footage.

The amazing Sid Jacobs pays tribute to Jimmy Wyble…

On April 17, 2010 a host of guitarists paid tribute to the late, great Jimmy Wyble.  Sid Jacob’s performances particularly hit me. I have the honor to share a chair in the LA Wirechoir with Sid and I am always in awe of his guitar mastery.

Terry Carter documented the concert and you can follow the link to both of Sid’s performances here:

Sid Jacobs from the Jimmy Wyble Tribute

Jimmy was an extraordinary musician and human being who deeply touched everyone who knew him. The memorial concert was heartfelt, drawing stellar musicians from all over the country to pay tribute to this wonderful man. Thank you Jimmy!

Enjoy Sid Jacobs’ Gershwin medley below…