I recently had the opportunity to research and write a piece for Berklee Today magazine exploring lesser known revenue streams for composers and musicians.
In today’s music industry, tapping every revenue source is key, particularly for independent artists. Thinking like an entrepreneur and getting ahead of the curve with new technologies can create exciting opportunities for distributing and promoting music.
This piece starts with the basics of copyright and the role of rights organizations and jumps into library music and the potential shifts that will be created with the adoption of HTML 5 as the new web standard.
In this Music Ally blog post from October 2010, Martin Redington of Microgen, discusses the state of data management and back-end systems in the digital music supply chain.
Identifying and paying the multiple rights holders for each download or stream requires managing vast amounts of data in multiple formats. The lack of a uniform standard for identifying artists, tracks, and recordings presents a major roadblock. This complex process is labor intensive and prone to error.
The current state of affairs causes delayed payment to artists, and if standards are not introduced to increase efficiency, the entire digital music distribution chain is at risk.
Redington calls for:
The creation of a standardized universal database and the business model to support its development.
Agreement as to how this database will be populated. Stakeholders currently have no clearly defined financial incentive to share their data with competitors.
Standards for exchanging information.
Streamlined back-office processes that will serve the future growth of the digital music industry.
Michael Masnick’s great presentation at NARM 2009 really lit a spark in me. While many of us want to hold onto or modify the old business models in this industry, everything has changed.
The supply of digital music far exceeds the demand, and most everything is available in one form or another for ‘free’. The devaluation of recorded music mandates the development of new, innovative business and collective licensing models.
As Tim Hurson states in his book, Think Better, reproductive thinking can only go so far. No amount of incremental improvement will ever turn an adding machine into a spreadsheet. Creative problem solving, the back and forth between out-of-the-box thinking and structured strategic planning, is the key to breaking free from old paradigms and dead ideas into new, productive territory. The urgent need for new ideas increases daily as the globe shrinks and technology continues to disrupt.