Seth Godin [Who? Oh.] shares his thoughts on the future of the music business:
It’s not about, anymore, how many people can you reach. Super Bowl, doesn’t matter. it’s irrelevant. The internet is the new radio. What that means is this you’ve been arguing and hassling and yelling and pushing for 40 years to get more air time. Now you have infinite air time. That’s what the internet is for you. The internet is the ability to get any song you want in front of the people who want to hear it with huge reach and no barriers. What matters isn’t how many, it’s who. Who are you reaching, who are the thought leaders, who are the people who are going to tell other people? Who are the people who are out there trying to find the next big thing because those people are going to influence what the next trend is, and if you’re in the middle of that trend, because you’ve used this new medium to spread the ideas, you’re going to start paying for internet airtime soon because it’s worth it. It’s not that you need to say “no, no, no, I can’t let you hear this” it’s “I want you to hear this”.
And here’s where Godin is probably wrong (emphasis added):
Because if you hear it you might join the tribe, and if you join the tribe then over time I’ll take care of you so well you’ll want to pay me. And then people will be passionate when they hear what you do for a living, they’re going to die to have you help them meet other people in the tribe.
Will anyone really be willing to pay to join what is essentially a fan club? Depends on what membership gets you, I suppose. I can’t imagine there’d actually be enough interest to support an industry, but who knows? 2,500 weirdos were fanatical enough to shell out $300 each for four volumes of Trent Reznor instrumentals. For the mathematically challenged, that’s a $750,000 payday.
4 thoughts on “Can the Tribe Theory save the music industry?”
Support an industry? Probably not. But support individual bands and artists? Sure, I can see that. Again, it depends on what the fan gets, but I can see some micro marketing and promotions working.
Amazing how this hand-wringing over the music industry has been a favorite hobby of music fans for nearly the last decade. I haven’t seen anything slightly resembling a shortage of new or good music for anyone, yet the trembling endures.
That’s kind of the point. There’s lots of great music out there, but dwindling profits for majors who couldn’t care less about their product.
Exactly. Music is very healthy; the major labels are not.