Archive for March, 2008

Are We All Pirates? And What Can We Learn From The Fashion Industry?

March 30, 2008


If we can`t beat them, should we join them?

Matt Mason has published a book thinking about this question and some more. It`s titeled The Pirate’s Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism.

For the Strategy and Business Magazine he gave an interesting interview. Here a few of his statements:

“Hollywood has simply refused to acknowledge the idea of simultaneous release because they’re so worried about the effect it will have on theater revenues. But according to the evidence, movies in the theater and movies on DVD are two different products. That tells me that if Hollywood accepted the presence of the pirates’ business model, (…), the movie companies could actually learn how to compete with them.”

“So rather than thinking about how we can stop piracy, let’s consider how we can come up with better ideas by thinking in the same way as the pirates. “

And a nice statement what the media industry can learn from the fashion industry:

In 2006, Congress began considering extending copyright protection to fashions — which had never before been protected — to try and bring them more in line with European laws, which are designed to protect smaller companies from having their designs stolen immediately by large retailers. Yet even during this reevaluation it was universally accepted that piracy is literally how the fashion industry innovates. Because people are able to copy the 3-D design of garments, they can create trends. And because those trends can be disseminated so quickly and the new rapidly becomes old, we have seasons in fashion. This allows the fashion industry to sell more clothes than if individuals could protect their designs for a long time and trends lasted a couple of years rather than a couple of months. The problem now is that copying is happening so fast in fashion that people are losing sight of the original.

The legal question facing Congress was how to protect the small designer from the potential losses from the copying of their designs. But what was so amazing to me was that everybody involved — the largest companies, the smallest designers, Congress itself — were all in agreement that the ability for people to be able to copy each other to a reasonable degree has to be preserved. You never hear anything remotely like that in the movie or music industries, or in any other industry that involves intellectual property.”

Never thought about that…

Here you can find more about piracy in the fashion industry…

I orderd the book of Matt… and will let you know…

Here a great speech about his book at the Medici Summit…




Next Level User Generated Content

March 22, 2008


Now the last exclusive “TV” thing is falling…  the live broadcasting, the LIVE show.

With tools like Flixwagon… you can turn your blog live.

Make your own Live show from your amateur soccer team game or a broadcast from the important last lecture before a test for your roommates or live impressions from the party of the night… you name it…

Flixwagon embed your live show on your blog from your mobile phone in a few steps… The quality is low at the moment, but let`s talk again in a few months…

If you produce this with “high end” tools, that could be a great chance for local journalism….
But what about piracy? Live broadcast from the soccer match? No, not from the stadium, instead just filmed from the paid content tv screen…

Movie/TV industry Are Facing The Same Questions The Music Industry Did

March 21, 2008


 Mark Mulligan from Jupiter wrote a few days ago:

“Currently the music industry is most strongly associated with fighting online piracy, but the TV and film industries are becoming more important as every day passes: video file sharing is growing strongly in Europe. But it’s not just becoming a big deal for the content owners, it’s impacting ISP networks more than music sharing. In Sweden about a third more Internet users file share music than video, but the traffic from video (according to my back of the envelope calculations) is already at least 50% bigger. This share will grow as HD content becomes more prevalent and adoption grows. So the movie and TV industry are facing the same questions the music industry did back with the rise of the original Napster. What is interesting though, is the difference in approach from many TV broadcasters: alongside enforcement are mainstream free online offerings: iPlayer, Hulu, etc. The TV industry can probably afford for the Internet to act as ‘radio’ for them as advertising is (normally) a basic element of their core business. The Music industry though, already has its radio and is counting on the Internet to shoulder much of the retail role that CD is shunning. In short ad spend alone is not enough for the music industry online. “

I don`t think the internet is something like advertising (like radio) for the TV industry. Everybody who realizes the rising quality  of  online video broadcasting, everybody who experienced the advantages of on demand online content, everybody who connected his tv screen once with his computer is lost for TV in the longterm. The TV industry just tries to establish their brands in the online world … And they are right… A viewer is a viewer … And most important, they don`t loose “paid content” revenues like the record labels do…

Apple Finally Did It

March 21, 2008


I know, the news is from yesterday… but waiting for years… I am excited…

Here it is… Apple goes subscription! Steve changed his mind.  Bundling will win the “paid  content music game” (why? ).

The Itunes  store and the brand Apple have a good chance to survive against the “free competition”. For the rest … the quality level is high now.


March 20, 2008

… for being quiet.
My day job and some other projects took more time…  but Easter holidays…

Love It. Like It Is Not Enough.

March 12, 2008


Producing media content (in the old world) is often about finding the lowest common denominator, if you want to be successful. Now there is a another way that can work out for artists and producers. In the “digital age” and times of the long tail there is this bigger chance in the “niche market” everybody is talking about.  Kevin Kelly did a great post about “how and why you can survive as artist in the longtail”.  It`s  about producing content that people love and not just “like”. It`s about finding 1000 true fans.

“But the long tail is a decidedly mixed blessing for creators. (…) The long tail does not raise the sales of creators much, but it does add massive competition and endless downward pressure on prices. Unless artists become a large aggregator of other artist’s works, the long tail offers no path out of the quiet doldrums of minuscule sales.
(…) what can an artist do to escape the long tail?
One solution is to find 1,000 True Fans. While some artists have discovered this path without calling it that, I think it is worth trying to formalize. The gist of 1,000 True Fans can be stated simply:
A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce.

Read the full post here.

About Tribal Management, The Seinfeld Curve And Marrying Someone

March 11, 2008


Seth Godin did a quite entertaining speech about and in front of the music industry (most of the ideas apply also for some other media industries…).

See the full transcript here. Here some of the best parts:

(…) if I asked you for the name and address of your 50,000 best customers, could you give it to me? Do you have any clue? Then what happens every day is you guys go to a singles bar and you walk up to the first person you meet and propose marriage and if that person won’t marry you, you walk down the singles bar to every single person until someone says I do. Thats a stupid way to get married. A better way to get married is to go on a date. If it goes well, go on another date. Wait to tell them on the third before you tell them you’re out on parole. (laughter) Then you meet their parents, they me your parents, you get engage, you get married. Permission is the act of delivery. Anticipated, personal, and relevant messages to people who want to get them.


The next thing is what I call the Seinfeld curve. The Seinfeld curve shows us Jerry’s life. If you like Jerry Seinfeld you can watch him on television, for free, in any city in the world two or three times a day. Or, you could pay $200 to go see him in Vegas. But there is no $4 option for Jerry Seinfeld. This is death. You can’t make any money in here. Because if you’re not scarce I’m not going to pay for it because I can get if for free. And one of the realities that the music industry is going to have to accept is this curve now exists for you. That for everybody under eighteen years old, it’s either free or it’s something I really want and I’m willing to pay for it. There is nothing in the center-it’s going away really fast.


The next thing is this idea that people care very much about who is sitting next to them at the concert. They care very much about the secret handshake. They care very much about the tribal identification. “Oh you like them, I like them”.


And the last one is back to this tribal thing. It’s really important to people to feel like they are part of that tribe, to feel that adrenaline. We are willing to pay money, we’re willing to go through huge hoops, trampled to death in Cincinnati if necessary, in order to be in the environment where we feel that’s going on.


So if the model that we loved about the record business in 1968 was A&R, taking care of artists, finding artists who people will love, and the model that we hated was brand management, I want to argue that the next model is tribal management. That the next model is to say, what you do for a living is manage a tribe…many tribes…silos of tribes. That your job is to make the people in that tribe delighted to know each other and trust you to go find music for them.


The next idea is this idea of liking. There is a lot of music I like. There is not so much music I love. They didn’t call the show, “I Like Lucy”, they called it “I Love Lucy”. And the reason is you only talk about stuff you love, you only spread stuff you love. You find a band you really love, you’re forcing the CD on other people, “you gotta hear this!”. We gotta stop making music people like. There is an infinite amount of music people like. No one will ever go out of the way to hear, to pay for, music they like.

Where Is My Record Store?

March 8, 2008


I don`t mean my favourite “vinyl” record store here in berlin – it is still there, thank god. I mean a digital “record store”. A record store that gives me the same “great experience” than buying vinyls in a “real world” store. A place that has something like a “aura”, a special place.
A shop owner who has a “character”, and so has his shop.
A place where you can meet friends and other “music fans”, a place where is no bad music in the shelf, where time flies by on a saturday afternoon.

I miss this in all these digital music stores out there. I love Last.Fm, but it feels not like a record store. And iTunes feels a little bit like going in the music department of a shopping mall. Sure, I am talking here about a niche market, and not about the big money and audience… But why is there no “white label digital music store” / that a music geek can adopt, configure to his own record store. In his own design, with his own “context”… No matter if someone wants to launch a punk rock store, a electronic music homebase or anything else… A music geek and a web developer – that`s all you should need to build your own small business. Maybe part time, maybe you are a music journalist and most of your job is already done during your day shop.
Imagine how successful the digital record store of John Peel could have been….

Isn`t the shopping experience also a part of the long tail? Not just listening to my favourite music, but also buying in my favourite shopping experience?

Selling music in a context! Creating something like a “digital record store community”! Great service, great taste. And all in all a great buying experience.

Where is my record store?

(At the moment there are a lot of new “music selling” widgets in the market. But these tools are developed more for artists to sell and promote their music. And these tools are better in promoting music than selling it… See also the discussion on Coolfer here and here. Anyway… the “record store tool” is still missing.)

Social Networks will be like air?

March 7, 2008

A very interesting post from Charlene Li from Forrester on the future of social networks and what is still missing. The post shows that the potential and value of social networks is not by far used yet.

On the other hand isn`t it a bit scary? Your whole identity on one place in the net… rated by algorithm…

Wal Mart Challenges The CD Price

March 5, 2008


Reuters reported
that Wal Mart is thinking about lowering the CD prices. For just $ 10 you will buy the top twenty, for $ 12 the current titels, the backcatalog starts already at $ 5.

Wal Mart was always a price leader in the CD market. They try to get more traffic with music products and maximize their profit with other products. If they want to hold this traffic they have to lower their prices in the current situation.

So music at Wal Mart was always something like a little bit “ad supported” or better said part of a bigger bundle. The problem for the music industry: Wal Mart has 22% market share. The whole market will drop the price. There will be a huge drop in revenues especially in a market segment of people who are not as price sensitive. On top the lower CD price will influence the album download price in the long term.

The pressure on the music industry to find fast a new online solution is increasing again.