About Tribal Management, The Seinfeld Curve And Marrying Someone

March 11, 2008

seinfeld.jpg

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.

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