Archive for the 'product design' Category

Nine Inch Nails Case Study

February 5, 2009

Last year the name Nine Inch Nails or Trent Reznor was mentioned a lot, when someone was talking about the future of music marketing. Trent has developed a complete new way for music marketing using the whole potential of web 2.0.
He demonstrated on how many ways you can connect with fans and how you still can give your fans a reason to buy in the digital age. There is more than MySpace, there is more than just giving your songs away for free in hope the audience comes to your live shows.
Mike Masnick was summarizing the NIN Campaign in his presentation given to MidemNet this year.

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Go legal and die!

December 2, 2008

legal

The year 2008 is nearly over and we are still having a situation on the digital music market that cause entrepreneurs like Michael Robertson (CEO of MP3tunes) to write articles with headlines like: Legal digital music is commercial suicide – Fans suffer as lawyers get rich (Article for The Register).

Still record labels or copyright holders (collecting societies) are torpedoing successful music services with big financial requests from labels for “past infringement”, plus a hefty fee for future usage.
Michael Robertson´s comment: “Any company agreeing to these demands is signing their own financial death sentence.”

But Robertson is not only accusing the record industry:
The root cause is not the labels – chances are if you were running a label you would make the same demands, since the law permits it. The lack of clarity in the law is the real culprit – and it’s the huge potential penalties that create an incentive for the big record labels’ law firms to file lawsuits. Without clear laws and rulings from the court about what is permissible, every action touching a copyrighted work is a possible infringement, with a large financial windfall if the copyright owner can persuade a Judge to agree.

The problem is that changing the copyright law will need many more years – (Creative Commons and Lawrence Lessig are unfortunately no superheros) – … so the market has to be faster… has to find a solution… has to create an environment, where innovative business models can be develop without the fear of being sued the rest of your life. Why is there no chance to negotiate a true partnership between net companies and the content/copyright industry, where going legal is a real option for a start up, where both sides get the ability to create a profitable business?

Cloud Computing is more of a Reality than we think…

October 28, 2008

I was just thinking again about this post from Kevin Kelly a few days ago. This whole scenario about cloud computing sounds a bit “Science Fiction”… but actually it isn`t …
Even Microsoft is starting a big PR campaign now around it`s new platform Windows Azure… ” the future is cloud computing”…. so it`s going mainstream, although most internet users are still unaware of the term “cloud computing.” They are already taking advantage of it more than they know.

When we talk about cloud computing we mean an architecture by which data and applications reside in cyberspace, allowing users to access them through any web-connected device. This includes: webmail services like Hotmail or Gmail; personal photo storage services like Flickr; online applications like Google Docs and Photoshop Express; video storeage and publishing services like Youtube; blogging platforms like WordPress; social bookmarking sites like Delicious; social networks like Facebook; and of course online servers where you can backup your harddrive or any other personal files..

The PEW Research Center published in September 2008 a study stating that 69 % of all Internet users have either stored data online or used a web-based software application. If you think of the list examples above, you would think it would be even more…

… and it should be just a matter of time for people to accept that cloud computing is superior to desktop applications in all areas of software or media usage and so the hardware industry will respond on it with new devices. Mobile device of all kinds will profit a lot from this developement.

Of course people have many concerns about cloud computing like security and privacy, but there will be some solutions to give the users a “safe feeling”. …  anyway, this will be a big challenge.

So cloud computing is coming fast… what does this mean for the media industry?
A lot especially for the business models. In a cloud computing world, “owning” content is not a thing you will think about anymore, since that was part of the physical media world. You will just desire access to content. That´s all you need. So the cloud computing system and all it`s advantages for the users will push the developement to “The Age of Access“.  Ad supported content will be huge, especially cause of the big opportunities in personalized advertising. Cloud computing is the perfect and most efficient environment for personalized advertising. Social communities and social production will be more efficient than ever before. And that`s just the obvious stuff. If you read the post by Kevin Kelly you will find many more ideas for all parts of the media industry and how it will change in a certain area. I will try to do more research on this stuff…

Predicting the Digital Age 14 Years Ago

October 27, 2008

esther_dyson

Yesterday I read an amazing WIRED article! Well…  great magazine…. but this one was from 1995. Remember how computers and mobile phones looked in 1995?
The article is about a new way of looking at compensation for owners and creators in the net-based economy. The author, Esther Dyson, predicted in her article all the problems the media industry will be confronted with in more than ten years time cause of digitalisation. She wrote about all the challenges for owners, creators, sellers and users of intellectual property. About the fact that quality content will be free, easy to copy but hard to find. And she made suggestions how content creators can find ways to be paid. The article could have been written last year … and still it would be a great one.

I had never heard about this article before… (sure, I had heard about Esther)
It`s quite a long article … I just wanted to quote a few of the best parts:

“In a new environment, such as the gravity field of the moon, laws of physics play out differently. On the Net, there is an equivalent change in “gravity” brought about by the ease of information transfer. We are entering a new economic environment – as different as the moon is from the earth – where a new set of physical rules will govern what intellectual property means, how opportunities are created from it, who prospers, and who loses.
Chief among the new rules is that “content is free.” While not all content will be free, the new economic dynamic will operate as if it were. In the world of the Net, content (including software) will serve as advertising for services such as support, aggregation, filtering, assembly and integration of content modules, or training of customers in their use.”

(…)

“I am not saying that content is worthless, or that you will always get it for free. Content providers should manage their businesses as if it were free, and then figure out how to set up relationships or develop ancillary products and services that cover the costs of developing content. (…) The way to become a leading content provider may be to start by giving your content away. This “generosity” isn’t a moral decision: it’s a business strategy.”

(…)

“The definition of the problem, rather than its solution, will be the scarce resource in the future.”

(…)

Owning the intellectual property is like owning land: you need to keep investing in it again and again to get a payoff; you can’t simply sit back and collect rent. To some, this state of affairs may seem unfair. It certainly is if you grew up by the old rules and don’t want to play in a new game. But if you look at the new rules by themselves, they have a certain moral grounding: people will be rewarded for personal effort – process and services – rather than for mere ownership of assets.”

(…)

“So, what happens in a world where software is basically free? Successful companies are adopting business models in which they are rewarded for services rather than for code. Developers who create software are rewarded for showing users how to use it, for installing systems, for developing customer-specific applications. The real value created by most software companies lies in their distribution networks, trained user bases, and brand names – not in their code.”

(…)

“With the means of production growing cheaper and easier because of the Net, a bifurcation will take place: more and more people will produce material for smaller audiences of their friends, while those seeking large audiences will give their stuff away or seek payment from a sponsor – and try to persuade influencers to recommend it.
In the end, the only unfungible, unreplicable value in the new economy will be people’s presence, time, and attention; to sell that presence, time, and attention out-side their own community, creators will have to give away content for free.”

This was all written 13 years ago!!!

Movie Financing Has Changed

October 19, 2008

In times where we still, well at least in Germany, discuss “illegal product placement” cases, Hollywood does its homework for years now.

Antrep04.com made nice “alternate movieposters” with the “real new stars” of a movie production.

The Evolution of Video Games

October 11, 2008

Once again a TED talk… sorry for that. But this is a really great one, even though it`s from 2006.
Game designer David Perry shows that tomorrow’s videogames will be more than mere fun to the next generation of gamers. They’ll be lush, complex, emotional experiences — more inclusive and meaningful to some than real life.

A highlight is the video inside the talk by a student Michael Highland who describes his life as a video game addict.

The video game market is the fastest growing entertainment market out there and there is no end in sight. Why? It`s the only market where the product itself, the technology, can develop  year after year in new spheres…
And at the moment we have no idea where it will stop…
It just seems to be a question of time, when there is a convergence of blockbuster movies and games…

As we know, games can be much more than heading for the highscore or killing some monsters. Some games are more like a virtual reality…. more and more developers think about emotions, purpose, feelings, meanings, humour, learning, socialization… they are able to use  completly new ways of storytelling… and of course you can`t beat interactivity…

… many out there are laughing right now about the second life hype…. but they probably don`t think about the time when these “virtual life” graphics, 3D effects et cetera get really really good. When they are on a level of a movie production, where you never know if this scene was shot real on location or just a 3D animation…
Multiplayer games are already a huge success…. but the graphics are still quite poor…

But there is a second important point that the video of Michael Highland reminds me of…
Game developers have a tremendous responsibility in the future… “brainwashing” was never as easy. If you don`t know what I mean, watch the video of Michael Highland.

Is Ubiquity After Scarcity The New Way To Make Money?

October 10, 2008

Paul Sweeting had a good note on this yesterday at DMW:

“Is scarcity still a viable foundation for a business model for content owners? For most of their histories, movie and TV studios relied on a strategy of limited distribution to extract maximum value from their works. Movies were released through a carefully ordered sequence of exclusive windows defined by distribution channel (theaters, DVD, pay-TV, broadcast); network TV series didn’t enter the broader syndication market for three or four years after their debut, assuming the series lasted that long. In each case, the relative scarcity of the content provided the content owner with maximum pricing power. Since the advent of digital platforms, however, ubiquity has become the name of the game, challenging content owners’ pricing power and business models.”

And I fully agree. In a time where we have no control over distribution anymore, where we get networked, where every user is potentially their “own distribution channel”… in a time where we are talking about the Attention Economy… scarcity makes no sense anymore for digital media products.
We must realize: Attention is the scarcity now, not (even good) content anymore.
And immediately publishing your content for free on your own website, like NBC is doing on Hulu, would be just the first step.

Content syndication could be a very important thing in the future. Get your content in the “pole position”, make cooperations, go there where the traffic is and make your content available… and as a content owner, maybe you market your potential ad inventory yourself and the platform owner gets the content (with the attached ads) for free.

A minute attention is a minute attention is a minute attention is a minute attenion… you will be able to capitalize this attention, wherever you get it…
It`s one of this famous good old Google priniciples: Focus on products that draw users and money will follow…

People won`t automatically go to the place, where they would get the content legally, even if it`s there for free… people go where they can get it first, where they can see it first. Most users don`t care about whether it`s legal or not. The Radiohead “In Rainbows” example shows exactly this. There were far more “illegal” torrent downloads than downloads on the Radiohead website. Even though every kid knew, cause of the media hype, that there is a free legal alternative…
So… try to go where the traffic is.

iTunes Dominates the Market

October 9, 2008

A survey of 1,148 Internet users in the summer of 2008  revealed 58% of people believe iTunes is the top fee-based digital music service or download store according to a report from market research firm Ipsos.


By far the best known brand is also iTunes with an unaided awareness of 39%. (Second is Napster with just 13%).
Hopefully this dominance won`t be a problem for the music industry to establish or improve their business or pricing models. These figures show that most people still think there is just one brand out there. And if you know just one brand, you won`t know the business or pricing models of other brands…  right?
Best example: Last.fm. Maybe one of the most innovative music services out there at the moment, but it faces incredibly low unaided (0%) and aided (6%) awareness.
And the time it takes to get a high awareness, even when you are a “mainstream brand” is a long journey. This is shown by the Amazon example, who get just 5% unaided awareness in their first year in the music download business.
So in the near future iTunes will show us the way…if we like it or not…

The Free World

October 7, 2008


Universal McCann publishes every month a small “brief for executives” titled “Trend Marker”. In July they had the theme “Welcome to the “Free” World”. It`s 12 pages long and summarizes some interesting facts about this new “culture of free access”. It shows why this “Free Culture” exists, what the business models are and has some case studies of brands, who already navigate the “free world”.

The paper is just a short overview, and it claims not to cover the theme completely … I`m looking forward to Chris Anderson`s new book for that… but it summarizes some points of this area quite good.

Gerd Leonhard At Picnic

October 2, 2008

Gerd is doing a great job out there for years now and his blog is really worth reading.
Here a video of his speech at the Picnic Conference in Amsterdam last week.

He summarizes quite well what`s going on in the new attention economy and how the music industry can survive in it building an new Ecosystem.
Watch it. It will be 50 minutes well spent. Really great stuff.

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