The Music industry in recent years has been on a perlerious decline in sales, not just in the United States, but worldwide. Any number of reasons can be attributed to the loss of revenue, but losses are not as important as, say, getting the sales. What is needed to turn a limping dog into a bursting stallion cannot be found in a courtroom, nor can it be found by staying the course. Marketing music on a global scale has true potential, possibly a multibillion dollar program over the next five years, if managed correctly. But you can't feed your family what you don't take home. A new niche market must be created, one that will generate revenue and stand up to the Digital Age. The solution is marketing, plain and simple, and I'm going to tell you how to do it.
1) Create a Worldwide Music Organisation. And if you want to win over your European counterparts, you'll probably have to spell it just like that, too. Every label must commit every artist. Every song must have it's price.
2) Subscription-based streaming. For a fee, fans can download client-based software that allows you to create a playlist from any artist worldwide; fans can stream through a mobile device and play back on any FM band receiver. Software will also have a feature that will play similar songs or artists and chart leaders. Songs are available for impulse purchase though mobile devices or online. Device software will allow fans to build a mobile friendslist, enabling shared music network streaming. Streaming network may include only partial songs to friends or full songs if said friend subscribes as well. Subscribers, in theory, could pay $14.99 a month, but get $2.00 base discount for every friend referred, up to 3 friends, encouraging subscribers to get their monthly rate down. New subscribers may be entered in a monthly drawing for free local concert tickets for first year of subscription (more on that later).
3) Merge with Red Box; or team up with MPAA for kiosk locations. One can choose, pay and burn on the spot. The on-the-go purchase seems to be the going trend. If movie buffs can be found at McDonald's or Safeway, music fans can, too. Award frequent buyers with free track picks.
4) Karaoke DJ Jukeboxes. Sell propietors a wall-mounted DJ box all-in-one. This box accepts cash or credit cards and enables patrons to play tracks from any artist in the world; contains an interface for available karaoke songs to perform and contains inputs and outputs for duel microphones and sound systems; will record performances and burn for a fee. Patrons can also create and burn playlists. Generic input allows live artist to record and upload to a local licks music store or add to their webpage.
The Meat: Anyone who's ever sung an epic karaoke performance has wished that they had a copy of it. For a generous fee, one can simply press 'burn' and live that night every forever. The track writing allows the fan to list the vocalist's name, followed by artist and title. The beauty of this is that when Tony sings 'Brown Eyed Girl' from Van Morrison, editing the track title can easily remove the singers name, leaving artist name and title only. When Tony removes his name and uploads the track to the internet, these songs will flood search engines with karaoke versions. Getting yourself a pirated copy of said track will eventually become nearly impossible.
Met someone special that loves music as much as you do? Create a playlist together and burn it. Listen to your favorite tracks on the drive home or, if your lucky, over a bottle of wine when you get there. Whole-album purchases may include name entered in a drawing for free concert tickets.
5) Subscription-based Concert Ticket Outlet - For a monthly fee, subscribers may purchase tickets from reserved blocks not offered to the general public. Tickets are sold to subscriber at box office price and is virtually guaranteed in stock. This would appeal to concert-goers who stand little chance scoring those hot Garth Brooks tickets. Unsold tickets may be sold at discount on date or given away as promotion for other services.
6) Launch an online magazine that features regional listings for concerts. Subscribers to ticket outlet may receive magazine subscription for free, others may pay. Magazine content would include artist interviews, scoop music news, charts, and of course ads. Innovation is needed to kick the Rolling Stone. Magazine would be fully compatible with the upcoming ipad. Magazine may feature a chart purchase rate; anything say, in the top 10 charts subscriber may purchase for a discount.
7) Open worldwide online music store - Anything from anyone - for a price.
8) Launch free music-based online social network - MySpace and Facebook, look out! This network promotes artists to interact with their fans, providing blogs, scoop interviews and friendslist with free ticket drawings and merchandise directly from the artist. Registration may include free song gift cards. Live club performances recorded through DJ karaoke jukeboxes may be uploaded by artist with ease, and in turn, sold as mp3s. And again, the usual advertisement revenue.
9) Assign a dedicated think tank. Fire every think tank you have ever employed.
10) Disband RIAA. Integrate the better parts into worldwide music organisation. Quietly. And STOP suing.
Let's face it; RIAA, music's public face, has tarnished a product that's been around, literally, forever. There is no harm that can come to music; only it's representation. The Recording Association of America, with the green light from it's corporate leaders, has unknowingly and recklessly brought suit to many innocent music fans, children, working mothers and, more detrimental, have widened the chasm between themselves and Internet Users. In the beginning, peer-to-peer file sharing was a cult practice that slowly grew to include the casual internet user, thus producing lackluster music sales. The age had come where stealing music was at the stroke of a key. I won't lie and say copyright infringement lawsuits didn't deter piracy. But piracy will still happen and did, no question about it. What lawsuits have done was drive a permanent wedge between paid-for music and mainstream internet users. Many users vow never to pay for a track ever again. That kind of damage is hard to repair, which is why I like the idea of giving music away for free, that is if you subscribe or make a purchase. No harm in giving away something that is, in any case, a bunch of 1's and 0's.
Fan #1: Sings karaoke and purchases performance tracks; buys blank tracks to practice at home.
Fan #2: Subscribes to online magazine, ticket outlet; buys concert tickets; buys music online.
Fan #3; Subscribes to streaming network via wireless device; has friend network that expands service; buys music on impulse; becomes member of online social network.
Fan #4: Plays favorites at box locations; buys playlist CDs.
Fan #5: Soccer mom buys Johnny Cash playlist at Burger King for Grandma to listen to on the way to Seattle; the only way Junior will put up listening to The Cash for an hour is by buying him a Jonas Brothers playlist he can listen to for the following hour. Soccer mom buys Karen Carpenter's Greatest Hits CD to wrap up the trip and sooth her nerves.
Overhead: The music rights are owned. Renegotiate artist contracts for full compliance. The software can be written, the websites can be launched. The only real costs are the Jukeboxes and ink for the contracts.