Time for action: the music industry needs the same CHANGE that Obama brings to America (MIDEM 09 thoughts from 'the Utopian')
Image by gleonhard via Flickr
Everyone that follows my work knows what my message to the music industry has been, for the past 10 years: Change. Embrace technology and empower the User. Make the Artists Partners. Give Permission. Collaborate. Innovate constantly. Get out of your own way. Compensation not Control.
Until a few years ago, to talk about transparency, equality and collaboration was considered treason and people looked at me with deep pity when I suggested a radio-like license for music on the Net. Today, the concept of blanket licensing music on the Net (no, not a tax, but a strong, open ecosystem that generates many new revenue streams) has become a solid contender for a new - and much larger - music ecosystem that is being put together as we speak.
For the last 8 years, trying to control digital music (DRM, CD protection, broadcast flags etc) has brought the music industry a fundamental and detrimental crisis, war (on file-sharers), value destruction, squashed innovations, and lost trust on all sides - artists, consumers, telecoms and brands! Well done, musical Bushs.
WHEN will the industry switch horses like America switched from Bush to Obama, from destruction to innovation, from money-just-for-us to money-for-all, from control to collaboration, from prejudice to openness, from broadcast to conversation...? Isn't it time that we leave those professional lobbyists and purveyors of costly snake-oils behind, that we hand the wheel to the new guys, the ones that understand what music & a life around music is really like, outside of their bubble and above and beyond their severely limited assumptions? Isn't time for the lesser-privileged minorities (such as the actual creators, and such as those that are not from the so-called Western world) to step in and catalyze those changes? Where is the Obama for the music industry?
Here in Cannes, France, at the annual MIDEM music industry conference, we have once again debated and contemplated (and wined and dined and smoked) for the last 5 days. We have noticed some 15-20% less attendance, empty restaurants and much-less-than-usual action in the exhibition halls - the music industry as we knew it is OVER. And good riddance. The organizers tried hard (and did well!) but you have to wonder: what are you (the industry) waiting for? Is it not time to VOTE FOR SERIOUS CHANGE in the music industry, and make that switch to an open, collaborative and mutually fruitful ecosystem? Like... now?
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