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Music industry

Wow, October has been a cruel month for the music industry. First Radiohead and nine inch nails dumped decided to go it alone without a publishing label, and now we have a whole group of artists proclaiming similar freedoms. In the case of Madonna, for example, her departure from a record company is unique in that a concert promotion agency is paying her for albums and merchandising. Ah, the diminishing value of content…and the emerging revenue model.


  1. The idea of allowing the audience to choose the price of music was originally (I assume) at least made popular by magnatune (, an indie label. Their slogan is “We are not evil”. I saw the founder speak last year and he noted, that the biggest revenue comes not from sales but from licensing content to movies, commercials etc. Still, even their most selling artists had made only a few thousand dollars. But the average price had been around 8$. (

    In Finland, there had been similar experiments in local record stores, where local artists had sold their records in a similar manner. Store owners reported in a newspaper article, that people were not really willing to pay much. I think Web2 enthusiasts (or whatever to call us..) will want to support the cause, but how about those, who chose to pay instead of “steal”?

    Thursday, October 11, 2007 at 8:52 am | Permalink
  2. glen wrote:

    I jumped on the Radiohead offer and got a very nice new album for 5 pounds. Great album, great deal!

    Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 7:15 pm | Permalink
  3. Hi Mikka – thanks for the comment. The current content industry (pick one: music, movies, textbooks, publishing, journals,etc.) are in a period of huge change. As a system, I think the revenue will be there (i.e. Madonna’s arrangement), but it will be situated somewhere along the continuum, rather than at the point of production. TV for example, has long given its content available for free…

    But, as you mention, I wonder what will happen with some of the artists that don’t have exposure to have their music licensed or to draw crowds to shows. On the one hand, the internet lowers barriers…but with low barriers and no income…then the revenue model itself has the potential to become a barrier.

    Glen – I must admit, I have yet to download the album. I should go do that…:).


    Sunday, October 14, 2007 at 12:01 am | Permalink
  4. VYonkers wrote:

    I guess my question is a barrier to whom? Why are these performers making the music? If it is to make money, then make music that will make money (that a large group will enjoy). If it is because of artistic reasons, then why should the revenue matter?

    Having started out as an art major, this was the lesson I learned (and why I changed majors). If you want to make a “profession” out of art, then you need to produce art for the masses (which might mean changing things from your own vision to please your audience). The problem is that you may end up hating creating art as it no longer is a projection of yourself. If that happens, then don’t do it commercially (I still paint and do photography, but for my own pleasure).

    I am glad that we now have more options to view and hear artists rather than being forced to listen to those things the top few “record executives” think will sell. That model was really stifling, for those that did not produce commercial successes were dropped or never heard.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 9:07 am | Permalink