Money for Something

December 13, 2002

Robert X. Cringely: Curtain Call: Finally, a Business Model for Music in the Internet Age, and Why the Music Industry Probably Won't Go for It

Mostly a good article, but Cringely does suggest one idea with which I disagree:

The key to this is finding a way to sell music in a way that it can't be ripped. What is unrippable is live new music at concerts, or a mix of old hits and new music with the emphasis on performance -- on being there. DON'T sell CDs of new music at a concert. Sell CDs of older stuff, but make buying a ticket the only way to hear a new song in the first three months.

I have two issues with this strategy. First, as a fan, I want to walk away from the show with a copy of that great new song. As I musician, I want fans to be able to walk away with a copy of those new songs. I'd even be happy if they ripped a copy of those new songs and sent them to their friends, to encourage them to attend the next show (and buy their own copy of the disc.) The way to attract people to the live performance is by making each show unique and entertaining, by varying setlists, playing through a deep catalog and constantly trying new approaches to songs. Make every fan want to hear every set.

Second, is live music really unrippable? members would disagree. I've gotten recordings of concerts within a week of the show. While not every artist allows taping of their live shows, enough do to make the field interesting.

Posted by Andrew Raff at December 13, 2002 05:19 PM
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