Seth Godin is a marketing god. Here is an interview from Seth explaining the music industry. Key thoughts he advocates include:
1) Piracy is not the thing that is crushing the monetization of music, it is an industry that is unwilling to adapt to music being essentially free.
2) Songwriters are no longer needed.
3) Top 40 radio is not the powerhouse it used to be. Everything is niche marketing.
4) In many cases, signing to a major label is actually worse for you and your band.
5) The reason we listen to the music we do is because we want to connect with other people who listen to similar music.
6) Your true fans will spend money on you.
7) The cost of finding new fans is huge, but the cost of satisfying your current fans is small.
8.) Online community (or tribe) to check out: http://www.ning.com/.
9) It’s not about trying to reach new people, it’s about reaching the people who are already following you. Let them be advocates for you.
10) Pleasantly surprise your fans. When they order a CD, send them two. They will then give this to two people, spreading your music. Is it about the money or spreading the music? Think outside the box.
11) Music will always be shared, whether it is through friends or through torrents, it will be shared. The “win”, as Seth puts it, is when you are the taste maker and are creating their playlists and are on their iPods. It’s not the last band to give away one single, it is the first big band to give away the WHOLE cd away for free (Radiohead).
(Side note: Who is the biggest band in the land right now? Toss up between Radiohead and Coldplay).
12.) “Breaking New Acts” is breaking into someone’s permission to allow you to be in front of them. Rather than spending your time focusing on this (as a record label), it should be spent “growing things, nurturing things, making things thrive.”
13.) As an independent musician, make your measurement “how many people would be delighted to listen to me?” It’s not just allowing, but delighting.
Listen to all the thoughts from Seth and more detailed explanations below. The music business is changing. It’s crumbling, but will be built up on things so much more stable. I’m excited.