More great fun a few days ago when a failed coffee attempt turned into opportunity to go to a concert of a group called Tortoise. Powered with only Wikipedia infobox, I decided to give it a try and see how I like them. I liked them a lot and based on my latest last.fm scrobbles, they have a new fan.
To get a feel for them, check Tortoise on YouTube:
There was another surprising thing with the whole event. The crowd was really, really nice to the degree it was almost unreal zombie experience. Everyone stood nicely in front of band, gave lots of personal space to everyone and besides a bit of headbanging of a few, didn’t do much. Just stood there like in a trance. Everyone had one beer and that was it. How very unusual.
As such, music plays an important role in my everyday life, be it a car driving to work, listening to it while working and of course having the best running music. I know I should probably also sleep with some light music turned on, but for some reason that doesn’t do it for me.
And there’s also greed. The idea to have as much of music as possible, even though it might humanly impossible to listen to all of it, let alone to actually appreciate it.
Bad music discovery execution. Having all this music out there should make it easier for me to explore new things. Giving me iTunes like interface where I actually have to know what I’m looking for is not fulfilling enough.
Quite a lot of music is missing or there are just a few tracks available as part of different collections. It’s annoying as it acts like a teaser.
I’d like to see more obscure music in collection. It’s great to most of the older mainstream in there, but I don’t feel that’s enough.
Genre browsing sucks. Why can’t I easily see all the Blue grass music they have?
.. and many more rants
While these things are annoying, they’re not fatal for my usage of the product of itself. What made me quit in the end was bad communication from company. I’d like to believe in the product through participation and seeing the changes they’re making so I can somehow influence experience and it’s just not there. Sure, they answer some Get Satisfaction support questions, but overall it’s like they’re doing branding for Swedish audience with very little outreach to other users.
I’ve been thinking for a while now about this and I believe that’s an important step for a startup to get early adopters. As detailed change logs as possible, with personalized kudos to people who reported specific bugs and you then fixed it. This coupled together with an outreach and voting solution to give community a power to steer the product in their way should provide a good ground to build a loyal fan base.
Music industry, and whatâ€™s going on around there. The general perception is that this is the industry in the flames. Internet has impacted music industry in the earliest stage. This is industry that believes that Sex, drugs and rock and roll is not going out of style. But they maybe missed on the style. They also donâ€™t believe in disruptive technology.
But music is unique. Oliver Sacks – Musicophilia. His book talks about the fact that music is in the different part of our brain than language and reason. There is something ancient about it.
Music is always about the technology. Musical devices are basic technological artifacts that change the way music is created and also received.
CDâ€™s are not selling anymore, but digital downloads are growing at 35% pa. But theyâ€™re not growing fast enough to compensate for CDâ€™s. They are not caching up, because P2P is much more convenient to get your music.
This is a fundamental change that happened, that is undermining the institutions that music industry has created. Usual example is the notion of copyright in the mashable world.
The worst possible PR campaign: RIAA suing downloaders.
But .. at the end of the day, the music industry is still funding the artists. The net affect of all this is that the industry is in flux.
Yet itâ€™s not all bad:
Mobile music is growing and all the operators are launching mobile music distribution services.
Live scene/shows are selling out. People want to go, and have that live experinece. They value increasingly the value of the moment.
People want to engage in the music themselves. Huge shift in the selling of music instruments. (3 millions guitars bought in â€˜07 in US; source: music trades). The sells of different equipment correlates with the currently popular style of music.
Music making in school. 75% of UK secondary school is using Sibelius 5, software for music composing.
We are not the edge of disaster, but we are the edge of incredible change. Itâ€™s an explosion of all the good new things.
The new environment music industry is working:
New talent approaching (slicethepie, sellâ€™aâ€™band). Both companies are leveraging punter leverages. Itâ€™s like fantasy football but with real band. You can invest 20 quid into the band and as they raise money they can get more famous and do better stuff.
Topspin.com – itâ€™s a cottage industry. Every artist just needs some online tools to promote yourself and theyâ€™re creating a platform for that.
Piracy – interact and consume. Piratebay/torrents, napster as a streaming service and what Radiohead is doing in the download space.
Discovery tools – last.fm, Pandora, AOL music etc. One llama – plasma view/their own point of view on how music connect to each other.
Blogging – MySpace, imeem, The Hype Machine, Music Bloggers United, Digital meltdown, Dr. Schlussâ€™s Garage of Psychedelic Obscurities
The bottom line is: there lots of new business models. This is a classical long tail market and there are plenty â€œWeb 2.0â€ opportunities in music space.
While the superstars are still important, the general trend is showing that national/regional artists are growing in relative to big guys. But they are big brands, and they can talk to old media. They also work with brick & mortar stores.
There is a new interesting place: â€œCutting edge obscurityâ€.