reason, media pundits are compelled to provide us with their 'pearls
of wisdom,' as if we knew any better than you what would unfold in
2003. I usually don't let them phase me until I read Loyd Case's
"8 Predictions and A Funeral" in ExtremeTech. Nothing of
particular that you couldn't find on other tech-site 'predictions'
lists, that is until I stumbled on the last one: For some
Doom Ringing for Majors? Predictions for 2003.
By Eric de Fontenay,
"I predict a major, mainstream music act will release
their latest CD on the Internet, selling directly to all those high
school and college kids and bypassing the traditional channels.
They'll sell a zillion copies, and the recording companies will
really hear the bells of doom ringing. "
Ok, one could be excused in '97 or '99 for making such bold
predictions (remember Michael Robertson as the 'Major Label Slayer,'
though now he seems content as the 'XBox Slayer'), but this is 2003!
While the major labels are not exactly 'doing dandy,' Napster is
dead, MP3.com & Emusic have been 'co-opted,' the rest buried,
and the majors (whether they be AOL/TW or Clear Channel) are sitting
pretty with all the crown jewels.
This prediction is driven by some misconception, nearly unique
to the music industry, that success can only be described as
multi-platinum. In the real business world, success is where you've
been able to improve your margin and sales by expanding demand,
cutting cost and upselling. If a business in today's environment can
boost sales or cut cost by 15%, they're hailed as the latest
business gurus. Hell, in my sector, survival is worn as a badge of
On that basis, thousands of independent artists have
succeeded by "bypassing the traditional channels" to grow
a larger fan base (market), vastly increase interaction with their
customers (cut cost/expand demand) and tap new revenue sources, all
thanks to the Internet. On that basis, the majors should already be
As for the "bells of doom ringing," the major
labels heard them quite a while back and have been busy responding
ever since through litigation, PR, lobbying,... you name it, they're
doing it. Even making their music available in ways they sweared
they'd never before allow, though not on the same terms as the
original 'revolutionaries'. The problem with Loyd's 8th prediction
is that it assumes that the labels will crumble all of a sudden,
with a big bang. True, when MP3.com, Napster and many others were at
their height, you could be excused for wondering. But today? Please!
Rather, I predict (if I may be so bold) that the "bells
of doom" will in fact be whispers of change, progressively and
inexorably nibbling at the cash-cows of many music industry
'institutions,' as well as taping entirely new and until now virgin
markets. And as they've been doing over the last year, the major
labels will continue to adjust to the new digital reality. We may
not agree with their approach, strategy or speed, but considering
where they're coming from, they can afford to make mistakes.
Provided by MusicDish Content Express (www.musicdish.com/syndication).
Copyright © Tag It 2003 (www.taggin.com)
- Republished with Permission