Category Archives: strategy

My Platform, Right or Wrong!

It was an early hero of the United States navy, Stephen Decatur, Jr., who gave the world the dubious chant of nationalist zealots, reportedly in an after dinner toast to, Our country – in her intercourse with foreign nations, may … Continue reading

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Record Labels! Beware of Fake Independence!

Giant corporate groups are a fairly recent development in the music industry. The most extraordinary and wonderful music has always been produced outside the city walls by innovative and committed independent record labels. Around 40% of recorded music industry value … Continue reading

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Pricing Music Fans in the New Data Economy

In 2003 digital artist Angie Waller released a wonderful project she called ‘Data Mining the Amazon’. Asked about it by art community Rhizome Waller offered the following: I was surprised that books about military battles and corporate takeovers pointed to the … Continue reading

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The Simple Maths of the New Music Industry

The pre-modern music industry could be navigated with some very simple maths. Bands made records, record labels sold them to shops. Wholesale revenue wasn’t that much more complicated than units x price. And what mattered to most bands was the size … Continue reading

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The Sadness of Crowds

Marillion’s 2001 release, Anoraknophobia, was a pun for a different age. Singer Steve Hogarth told the BBC in May of that year, “In those days everyone was pointing and laughing and calling us nerds. Now it’s the trendy thing to do.” They … Continue reading

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Streaming versus Downloads? The Fight is Far From Won

The recent decline in the music download market, coupled with an acceleration in the streaming revenue numbers, has led many to predict the kind of transition that saw the end of the cassette tape, or indeed the cart and horse. There … Continue reading

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Change How We Think First, Technology Second

Many years ago I was asked to discuss with the board of a trade association how the music industry was changing. One prominent executive summed up by saying “complexity has served us well”. A few days ago Spotify’s James Duffett-Smith … Continue reading

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Dear Music Industry, There is No Saviour Machine!

My beloved music industry is winding itself up again in one of its periodic pursuits of a saviour, and this time the lucky victim is the blockchain. It will go through much the same process as any of the other … Continue reading

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Two Ideas for a Bigger, Better Music Industry

We have come a long way in the music industry since the first faltering attempts to sell music online in the mid 1990s. A couple of personal anecdotes (names withheld to protect the guilty) from those years illustrate just how much music … Continue reading

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It’s a Playlist World. Time to Break the Lock-in!

Playlists are moving to the front and centre of music discovery and consumption. They alter the balance of power in the industry in some obvious, and some less obvious ways. So who is winning in a playlist world, and how … Continue reading

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