Article: 7 GREAT SOLUTIONS FOR TURNING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AROUND by urbanthreshold



The Music Industry is not dead! People just want to hear good music instead of the one dimensional form of music they’re being force fed..
Presently The American Real Estate industry is in dire straits. The Real estate industry has been flooded with an inferior product namely sub prime loans, which has resulted into a myriad of foreclosures and declining home values.

The phenomenon with in the Real Estate industry can be paralleled with the Music industry. The music industry is also in dire straits. This is especially the case for Rap music sales. Like the real estate industry, the music industry is being flooded with sub par product. Unfortunately for the music-buying public, the level of artistic quality inherent in the overall group of artists signed to major labels appears to be in a steep decline.

The major music companies have become publicly-owned mega-corporations that have abandoned artist development for bottom line, short-term financial results. The major labels are no longer in the business of producing music; Selling CDs is the primary mission. The hit driven majors have put quantity over quality. Nowadays, you don’t necessarily have to be a talented artist or musician to be successful. Hype or promotion can make a marginal artist appear to be talented. “The artist” has become a brand that is owned and operated by the label. The corporate labels have formulated a bland, one-dimensional form of Hip-hop to control and streamline their products and services.

The end result is consumer attrition or a declining consumer base. Music consumers have come to expect 1 or maybe 2 good songs on an album. Hence, they would rather illegally download a song or buy a bootleg of the album. In the past, rap music was something you heard and experienced – it was as much a social event as a purely musical one. Many Hip Hop fans are tired of the disposability of modern rap music . They want music with some substance and a product, which is free from the shackles of blind commercialism.The majority of today’s rap music lacks any social commentary.

(Moreover, If record sales continue to decline, the new paradigm will involve giving away music for free & revenue will be derived from sponsorships.)

In 2008, More than 115,000 albums were released, but only 110 sold more than 250,000 copies, a mere 1,500 topped 10,000 sales, and fewer than 6,000 cracked the 1,000 barrier -It increasingly appears that recordings will be more like advertisements for opportunities that actually do make money: live performances, merchandise, licensing to movies, commercials and video games, ring tones, etc.

What must be done to turn the music industry around:

1. Better Customer Service

In just about every other industry, the customer comes first. It is imperative that the major labels focus on customer service and give music consumers more options. In the case of urban music, there is a lot of quality Hip hop & R&B that is not being heard.The majors must let the consumers determine what is a “hit” song. This can be accomplished via contests, give aways, and marketing surveys. .The Music Industry is not dead! People just want to hear good music instead of the one dimensional form of music they’re being force fed..

2. Institute Creative Quality Control Measures as it relates to music releases.

There is a lost art of true musicianship and feeling for the music. The heart felt lyrics which were common place in the 50′s and 60′s are largely absent in today’s music market. Creative quality control is missing. There must be an emphasis on creating better crafted songs. The creative control must even extend to record stores and distributors. Record stores rarely listen to music placed there. They don’t care what the album sounds like; they only care if it sells.

3. Hire True Music Lovers:

Currently, the record labels are saturated with number crunchers who hide behind computers. The music industry is being ran by accountants and lawyers. The record labels must go back to hiring true music lovers and creative thinkers who are willing to take calculated risks.

4. Break the Radio Monopoly

The music industry is too radio driven. In the past radio stations were staffed with actual human DJs who played music they believed in. However, over the years the “true Dj’s” were replaced by personality jocks who push a button to start some Clear Channel playlist. The majors must abandon the payola system and work with grass roots organizations to bring diversity to the airwaves.

5. Embrace Technology

There is no doubt that the music industry must now embrace technology, because this is the only way that the existing industry leaders can stay competitive in the future. The rest of the world has changed and adapted – and the music industry must now step up and do the same.

6. Emphasize fair Dealing with Artists they Sign

The major record labels appear to be more interested in complete cost recoupment rather than fair dealing. And in an act of desperation, the majors have implemented 360 deals, whereby they will receive a cut of the artist’s merchandise, tours, CD sales, endorsements, etc.

The record company bankrolls the recording and handles the manufacturing, distribution, press, and promotion. The artist gets a royalty percentage after all those other costs are repaid. The label, in this scenario, owns the copyright to the recording.
Since artists share the costs of making the album, because these costs are recoupable from their royalties, they should also have joint ownership of the masters at some point.

7. Change Business Structure

The Record labels should move away from the CD format. The labels should move to an 80% digital distribution format, which will eliminate manufacturing costs. And as a result, they can pass the savings on to the consumers in terms of lower prices.

Obviously, the cost of these services, along with the record company’s overhead, accounts for a big part of CD prices. You, the buyer, are paying for all those trucks, those CD plants, those warehouses, and all that plastic. Theoretically, as many of these costs go away, they should no longer be charged to the consumer – or the artist.

The labels should only manufacture a limited number of special edition CD’s/DVD to be sold at concerts only. These special edition CD’s/DVD’s will contain bonus songs and behind the scenes footage of the artists. The price of the concert should include the cost of the CD/DVD, to ensure that each concert goer receives the special edition CD/DVD

Written By Jesse Atkinson. CEO of Urban Threshold Enterprises Inc. and Founder of The A&R Power Summit (www.TheARPowerSummit.com) and The Annual Underground Music Awards (www.UndergroundMusicAwards.com)

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