Broken Distribution


The industry has been over due for a new distribution pattern for many years.  I attended a music industry conference a few years back that was to transform the music industry, or at least that’s how it was advertised.

There were many industry heavy weights at this conference.  I was eager to hear the great solutions coming from the industry vets that I looked up to and were role models to me.  There were two industry giants at the conference that I wanted to talk to about my idea for an online platform.  While everyone broke for lunch, I decided to stick around, because the person I wanted to meet with was speaking after lunch.  The first industry vet I ran into did not want to talk; he was the least powerful out of the two.  After the room cleared, the two speakers began talking back and forth and you could definitely tell that they did not care for each other.  It was interesting to see the two men interact.  When I finally had the chance to speak with the other industry vet, he was happy to listen and lend his ear.  He gave solid input on my idea.

I believe my idea would transform the music industry as a whole.  The idea was an online platform that would combine A&R and distribution.  The platform would have an A&R staff to pick the artists that were sound acts.  They would weed out the artists that did not meet the guidelines of the platform to be featured on the site.

The consumers would then buy and support the artist that they like.   The artist that had the highest sales would be signed to a contract and take the risk and guesswork from the record labels.  The cost would be low to the labels and production would cost the artist, not the label.  A demo is the truest form of showcasing talent, one must understand that scouting new talent is a costly process and harder to make a profit with an already saturated market.  Consumers would then be able to purchase artist or group’s demos from the platform.  Artists with the lowest downloads per week would then be replaced by a new artist.  This idea would not only help labels and artists by generating a profit, but it would take the calculated risks away from the labels.  Record labels then could analyze the sales generated from the platform to project future sales. The labels would then pick and choose the artist or groups that they would like to sign.

The main objective of the platform is to generate a profit with little to no overhead. Labels are spending 40-45% of revenue on developing and scouting new talent and the platform would drastically reduce this cost by 20-25%.

At the conference they spoke of streaming and music subscription services, hardly new topics to the industry.  I knew then and there these services were not the answer to the problems of the industry.  The conference was like a going to an auto show and the big reveal was only an SUV.


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