2008 is shaping up to be a dodgy one for music companies. They previously were the ones responsible for distributing music, copying tapes/cds/dvds etc, printing the covers, distributing it to retail outlets, publicity etc.
Now, which of those functions cannot be performed by the bands themselves? via digital distribution. Distribution is is simple, stick it on a website, copying is no longer an issue, you dont need to print anything, and retail outlets are going the way of the dinosaur.
so whats left for music companies? where is their value-add?
and terabyte dvds are on the way, probably by 2010. at 5meg per song, a single dvd bought off your mate can contain 300,000 songs. at 3 minutes a song, thats 625 of music, 24hours a day. A radio station could be run off one dvd set to shuffle, and play 24 hours a day, no repeats. Why doesnt someone set up a radio station like that? Put commercials every 30minutes or so. No announcers, just music. Seems like a pretty good plan!
Anyway, music will go back to its roots. bands doing what they do because they love it. and music companies will be relegated to advertising agencies, driving people to the iTunes store, or amazon. There will only be money in performing, because music itself will essentially be free. Like the bards of old, when people copied their songs, they didnt get paid, they just made more money when they performed because of their fame.
to relate this tale to something I am doing, getstaffed.com is working on a similar concept. Taking an industry and saying “You charge a lot, thats fine, what do I get for that?”. Airlines have done this with travel plans, and some travel agencies are doing well as they increase their value-add. getstaffed is about allowing that low-cost alternative, which currently doesnt exist in recruitment.
since I am wandering a bit off topic, heres a question: how does a company like getstaffed overcome the inertia that companies have, their desire to do things the same way as its always been done? This particularly seems to be a problem with govt departments. Any ideas?