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It’s about time…

Fred Wilson pointed out a New York Times article about one major label considering releasing tracks as MP3 files, which, ironically enough, seems to be the format their customers would like. Huh. Imagine that. The music industry looking out for its customers. Who woulda thunk it? Chris Hedgecock and Jeremiah Foster at O’Reilly each provide interesting analysis of the article as well. Foster, in particular, wonders about such a move’s impact to iTunes. Definitely worth keeping an eye on that.

As I noted in July and even earlier, the music industry has shot itself in the foot repeatedly over how it prevents its customers from consuming its product. This may signal a sea change for all producers of intellectual property with limited distribution costs. Chris Anderson, who thinks about these changing models far more often and far better than I do, picked apart one label’s point of view earlier this week. Check out his book, “The Long Tail,” for more on this. It’s well worth the read.

No one argues that content creators deserve compensation for their creation. I run AdSense ads and use an Amazon affiliate ID to help pay my costs here, for instance. But fundamentally preventing your customers from accessing your creation in ways that they choose is simply dumb business. Google has shown repeatedly that you can monetize content in a number of ways. It’s time for the music industry to wake up to a new reality and figure out new ways to:

  1. Satisfy its customers
  2. Promote its product
  3. Turn a profit doing it

Huh. That sounds almost like a real business, doesn’t it? We can only hope.

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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