The Music Void managed to make three panels today as well as video interview six senior industry executives. The first panel was focused on examining the new business models evolving in the fast-moving digital realm. The second was titled “off the Virtual Shelf” and provided views from digital retailers. The third and final panel provided both a major and indie label view of the pros and cons of 360-degree deals. Finally, we also managed to secure a last-minute video interview with Angel Gambino the Ex Global VP of Music at Bebo, so keep your ears to the ground for when that will be posted on the blog.
The “New Kids on the Block” panel focused on the new innovative digital music business models, which have taken off in the last year or so. There was lots of talk about music recommendation and filtering/editing to enable consumers ease of use when sifting through the millions of music tracks available online. However, what stood out for me the most was this statement from Pim Betist founder of unique website and business model sellaband.com “music is emotion”, it has been too long since I have heard a music executive use music and emotion in the same sentence.
Andrew Martyn, CEO of Mubito asked the audience if any of them had a problem with finding the music they like online. Not one person in the audience put their hand up. What does this signify? In my mind it signifies that the need for filtering/editing of music online has been overplayed by the businesses with a vested interest in selling their solutions to digital retailers. Angel Gambino who very recently left Bebo stated that there were over 1 billion video views per month on Bebo alone and that surely there is a business model that can capitalize on that.
The next panel I made it was the digital retailers view on how what was a traditionally a physical retail business succeeds. It was stated that demand-based model pioneered by Radiohead was viable and that Warner music had been testing the waters using it. But it was clearly not sustainable for new up and coming artists. The advertising funded model was discussed and despite huge CPMs the scale was not there in terms of revenue.
A poignant statement was made that although it can be viable the ad-funded model “is no THE answer, it is an answer” to the new opportunities. Licensing was also mentioned as a key issue, with Shelly Taylor from All Dig Down stating that performing rights societies caused “fundamental problems”. And whilst I agree there are problems these new digital retail models do need to work within certain licensing restraints.
As I have previously stated these new retail models also need to demonstrate that they have sustainability in terms of paying fees the music business is used to receiving for the sale of music. The final panel attended was focused on the reasons behind why labels were now pursuing 360-degree models. Discussion on profit and loss was a familiar theme throughout this panel. Federico Bolza from Sony BMG stated that the “general consensus is that indie labels are better and more efficient on tighter budgets than major labels”.
With the figures being stated in the panel that 90% of marketing campaigns failed in terms of major labels in comparison to 70% of them being successful in terms of indie labels one would have to agree with the previous statement. A great area discussed was also how does the recorded music business measure success? The question is can 360-degree models enhance the artist offering in terms of creative output? And on that note, I will leave you all to ponder that question.