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Corporate greed—that’s easy to criticize. But, now I’m asking you to offer solutions.
LENNYBEERBLOG: HOW DID THIS NIGHTMARE HAPPEN? PT. 2
Who Gets the Blame, and What Is the Answer...
If an Answer Exists?
Last week's entry on the decline of the music business really struck a nerve with this column's readership. The outpouring of responses was surprising, as was the overall sameness of the themes. Most blame the industry's predicament on large corporations—the ones that took over the record companies and the ones that control radio, taking the biggest hits. Let's examine each.

First, record companies used to DEVELOP ARTISTS, over time and throughout the calendar year. The mantra would be to spend and break the record over the first three quarters of a year and then cash in on the results in the heavily-trafficked fourth quarter. Also, a multi-album strategy was the norm, wherein an artist would achieve artistic success on a first album and commercial success in the second or third go-around. The takeover by big corporations created the need to achieve quarterly profits and then month to month profits to appease Wall Street. So the necessity to score and score quickly turned the culture on its head. There would be no more success stories like that of Bruce Springsteen, a critical darling who grew with each release and who didn't deliver profits until album three. These days, if an artist is not "on the boards" with the first release, there will rarely be a second and almost never a third turn at bat. So, the culture of A&R changed and evolved with the need to achieve immediate success and the talent scouts weren't looking as much for pure talent as they were and are for the big hit single and instant gratification.

Concurrently, the conglomeration at radio led to more of a national than a local radio strategy. Instead of being able to break and develop artists in markets or regions, the sameness of radio pushed the game further and further toward the national hit single that would instantly call out and deliver. The stations, like the record companies, were and are also being judged by short-term success, which resulted in programmers taking fewer chances and having to justify to corporate every song they added to playlists. Additionally, in an effort to chase national advertising buys, the stations all began to program to the older buyer and ward off teens. And, as we know, the older we get, the less new music becomes a priority in our lives. So, as time went on, new and innovative sounds practically disappeared from America’s airwaves. And as radio moved away from the younger audience, this audience grew up without radio as their friend and adopted other means of satisfying their entertainment needs. Radio needed the quick and instant gratification hit singles as well as more familiarity of programming, so they increased the mixture of recurrents and pushed back the priority of breaking new music. Hence, more than any loyalty to hit artists and appreciation for talent, they converged with the new A&R culture around songs and one-hit wonders to fill in around the comfortable proven hits that created audience comfort with the familiar.

And then the future hit. The Internet soared and took time and focus away from the music. Videogames became the new generation's best friend. Social networking became all the rage. Television offered more choices, and TiVo let you watch what you wanted when you wanted. Whereas generations had previously been defined by their "record collections," people now had unlimited choices besides music and the radio, and they took them. One generation learned how to find and steal music online and then taught their younger siblings the ropes. And while all this was going on, the leaders of the record companies, who were so obsessed with their short-term bottom lines, were unable to deal with the macro issues of how to plan for the future. And the future is an easy thing to ignore, while the present presents the pressure to succeed NOW.

And so we are in an awful mess. The consumer eventually realized what was going on, that individual songs had become far more alluring than bodies of work, and iTunes confirmed that assumption and gave them the choice to cherry-pick songs instead of albums, causing the current near-apocalyptic outcome.

So where do we go from here? It's easy to criticize, and many of you have. Corporate greed—that’s easy to criticize. But, now I’m asking you to offer solutions. Unfortunately, we cannot turn back the clock and change mistakes made in the past. How do we deal with the current nightmare scenario and turn it back into a thriving business? The one we all loved and were proud to be a part of. The one that made us excited to wake up in the morning and get in the game. The one that made us shun vacations because we didn't want to miss a moment. Hit us up at [email protected] and GIVE US SOLUTIONS. Enough wallowing. Forget criticizing for a damned minute and let's see if a way exists to turn this thing around.
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The iPod was a brilliant innovation. People LOVE their iPods. I go to Kroger and I see people shopping with white Apple buds in their ears. I see people listening to their iPods walking down the boulevard on my way to work. This wasn't the case with the Discman. People listen to more music more often now. There is greater interest in music than there has ever been. This is a humongous opportunity for the music industry.

The problem is the industry's refusal to adapt to changing consumer trends. Years ago, you would go on vacation and take three rolls of photos. Now you can take hundreds of digital photos... You can take each photo three times with no extra cost, and keep the one that turns out the best. You discard more, but in the end, you're more excited about what you keep.

It's the same with music. Music should be sold knowing that some of it is going to sit in some deep dark corner of a 160gb iPod hard drive. That's just how it goes. That brings the price down across the board, but volume skyrockets. And consumers have the ability to sift through more and eventually discover stuff that they LOVE. If we could price an iPod to be equal to a record collection, I don't think people would have a problem. That is, unless the crimes the RIAA has committed against consumers haven't turned some off to buying all together.

People buy the singles because the singles are the only ones worth anywhere near the asking price. And to the vast majority of people, even the single isn't worth it. (The amount of legally downloaded music, down 5% on average, reflects this.) We shouldn't be FORCING people to buy entire albums; they should WANT to buy entire albums because every song should be GOOD and the price should MAKE SENSE. Cherry-picking should produce extra revenue on top of album sales for songs like Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime." I'd never buy a Mungo Jerry album, but I would pay for that song.

People can only listen to so much music, but they want more. People can only afford so much music, but they want more. It's not that people refuse to pay, it's that there's no convenient service that offers high-quality files and doesn't feel like, as Trent Reznor put it, a Sam Goody. Oink has proven that people will volunteer money to a service that meets their needs. (This is an issue of quality, availability, price and intrusive internal marketing.) And this isn't necessarily gluttony, it's human nature to want more and technology is allowing this across the entire spectrum of entertainment.

It also would help if music were just better on the whole. Whoever said labels becoming parts of big corporations was the beginning of the end was dead on. If the price of music reflected its new value (in light of technological progress and its effects on how media is actually consumed) and people could learn to BELIEVE in music again, the amount of money coming into the industry would balloon. Then the execs would get full of themselves and we would start going downhill all over again. But I guess we'll just cross that bridge when/if we get there. For all I know, the industry (as we know it) may not see that day.

jcole
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Lenny,

My father, Mickey Eichner, always taught me that it was about great songs and great artistry. Don't panic and believe in what you are doing. Have conviction in what you are doing. You are so right in what you said, this is the greatest business in the world.  There is 
no business like show business. Music people need to seize the moment and stand up for what is right.  I know people fear losing  their jobs, but the past decade has shown that going along with the program eventually catches up to you. Companies can keep slashing jobs, corporations can keep pointing the finger of blame, but sooner or later, we have to make everyone understand we are all in this together. 

I remember growing up in this business and dreaming of being a part of it.  I started out as a junior A&R guy, and soaked up everything I could learn from seasoned pros. Going to the studio and honing the craft of record-making.  Talking to promotion, marketing, sales, publicity, and any other members of the label, to understand their needs and translate my vision for the artists that I was working with. Trying to bring a sense of ownership to the project.

It has dramatically changed the past 10 to 15 years. We lost focus about what we are doing.  Executives were more worried about their bonuses then building catalog.  It takes balls to stand up for what you believe in and it's time that we show we still have them. 

Music is more prevalent in the marketplace then ever; we just need to learn better ways to monezite our income streams. I firmly believe we will heal ourselves, but we need to appreciate some old-school ways. 

Our mantra at 785 Records is "Old School Values, New School Vision."  To me, that says it all. Artistry and songs are our life blood. Embrace artist development again. We need to all work together and believe in this business.  Hopefully, in this time of cynicism, it will shake out the non-believers, cleanse ourselves of people who think selling music is like selling any other product. 

We are different animals, we walk and talk differently then others, but that's what makes it work for us. The only way to change this is to get back to artist develop-ment. The small labels like 785 are carrying the torch, but the majors need to do it has well. Majors can align themselves with indies, like major league baseball's farm system. This would be a way for majors to be a part of artist development if they can't do it themselves. An indie can make a record for less money than a major. That's reality. An indie has less money to spend and will try harder to get a better deal. All this adds up. 

We need to be smart when we make records. It is so important to have A&R people who know how to make records. How to cast the proper people for the proper jobs. Not just going down the charts and saying, "He's hot, let's get him." Picking the right songs. That comes with experience and instinct. A&R is not just about being a talent scout; that is the easy part, making the record and then taking responsibility for that, is the critical part. 

I  love this business and I am damn proud to be apart of it, second generation.  It is now our time to heal ourselves, and take back our misunderstood business. We all need to have a sense of community again. We need to have apprenticeships again. Labels need to take the time to teach their young staffs.  Managers, agents and everyone else must do the same. 

There was a time not long ago, that if you were part of the CBS or Warner systems, you were trained well. We need to do that again.  It is so important for us to teach the young people of this business again. We are seeing the effects of a whole mid-level label management that has been eliminated a few years ago. 

As an industry, we have to all recognize that we are all in this together.  Labels need great artistry and songs... it starts and finishes there. Without that, radio, marketing, branding, touring and everything else, would not matter.

Warmest,
Mark Eichner
785 Records & Publishing
/Denise Rich Songs
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When motorized vehicles first became popular around 100 years ago, there was upheaval, finger-pointing, new laws challenging old laws, angst, anguish and gnashing of teeth. How will the nation's laws and infrastructure deal with the new technology? How will the horse and buggy establishment stay in business? Do these young daredevils have a right to speed and endanger life, limb and the pursuit of happiness? How will they be trained, supplied, regulated and held accountable?
 
It's really no different now with the far more efficient electronic transfer replacing physical recordings of music. The transportation industry and the music industry are both here to stay, but the Internet happened and (like the combustion engine), it's here to stay until the next new technology replaces it. 
 
It is NOT corporate greed, it's just corporations not responding well to their primary product becoming obsolete. Businesses that only added value by marketing and distributing CD's must change or go out of business like the buggy whip makers of old.  The solution is to add value to the electronic delivery of music, not sue to keep the cars off the road.
 
Specifics:
1. Billboard is still ranking songs and artists as if it's a horse race.  The entrepreneur (Lenny, take note) who comes up with and publishes a system more reflective of the electronic age has an opportunity to supplant it.
 
2. The single is back since there is no longer a need to fill up a physical medium (vinyl or CD) with 10-12 songs released at once. Successful companies will support singles.
 
3. Successful companies must have a creative and flexible Internet presence (duh...), and since musicians are usually lousy programmers, "artist support" businesses will be needed to support Internet marketing beyond what MySpace does now.
 
4. The Internet-based music industry can support far more working groups at a lower income instead of the old model of a few mega-stars. Successful businesses must service a broad range of musicians.
 
5. Niche-based music can now be profitable since the Internet can more effectively match musician to listeners. One survival strategy may be to serve customers around the world with similar if otherwise eclectic tastes. 
 
6. Hell, I thought of 1-5 just sitting here for a few minutes typing.  Solution 6 would be to challenge any corporation with a will to stay in business to come up with 100 more ways of adding value to a non-physical, Internet-based music industry.
 
Footnote: Will a few companies stay alive selling physical recordings? Sure. There are still horse and buggies in Central Park after all.
 
IamMusic
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Lenny:

There's a myriad of solutions needed for the industry to survive in any meaningful manner, and there will be others needed as technology moves forward at light speed.

But as for now, here's some immediate recommendations:

- Lower CD prices to: a) sell more units in a competitive marketplace where best-selling DVDs often sell for the same prices as CDs. When a title like Transformers comes out on DVD and can sell 8 million plus in one week, it's time to seriously rethink CD-pricing. And I'll bet that the demographics of the consumers buying those CDs are exactly the same demos the music industry wants; b) keep the disc format in the marketplace as long as possible while the transfer to online digital sales continues so revenuescan be maximized.

- Consider DVD Plus (and any other disc format enhancements) that elevate the audio experience for those consumers who do listen to music on good sound systems and not iPods. Also, market this format and educate the consumer as to the benefits of actually buying music in this format. All it takes is one listen to a great album in DVD Plus audio versus regular CD... it's like watching HD TV and comparing it to analog.

- Rally all the major-label leaders and their best creative people and tech people and try to set up a symposium of sorts with some of the best leaders at hi-tech companies to generate strategic partnerships which might result in real symbiotic relationships. If the RIAA was a meaningful industry association, they would have done this already several years ago instead of wasting precious time and resources filing a few hundred lawsuits monthly against downloaders.

- Re-invest in artist development and A&R and return to the strategic planning necessary to establish long-term artist careers, which in turn results in a healthy roster with depth of talent. What artists that have sold multi-platinum in the past decade will be able to sell out national tours 20-30 years from now like The Eagles do? Like Billy Joel, Elton John, Van Halen, Springsteen, Aerosmith, The Who, Bob Seger, etc., and others do? All of those great artists came out of labels that were rooted in developing talent for the long term. It seems those strategies worked. They can work again.

- Start utilizing real customer retention strategies like those already employed by airlines, restaurants, hotels, etc. I don't believe I ever heard the words "customer retention" in my 25 years working at two major labels. Times have changed. Selling the latest audio flavor-of-the-month isn't going to generate stability at any label or for the industry. It's a well-known fact that the cost of getting a new customer is higher than keeping the ones you already have. Establish databases (via online stores or artist websites) and start using creative marketing techniques to keep those customers coming back for more new music. Customer retention and relationship marketing works in every other industry and there's absolutely no reason why these strategies can't be put to good use in the industry.

- Create long-term strategic partnerships and alliances. If ever there was a time for the music industry to seek symbiotic relationships, it's now. The formation of these partnerships is becoming a key component in all corporate thinking and has been talked about recently in leading business publications. This from Business Week: "...companies should expand beyond their existing resources through licensing arrangements, strategic alliances, and supplier relationships." From Fortune: "Alliances have become an integral part of contemporary strategic thinking."

The most beneficial type of partnering companies can engage in is partnering with other companies that can provide compelling benefits for their customers. If used properly, the partnerships can be used to gain customers, protect them from predation by competitors, and protect profit margins. Of course, opening the doors to create such alliances means "thinking outside of the box" more than ever. But the rewards can be extraordinary. Peter Drucker has said, "The greatest change in corporate culture, and the way business is being conducted, may be the accelerated growth of relationships based... on partnership."

- Re-invent marketing. Aside from the fact that marketing is a critical element in all business planning, marketing can generate revenues beyond expectations if utilized with creative strategy, planning, and execution. Marketing can provide long-term success beyond what one might expect with certain artists. Just ask Madonna. She's been a one-woman powerhouse marketing machine for several decades. She knew exactly what she was doing
and was brilliant at executing strategies for each and every album and successive tour. She "got it" in the biggest sense as well when so many others born from her MTV era faded faster than those old Polaroids you took.

- Embrace digital technology instead of fearing it. Yes, it's more difficult to generate the same profit margins by selling music online, but as more and more people do so, it will also mean decreased costs in disk manufacturing, shipping, returns, etc. The brave new world of digital technology offers as many opportunities as it does problems. But when one online store can sell 3 billion-plus songs (iTunes) and other online stores are on fire (Amazon.com), it's easy to see there's a whole lot of money to be made online. Utilize online stores to not only sell music, but music-related items such as: sheet music; instruments (again, think strategic
partnerships); licensed products with artists logos and brands, etc.

- Shift even more promotion and A&R strategies to online social networks, independent artist websites, etc. New talent is emerging from all over ONLINE, not on radio. This generation of music buyers and the ones below it, are NOT listening to the radio to hear new music or discover new talent. If you doubt it, do some focus groups in major cities. I have over the past few years and radio is not where they go to hear music. They turn on their computers, instant message each other about music they discover online and trade MP3s with each other to turn each other on.

I could go on and on, but this isn't a thesis, it's just some suggestions for how to start turning the ship around. It's not going to be easy to do so, but it must be done if anybody on this ship wants it to stay afloat much longer.

Steve Meyer
Las Vegas, NV
[email protected]
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It´s ART and all that shit! Hey Tim, you got it.

Pena Schmidt
Auditório Ibirapuera
Instituto Auditório Ibirapuera
São Paulo, Brazil
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First and foremost we must get rid of physical product. Inventory, distribution... All of this should be history in no time at all.

Record companies must be in the licensing business. Retail will sell CDs that will burn to order. Labels, publishers and artists will have to divide a $2/$3 licensing fee per CD. 
 
We have to develop new and exciting product... We should finally take 5.1 seriously and work alongside the eletronic companies to establish a standart of speakers for surround and invest on great surround mixes.
 
We need to have exceptional graphics on all physical product. 
 
Beni Borja
Rio, Brazil
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True artist development and marketing execs should be able to create brands and stop making bands. Brands have emotion, image and equity and resonate in a consumer's mind.  Radiohead is a brand, Bruce a brand, Pearl Jam a brand…Good Charlotte is a band,  and bands won’t last long in this current environment.  

Sincerely,
David F. Caruso
Acme Content Co.
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Lenny:

Corporate greed has never been so vibrant as that from the original Napster, Kazaa, Microsoft, Apple and now YouTube, MySpace, FaceBook, etc.

Bruce Springsteen was discovered by a legendary music middleman, who signed The Boss to Columbia Records, proclaiming, “I’ve seen the future of rock and roll!” (Ed. note: It was actually now-manager Jon Landau, not John Hammond, who uttered that immortal phrase). That eternal excitement of rap and rock music was jettisoned into the
digital age by video games, as columnist Phyllis Furman wrote in the New York Daily News, “The ties between music and video games have never been stronger... video games are now seen as a critical part of breaking new artists, in the same league as radio and MTV.” Or when Steve Schnur of EA stated ecstatically regarding the release of Madden 2006, "... consider that every song in the game will be heard and identified over one billion
times—bigger than the #1 record in every country around the world—and you have an event unprecedented in music history."

When the time came for the Internet to grasp the power of music,WIRED magazine trumpeted that it will be a world without record labels, "a post-label world, (where) musicians might find other ways to get this help, from the American Idol model to the Broadway show model." WIRED went on: "All of these models would produce fewer global superstars and more locally successful musicians."

The voice of Internet technology was proudly announcing that they were here to downsize the rock and roll industry… and that American Idol would replace the real icons of rap and rock.

While the technology press offers quote after quote proclaiming how the entertainment industry doesn't get it, most recording musicians understand that technology corporations don't get it. In exchange for removing DRM, technology must remove counterfeiting software. Technolgy having it both ways is terrorism on our industry by "greed-driven" people who have no understanding of music or artist rights.

Best,
David Bean
BeanBag1.com
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Lenny,

The answer is patience. Indie artists like Bright Eyes and The Arcade Fire have developed beautifully because they and the people around them were not trying to hit home runs, but have developed exactly the way Springsteen, R.E.M., etc., developed.

Billions of dollars of valuation has disappeared form the business and will not return over-night. To the extent that everyone involved, including the artists, can adjust to the fact that there is less money to go around, a smaller business revolving around "real" artists will grow and five years from now, some of them will be superstars. In fact, there is no question that this will happen--the only question is who among us will be around to be a part of it. And the answer is, a few geniuses, a few very lucky people and a lot of patient people.

Danny Goldberg
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Hi Lenny,
 
Let's face the music everybody. There is no turning back the clock here, to the "good ol" days." Just about every artist is now available for "free" online via P2P. The genie is out of the bottle, and we cannot do anything about that. And now we have a whole new generation of kids who think that music should be "free." So, in moving forward, I would suggest that artists and labels find some sort of common ground, and I don't think it's the "360'"deals that have been bandied about lately. Those artist, management, label "partnerships" are just another classic case of, "Well, our revenues are down with the current model, so now let's find a way to ream the artist once again," in order to hold onto the sinking ship. 
 
Labels must downsize, DRASTICALLY, and basically become what they used to hire out independently themselves, i.e., indie radio promo, indie publicity,  indie marketing promo, etc. Were they NOT doing their jobs? Of course, this notion will not go over well with the powers-that-be, but if I were an artist today, I would look to upstart independent A&R, marketing, promotion and publicity firms to handle it all. Major labels need to realize that this is indeed what they will have to become to survive, and artists will finally be able to choose what "system" works best for them, either "major label marketing, etc.," or the "mom and pop version."
 
Kind of like "canned goods" in times of  emergency, at least the majors will have their catalogs to ration off for themselves in the short term, easing the "starvation factor," but in terms of developing new artists in the long run, street-smart, innovative and savvy niche-driven companies will propagate. The majors brought this on themselves by turning a blind eye to technological advances, along with bloated excess and corporate greed.
 
It's funny how now that the barn door is open and Steve Jobs is ruling the roost, which has effectively forced major label "PressPlay" scenarios to be re-visited once again, in a last-ditch effort to save the burning house of cards. It seems that this time the majors will agree to at least form some sort of "common protectorate"  to force out Apple's dominance, although I am sure that the SEC and FCC will get involved  in any major-label collusion attempts. The chickens have come home to roost, and what a fine friggin' mess we have on our hands now.
 
Guy Eckstine
MIAATV.COM
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Hi Lenny:
 
I guess in sticking my neck out, I have had some odd reactions to my latest TalkMusicBiz video "Endorsement Deals vs. Record Deals."  It's based on Permission Marketing and bridging the gap between that "produced" artist and its fan base as well as directly participating with advertisers in a transparent way. Yea, no, maybe?
 
Love your writing!

George "Gibi" del Barrio
Advanced Media Marketing
www.pmg-international.com
 
The Most Effective Way To Deal With Change Is To Create It
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The solutions you seek have already been discussed ad nauseum.  Concisely there are four main points (in no particular order):  set realistic goals amid the current climate, execute financial responsibility, commit to long-term patience and continually create quality music.  That’s it; very simple stuff.

Anyone with half a brain already knows this and anyone with a full brain is already doing this. When you ask, “How do we deal with the current nightmare scenario and turn it back into a thriving business?” if by that you mean, "How do we go back to the old business model of making so much money at the major-label level that they could blow tons of cash, all have fat salaries, huge expense accounts, throw lavish parties, etc etc."? If that’s what you are really asking, the answer is: those days are never coming back. The only solution moving forward is to find ways to trim the fat, and make whatever profit you can. That’s it.

Now, it is true, as you have so eloquently put it, that the constraints of a corporate culture both at records and radio are such that the corporate bosses can actually stifle the things that are necessary to create the next huge-selling artist a la Bruce Springsteen (i.e. patience and artist development are killed in the greedy demand for quarter numbers). 

If these corporations continue on this path of foolishness, killing the long run in pursuit of short-term success, they may end up bankrupting every single major label. But there are many success stories out there right now of smaller companies “thriving” in this current climate. There are plenty of management companies, indie labels and management companies who also OPERATE indie labels who have all adapted to the “current nightmare scenario,” and are surviving and thriving. Here’s a thought for you: what if in the future, the “music business” were not dominated by four major music groups? What if there were, say, 100 mid-size indie music groups that all made moderate profits and “thrived”? This could be our future…

Either way, one thing is clear: We are witnessing a weeding-out process whereby, for one reason or another, anyone who is in this business for the wrong reason is getting out. And I, for one, am excited about that. These bad apples have been spoiling it for everyone for way too long and I say good riddance!

PS Lenny Beer, I love you because you have the same name as me.

Lenny LaSalandra
Combat Rock Promotion
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Instead of hiring young people to do their bidding, the labels have to actively listen and observe their behaviors, then try like hell to meet their desires as consumers of music. 

The label should not create platforms that are built under the guise of a cool site that dictates where and how you can listen to your music.

The artist, artist management, and their attorneys, who are the true content owners/providers, need to demand more creative contracts. 

The labels and publishers also need to reframe their agreements to reflect how the current market place operates.  Again they should not approach law firms with “new” contracts which are just schemes for the industry to revert back to 1950s cash grabs at artists' touring and merchandising revenue to save their business.

Jamison Antoine
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Enough of the blame game, let's fix it!

First and most importantly: Every major label must conduct yearly tours. If American Idol does it, then the majors should have a tour department that requires new artists and artists with albums due out for the calendar year to tour for promotion. The advances given to many of these acts SHOULD afford the recording company a one-to-two month tour commitment along with album delivery. This is how it was done in the Motown days, and it has to be done now. There are more than enough talented promoters that can work with labels to get this moving.

Team up with the magazine industry:  Each major should have a relationship with a group of print publishers which can distribute place cards for digital download offers. Millions of magazines and newspapers circulate monthly.

Move to direct online distribution of back catalog: If a buyer is looking for Mariah Carey’s first album, they should be able to go to her artist site or Sony BMG’s site and buy it direct. The reason why most people download illegally is because it’s hard to find catalog items in a store. Digital catalog items should be $5 or less.

Run focus groups: Go grab 30 people off the street every month, give them some pizza, $20 and a free CD and let them listen to your new music brewing… Let them vote on tunes and move with what the people like. Look at the “head nods” to the tunes and what makes them eat less pizza while listening. Don’t give them any artist names or anything, let them blindly tell you what they like and don’t like. This will take care of the music quality issues. Run this focus group in every stately location a label has an office.

I know what you’re saying by now, “All this is great, but SHOW US THE MONEY!”

Ok, here you go:

No cherry picking on new releases: Do not license new albums for individual track purchases. This is like buying a 2008 Mercedes Benz without the two back seats and two turn lights. Offer cherry-picking on catalog items only.

The big BOOM: Remember that big boom Lenny spoke about? What if I was to tell you that labels can get $15-60 a unit while people get albums for free? Our KodeKey solutions along with our partners at trialpay.com are providing this capability to our clients right now.

Partner with advertisers:  Every industry imports their revenue from advertising except the music industry. The cast of Friends made $1 million (each) per episode on a free TV network. Bundle $1,00,000,000 in collective advertising campaigns for every 1 million free albums distributed from a label. Record labels license the rights to market and promote music products, so use this right to maximize the profits while giving people what they want. Again, our KodeKey service makes this a breeze to facilitate.

If Apple can make retail cards, so can you: As the CD format continues to expire, retail locations are set to scale back floor space for the format. Gift cards are more popular than ever at retail stores and you can even find iTunes gift cards anywhere from Wal-Mart to your local supermarket. Why not sell your albums on plastic cards? The cost of manufacturing for plastic cards is only $0.07 per unit. And yes, our system does this, too.

There IS a bright day waiting for the music industry through this digital storm. They just need to pick up the right digital umbrella.

Many Regards,

William G. Blanchard
LAMbCast Ltd LAMbCase Division 
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I am sitting here after reading this edition of your blog and want to immediately reply to your call for a solution…but unfortunately, it’s not so easy. I will try (like most), but for now, I just want to immediately comment on how eloquent today’s blog was written by you… precise with no room to really disagree. Thank you for allowing discussions on such a passionate subject to be viewed by so many that care.

Tom Londo
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It has to get back to the music. Plain and simple. Good songs, regardless of genre, and vocals that don't sound like everybody else, regardless of genre.  That's the way it's always been and always will be, when you are talking about longevity and not instant gratification. 

I know it's art and all that shit, but anybody that has done anything that has stood the test of time has those two TANGIBLE elements. Good songs and good (effective) vocals.  You don't have to be a technically perfect singer, but unique (Willie Nelson, Dylan, Hendrix, Lucinda Williams, The BossJagger, Stipe, Cobain, Buckley, Dulli... the list is EXTREMELY long).  

The answers are in your article, it's just going to be the companies that don't take the short-sighted approach and get back to the music.  It's the music business.  If you're in the car business and  you sell shitty cars...I'll let you figure out the rest.

Thanks,
Tim
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