Music industry discovers: downloads = sales!
Photo © by: Leon BrooksI've written about the changes in music distribution before (here and here). And it seems like the music industry is (finally) catching on to this changing landscape as well... After years of sueing up- and downloaders of music they seem to have acknowledged that downloading is actually a feasable business-model! It "only" took the massive succes of Apple's iTunes (a computer company, remember?) to wake them up...
According to this post on Reuters, they're even considering free downloads to boost sales. Free samples to sell more, now there's a new marketing concept..... What bugs me most is that it seems to be a defensive model all over again: as Apple more or less rules the legal download market with iTunes, the music industry wants more leverage in negotiating. So they turn to Apple's competitors (like Amazon) to better their position. But it was their own fault they got in this position in the first place. Many entrepreneurs tried to offer legal music downloads, but were deterred by the high fees required by the license-holders. After all, mp3-players were around before the iPod, so the market was already there!
New technologies often pose a threat to old business models. This has been true for ages. So what do you do as a major player? It seems to me it's best to be one of the first to examine the new technology, even on a small scale. Looking for opportunity instead of looking for possible loss. Once you start fighting big changes instead of moving forward, you'll eventually lose. And it seems as if the corporate music industry finally figured this out. Of course, marketing-wise, this extends far beyond the music industry. The changes in communication-technology today will change business models for quite some time to come, I think. Social sites, social media are still only emerging technologies on the grand scale of things and they will bring their own changes, beyond those that are now perceived. My personal view from a marketing perspective: Public Relations will become the preferred marketing method in many cases. What do you think about opportunities that are arising? Share your views in the comments.