How the music industry should react

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 12, 2005
Updated • Apr 29, 2013
Music, Music and Video

The outrage from the internet community about Sony's "rootkit" CD technology is still fresh and spreading like fire on the Internet. I always thought that a business should try to please it customers in the first hand, because that's what makes the customers come back.

Its obvious that the music industry has an image problem, especially when someone asks on the Internet as the community seems to be more in-the-know and more inclined to use music in different ways than other consumer groups. My article takes a look at possible solutions for the music industry. How should they react and what should they avoid in the future ?

Criminalizing the customers:

First of all, the music industry should avoid criminalizing their own customers. What sense does it make to ramble about internet piracy and p2p without knowing the reasons behind this phenomenon? Let us take a short look at the Film Industry which has obviously the same problems and takes the same stance as the Music Industry.

If you go to watch a movie one of the first spots you will see in my country is two men who are new in jail and led to their prison cell. Two bad looking inmates muster them. One of them says with a big grin: "Again internet pirates, nice asses" .

Now, explain this to your five year old daughter with whom you went out to watch the newest Disney movie..

The music industry lacks the ability to present its customers spots like this, but they use the media to spread the never ceasing rumor that internet pirates are the source for their revenue losses.

The point is: Why the hell are they criminalizing their customers and not the really bad guys out there. Those that produce copies in factories, that trade and sell them in large capacities? I think there should be drawn a line between people who sell copied music for profit and those who trade music in small quantities.

The only answer I came up with is: Fear.

They fear that internet trade would get out of hand, that this would lead to serious revenue losses and the decline of the music industry.

The right concept.

Its questionable to me if they pursue the right strategy. I thought a while how I would handle the situation and I came up with this concept.

Instead of fearing the internet they will have to use it to their advantage. First, they should start by concentrating on the real law breakers, the ones who make a profit in selling copied music CDs.

I always thought it fascinating that the MI see trading as purely evil, that they did not see the advantages in the system. I wonder why they never created surveys about it. Is it true that people who trade music in small numbers don´t buy it anymore? Couldn't it also be that those people buy more music because of this additional sources of inspiration?

In my opinion the MI should remove all copy protections and DRM from their CDs and music files to make it more customer friendly. Will people copy more music, yes they will. Will people buy less music due to this, not necessarily.

In this regard the Music Industry has to create internet portals where its customers are able to buy music efficiently. That means:

  • No DRM
  • The choice between different formats and bit rates
  • The ability to purchase song packs and flatrates to reduced prices
  • A good price scheme, 99 cents are in my opinion to expensive, lets talk about 49 cents or even 25
  • The option to buy the music CD for a reduced price if you bought one or more songs from it online.
  • The ability to listen to music online
  • Building a community. People post reviews and get free downloads for it, people post comments, recommendations etc.
  • The ability to order a CD burned with the songs one selected. With the choice to create a specific inlet and label. For a price of course
  • A good selection of music, to please most consumers. Only offering music from the last 10 years and some classics is definitely not enough.

There are probably more features but I think this would be a big step in the right direction, to normalize the relation between MI and its customers.

Most people simply need a good reliable and legal source for buying music online. iTunes is a good start but has many flaws that frightens customers.


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