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Entries by Frank Woodworth (4)

Tuesday
May012012

How to Begin a Career in the Music Industry: Advice to the graduating class of 2012

So the big day is fast approaching. You are leaving the ivory tower of college in a few weeks and are about to enter the work force. Most likely the only thought on your mind is how to get a job.

The ideal is to have a job locked up and waiting for you before you graduate, so you can enjoy your last month at college. This is what all your friends in other majors are doing. The computer scientists are getting flown across the country and eating lobster. The engineers are meeting with on campus recruiters. The management and business students have already found a good position at the bank where they interned.

The music industry does not work this way. Very few companies hire in advance. Music companies are not structured to wait several months for an entry-level candidate to graduate college.  They hire when they need a body, not because there is an influx of new talent every spring, like some other industries. While this is frustrating, it actually creates a new opportunity.

Your goal as you enter the music industry should not be to find a job, but rather to develop a career. Getting your first job will be a byproduct of this process, but jobs are temporary and a career lasts a lifetime.

Think of your career development in four levels

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Wednesday
Feb082012

Unbundling the Album: A Business Case for Releasing Single Songs

There are many examples of the benefits of working in harmony with nature. When first venturing out beyond home a child is taught to walk with traffic. A carpenter achieves a cleaner result by going with the grain rather than against it. In sports a team succeeds by taking advantage of what the defense gives them, and there are countless other examples that express why it is better to work with the flow rather than push against it.  For the past ten years the recorded music industry has ignored this strategy, and stubbornly clung to a business model that is no longer in harmony with they way people consume music by predominantly releasing albums in a single song economy.  

According to Nielsen Soundscan, in 2011 there were 1.374 billion digital transactions last year. Of those only 103 million or 7.5 % were for albums. This means that approximately 1 out of 14 times a consumer went to buy music online last year they were purchased an album. First with Napster and MP3s, then iTunes and the iPod, and now with streaming services like Spotify and Turntable.fm—the music consumer has repeatedly demonstrated that they prefer single songs to albums. Despite this fact, nearly 77,000 albums were released last year.

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Thursday
Oct062011

Spotiwhy? : Are Subscription Music Services a Sustainable Business Model?

This essay is neither for nor against subscription music services, and will focus on answering four questions. 1) What is the revenue potential for subscription music services? 2) What are the most likely rates per stream? 3) How much money can an artist expect to make from subscription music? 4) Is a compulsory rate a sustainable business model?

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Friday
Jul082011

How to Structure a Company to Succeed in the Current Music Industry

Much of the talk about the music industry in recent days focuses on future transformative changes in the way music is consumed. Will it be streaming or downloads. Will we be listening to music files from an app or from a cloud, and if so, who will own that cloud? The possibilities for content in the future are limited only by technology we create, and there will be even more changes down the road that are hard to imagine at this point in time. It is a very interesting discussion. Lost in this discussion, however, are the possible transformative changes in the companies that develop the artists that will make music in the new system, and how they can be positioned to easily change revenue models as technology changes the way content is presented.

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