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« How to Book a Tour: Unconventional Advice | Main | Musician's Arsenal: Killer Apps, Tools and Sites - GigFunder »
Tuesday
May152012

Why Music is Less Valuable Than Expertise and Information...?

Today had me thinking about two questions that i want to address with you… Is music less valuable than expertise and quality information? And is this why music cannot be sold for high prices?

Unfortunately, just knowing something, or having experienced something, doesn’t mean all that much. At least in terms of creating and adding value to peoples lives. Although there are many things that you can grasp and understand creatively and in the realms of your own thinking, this is NOT where the value comes from. With any content that you create, whether its an article, a book, a program, or a song… The value doesn’t come from your knowledge, the value is created by you speaking directly to an immediately recognizable issue/thought or feeling. With information products, you then of course uncover the solutions that you’ve found and explain how people can use them to improve some aspect of their lives or business.

Since art, (in our case music) at its very nature is highly subjective, it is obviously different in the way it creates value for people. The only requisite here is that it speaks to someone or resonates in some way , shape, or form. The solution can sometimes be offered in a freshly illustrated perspective that could be helpful, but it’s more about recognition and feeling understood.

Is this why music cannot be sold for $2,000? Because it is not valuable in a practical way…What do you think?

It is perhaps the reason why music must be sold in volume to make any real profits. The fact is, that you are selling a subjective experience to each individual.

So, then begs the question, how do you use your creativity, talent and musical skills to increase profitibility and would you if you knew how?

Do you think you could create something that would provide value to someone else’s life to the extent that they would pay you for it, and that could pay for you to explore and continue to have fun making and performing your music?

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Jamie Leger is an Independent Singer Songwriter, and Internet Business Coach for experts and creative professionals. He specializes in helping people turn their knowledge and experience into high value products and programs and a real business. He has been making music in his home recording studio and writing content for various online publications since 2004. Please enjoy his free guide for how to setup a home recording studio.

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Reader Comments (8)

Jamie,

Some great points in here, and I have a feeling there will be many, many different and as you mentioned SUBJECTIVE answers to an overall subjective question.

The fact of the matter is at this point in time even the idea that music as a tangible product is being decommodified due to things like format change is a completely subjective concept. To some, music is still either purchased or not (the value is still dictated by the sticker price), to others they would never even think of buying something that they could acquire for free otherwise.

As far as someone spending $2,000 on music? It happens on a daily basis, but again this is about value to an individual, not the market on the whole. To the person who spent the $2,000 this was absolutely practical whether it is due to the personal sentimental value to them or the potential monetary value of the investment.

In the end value will be dictated by the consumer, and the artist will only be able to figure out where that value actually lies by trial and error, trying different methods and means to monetize their art and own personal brand.

Perhaps their music isn't worth a dime to their fans, but t shirts, the shows, the posters, autographs, personal notes or a private performance at their house are. Through things like Kickstarter and Pledgemusic we're seeing new ways to create and derive value.

I believe moving forward artists need to completely let go of the old paradigm of "selling in volume", we need to embrace a more post industrial ideology where perhaps it's the provision of services, along with the production of goods that powers our own "human capital".

That capital can, and does already manifest itself in the form of the enjoyment and inspiration that fans garner from the art and products artists put forth, both tangible and non tangible.

May 15 | Unregistered Commentergaetano

Considering that we sold a SpecialLimitedEditionBoxset.com "Music that Changes the World" during RSD for 149.99 and it's on ebay for $229-300 bucks there does seem to be value in music~ it's just way you package it.

FYI a charity will make most of the profit from this release so it's a win win and expect to seem more of this from the Altavoz Family,

May 15 | Unregistered CommenterNelson

"Do you think you could create something that would provide value to someone else’s life to the extent that they would pay you for it, and that could pay for you to explore and continue to have fun making and performing your music?"

Yes...
but I don't know how to go about it. I am stuck in the middle of the music connection cloud - the one that inevitably draws you in like the little raindrop you are and then you are this solid mass of people who have all befriended and fanned each other... hate to say it like this, but the whole thing is a circle jerk. I am still in that cloud, gaining numbers, "making contacts", filling up my twitter, facebook friends....... but that is all pretty much pointless, as I am seeing. Because I am networking with all the people who are DOING THE NETWORKING. They are advertising. What's the point in being in that cloud? It's so useless; when the bottom falls out of that cloud, each of them are going to fall to the ground and the earth will be flooded with their music and then it will drain and their will be no remnant. I don't want to be a rain drop... I want to be an asteroid! I want to leave such an impression on the earth that the impact alone makes magnetic north skip a few notches! People should be in awe, and inspired, and despite the horrifying experience of seeing someone blast onto the scene, yet, they still must go look at the scene for their selves because - wow - what a big impression has been left by that asteroid...

But....how? I am been thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking and I just don't know how to make that impression on people without doing something that is against my better judgment and beliefs. I will rot before I sacrifice my beliefs.

I am Bardd, the raindrop, refracting just a pin-thin ray of light in your eye before I fall to the ground and die.

Unlike practical information that people can theoretically use to change their lives for the better on a long-term basis, art is a temporary pleasure that doesn't change the lives of most people (other musicians being one of the exceptions). Unless you're talking about a collector who wants to own original masters of certain artists (but who would sell those anyway?), even the most diehard fans are limited in what they will pay for a recording. And the record companies didn't help matters when CDs came out and prices jumped from around $5 for a vinyl album to $20 for the same thing on CD.

Some kinds of art, like paintings and sculpture, can be sold for high prices because they are painted by famous artists and/or can be displayed as status objects, something you can't do with music, unless you create some kind of package around the recording that includes some kind of special experience or community or collector's item. But even then, it's not going to sell for thousands of dollars and it isn't scalable.

What you can do with music that you can't do with painting is offer an exceptional live experience and sense of community--something the Grateful Dead excelled at and prospered financially from while allowing fans to freely share the recordings and help evangelize new fans. Or what Amanda Palmer is doing by giving fans a personal connection to her through her use of social media.

Or have some kind of persona like Kiss did and sell all kinds of merchandise around that, though one could argue that in their case the music was secondary to the marketing. When you look at every successful band/artist of the past, though, there was a marketing machine behind them even if wasn't as blatant as Kiss's. The difference today is that most artists have to do the marketing themselves or not have it done at all, and many of the ones over 30 resent it because when they formed their fantasy of succeeding in music all that was still a chance of being able to have that outside infrastructure doing it for you.

May 15 | Unregistered CommenterAnnabel

Could it be that the major music industry has simply wrenched every nickel they can out of the same batch of songs that the public has heard so many times that it is now worthless? I saw Dark Shadows tonight and I thought two different things when I listened to the music. First, I thought about how interesting it is how certain pieces of music can instantly transport a listener back to a different time period and how certain song seem to just represent those times eternally. Secondly, I thought about how odd it is to keep hearing the same songs over and over and over again and how it makes me as a listener not want to hear it anymore, decreasing the value of it. It's kind of like if you spent the first twenty years of your life never seeing the moon. Then, on your 21st birthday you step outside to behold the most wonderous, shinning object in the sky. You,d be amazed and in awe, but after time went by your interest in it would dissipate and with each time you look upon it you'd find less interest until one day you just completely take it for granted even though if it weren't for that object life as we know it would not exist.

So really, the major music industry has just gotten to the point that they have over exposed their own product to the point that even though it is worth something, people's interest has waned and they no longer consider it of great value or importance anymore.

Free album download at www.facebook.com/chancius

May 15 | Unregistered CommenterChancius

Hello and i agree what you mentioned in your blog post about why Music is Less Valuable than Expertise and Information...?.
i personally think people don’t appreciate music any more because of the internet and all the illegal downloads!
Music is my life and i still buy my vinyl records!
Music: less valuable than expertise and quality information?
Yes We Lost It All!
Great article to get people thinking and keep the good work up:)

May 16 | Unregistered CommenterMusic-Mike

And herein lies an amazing paradox - how does one monetize the expertise of teaching music? Sounds simple doesn't it? Tune in for an amazing new idea from discover learn and play.com - learn how 'giving' away the expertise in the (music) learning process actually makes sense (and dollars), how music publishers missed the boat, and how we are on the verge of a new era in music and music education.

@Chancius - the moon's pretty impressive but surely the most wondrous object in the sky is the Sun?
@Tarzan - you've got a chance, your ego is obviously meteor-sized, best of luck

@Annabel - all very insightful stuff, have you thought about writing some articles?

Don't get depressed, tempting as it is; keep making better music.

June 22 | Unregistered Commenterdaz nez

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