When animals in the wild don’t adapt quickly enough to their enviroment they either die or go extinct. Let’s take the healthy adult elephants who believe it or not have no natural predators except their inability to adapt to change. This complete ineptitude has dwindled them down to only 4 species faster than you can make a ivory necklace. There are the 3 mammal species and then there is the corporate elephant. For sake of conversation we will be discussing the demise of the corporate elephant that dominated the music industry for eons. Ok, maybe it was 50+ years but it still seemed like eons.
So the corporate elephants use to have the whole kingdom on lock down. How is that you ask? One word, Control.
First, you control the recordings by:
1) Owning all the studios that house the expensive equipment to make the ‘records’ with.
2) Owning all the copyrights to all the songs that are recorded (even though you didn’t write them) by using attorneys who are……well….ummm, versed in making up a language that is only decipherable by them and the Mayans.
Second, you control the distribution by owning all 4 distributors in the United States. This makes sure that no one gets out there and makes money in your system without you getting a piece of the pie.
Third, you control the ability to get these recordings to the masses.
1) Through the use of terrestrial radio you get your songs played (The Malcolm X way, “by any means necessary” (cough, payola, cough, cough), I’m just sayin’).
2) By having the Big Budgets to promote your product to the mass public.
How do you bring a product to the marketplace? You beat a massive media blitz into a frenzy until it’s equal to the second coming of the man himself doing a world tour. Then throw some hyperbole into the mix. Sprinkle a dash of testimonial endorsements from celebrities along with a smidgen of PR and Viola! Low and behold we have a smash hit.
That is until the tech (r)evolution comes along and turns that kingdom upside down like a Cirque du Soleil show at the county fair in Ohio. It brings with it the ability to publish, record and distribute from the desktop to the rest of the world quicker than a Muhammad Ali right hand. This ability plus the cost of admission to perform these tasks has been dramatically decreasing since the 90’s because the marching of technology keeps on going and going (Thanks to Moore’s Law and the Energizer Bunny). And it will not stop. Why? Because technology is the (r)evolution of the collective consciousness of humanity right now.
It’s the shear size that kept you on top of the musical food chain for so long and it is the exact thing that is bringing you closer to extinction everyday. You are starting to feel what the rest of the kingdom has known for a long time. If you don’t learn to adapt quickly to the changes in the environment then you will not survive for long. You can’t cry about (r)evolutions. They going to happen regardless of what you think and how hard you fight. This is just the natural way of things. If you can not change the course then you must find ways to avoid extinction.
Your response time has been too slow in adapting to the
environment-Internet. This is because your corporate world is dominated by too much hierarchy, that resembles a pyramid scheme all to well, and approvals through committees. This approval time is detrimental to your very survival. When the Internet is changing the daily landscape with its instantaneous charisma you can’t be taking a year to decide on what direction you should go. Your impulse/response time has to be under the legal limit in this age of consumerism ADHD. You can’t be intoxicated by your own self-importance at the wheel of your company, especially right now. So please pay attention to the road ahead because the one eyed approach isn’t going to get you back to where you came from.
You must open both your eyes to the possibility of engaging your users (customers or whatever you refer to them as) with content that opens up the legions of communities that exist without you already. You do not have control over the social media so you need to adapt or die the way of the Wooly Mammoth through the impending Ice Age of musical consumption. The word during this Ice Age is sharing. There is no hoarding during these desperate times. It will only make things worse because people will go and find it somewhere else. At this point you have EPICally FAILed in capturing the ADHD of the people and they will find someone else who will share and discuss openly with them through what is known as social networks. Some of these networks you may know about already and some you probably will never find out about. If you find yourself saying to someone in the company, “What is social networking?”, “It’s myspace right?” then please close your doors and end it. You have no time to play catch up at this point. You are extinct already.
Although this may seem like a call for your demise, it is not such. It is your final chance for survival. I believe you have a lot more to offer than sounding like someone’s grandfather on the front porch, “Back when I was your age we could sell millions of Cd’s.” Quit holding on to the past. It’s over. Your only chance is to develop relationships with those of us who are out here on the Internet and understand it’s potential in bringing people together.
We are not standing here idly waiting for you to join us. We are out here hustlin’ everything that makes us happy. We are filling the niche’s you leave for The Long Tail feeders of the world. We are building businesses on such markets until the day you realize you are no longer in control and We collectively are free. Free to explore new market potentials. Free to develop the music we want with the artists we love. Free to create long lasting, career building relationships with our bands, brands and fans.
So please do not go let yourselves go extinct like the Wooly Mammoth it is avoidable if you choose to adapt to the Internet and it’s circular networks of people. You just have to participate. We are waiting….
Defining the musical chairs of (R)evolution,