Thursday, May 21

Changing the Economics of How the Game Is Played

The well-known quote from Ghandi rings true in my head as I dwell on the theme for this post – “You must become the change you wish to see in the world.” The call for change resonated with the election of President Obama and the people took to heart the message. In order to see change, we must be willing to embrace the challenges that lie ahead and accept our responsibilities. Within the music community, there’s a strong cry for change. From asking for more support from the music fans to wanting more quality and substance from music artists and demanding better treatment and fairness from record labels. Being that the music artist is the central figure in the overall scheme of things, let’s concentrate on the need for creativity, quality and substance. I was reading a post by Tim Feriss, author of the book, “The 4-Hour Workweek”, entitled, “Start-up Strategy: To Change the Game, Change the Economics of How It’s Played”. Within the post he references a book entitled, “Rules of Thumb” by Alan Webber and the significance of changing the economics of how the game is played. He mentions Jerry Garcia, manager for the Grateful Dead and how he created the first social network in the seventies. His principle: “You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do,” earned him the position as one of the top management gurus of all time. At the time, (and it’s still relevant today), you weren’t allowed to take photos or record live performances. The Grateful Dead’s strategy allowed fans to take photos, record live performances and bootleg their material. The Grateful Dead isn’t known for selling records, but they are known for their massive following of dedicated fans. The band made their money from selling merchandise. Giving their fans permission to share live recordings and photos put them in a category by themselves. I’m not writing this post to say we need to adopt the “give your music away for free” model. I made clear that that trend is dead in my previous post. What I’m saying is that we need to think beyond trying to be the best and figure out how we can change the economics of the music industry. As Murs said on his latest album, “Murs For President”, the "Time Is Now" for us to change the way we perceive music. We need not depend on the traditional way of doing things. As we can see, the music empire of the past is falling. After you finish reading this post, think of ways you can be considered “the only ones who do what you do.”

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