Monday, September 14

Blockbuster Music?

Would it be a good idea to rent music? I dwell on this idea from time to time thinking how this concept would work. The filming and gaming industry have surpassed the music industry by leaps and bounds when it comes to innovation and understanding what their core audience wants: quality. With the filming industry releasing HD, soon to be 3D, DVDs and the gaming industry producing games that are more realistic, engaging, and interactive, this leaves me to question; what is the record industry going to do for its core audience?

Again, using the filming and gaming industry as an example, for over a decade we have been able to go to Blockbuster and rent movies and games. We can test out the products for $4.95/each and if we like, we may purchase it, but we’re not obligated to. Even though the filming industry is a victim to the pirating that has raped the record industry, they still manage to pull through. With sites such as Hulu, it’s safe to say that they understand that times are changing and are willing to embrace change. On the contrary, the record industry still hasn’t answered the call.

So would a Blockbuster Music concept work for the record industry? Well, let’s walk through some scenarios to come to a conclusion.

Scenario #1. I walk into Blockbuster music and go through the endless aisles of music. I find a couple of CDs that I read about in a magazine and decide I want to see if I like. So I pay $4.95 for both and off I go to listen to them. Four days later I return both and decide to purchase one of the CDs.

There are numerous rental options for this scenario. You can walk into the store, rent through the mail (i.e. Netflix), or you can rent and download DRM MP3s. With this scenario, in general, I’m able to get the full experience of the CD instead of :30 second snippets. Would this scenario boost sales?

Scenario #2. Instead of paying $4.95 per rental; how about $9.95 for unlimited access? This concept is still in its infancy stages. With such offers such as Nokia’s “Comes With Music”, which has been delayed until 2010 for US subscribers, who knows what this would mean for the record industry. However, if we were able to have this setup at Blockbuster Music with the same options as Scenario # 1 (walk-ins, mail-ins, and digital downloads), would this in turn boost sales?

Even though there is proof that file sharing and online streaming boosts music sales ( case study); when will the record industry begin to embrace change like the filming and gaming industry have done? When will they let go of the past and begin experimenting with new business models and approaches?

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