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Editors Blog, Future Opinion

Exploring the Future of Music Sales

090726 Future of Music Sales
I was a bit slower to dip my toe into the iPhone world (Jumped in when the 3GS came out in late 2009). But sometimes being a “later” adopter has its advantages. The obvious advantage is using a more matured (less buggy), a much more affordable and powerful product. There is another advantage, and that is having fresh eyes and seeing a hugely hyped product in a different way. In that moment, a new insight to the future came to mind. The day we as consumers can purchase a song at the moment of hearing it in our own environment of choice, on the radio or at a live concert with as little effort as possible, is the day we will most likely see the next surge in music sales.

The obvious vendor leading the race to deliver this new purchasing environment is that relatively new comer to the mobile phone market, Apple.  Think about it. They haven’t just delivered products or a service, they had already created that, and an entire distribution model. Music + iTunes + iPod has equalled phenomenal music sales.  The addition to the equation is the mobile phone iPhone. That enables “Easy” purchasing of music virtually ANYWHERE.

Reviving the Radio Broadcast Model

Are we facing the death of radio? Definately not. Are we facing the death of radio as we know it? Absolutely yes. (As discussed for television at the TV Production Seminar in 2009)

Current Senario: Imagine listening to your favorite radio station, and a song comes on for the first time, and you absolutely love it . In the old world, we would wait for that radio announcer to let us know the name of the song and who it was, so we could rush to our local record store. We would find that an ad would cut into the end of the song, and that by the time the announce finally comes on he/she makes no mention of the song. The radio experience becomes a negative one.

Future Senario 1: Imagine listening to the radio, and that “never heard before” song comes on. We look at our “radio” and the display shows the name of the artist and song, and there’s the option to purchase. That point of sale is at our location. We have the choice to purchase the track and forever have it on our playlist.

Future Senario 2: We are at a live music festival with over 20,000 of our closest friends. What a great experience, and we hear another song destined to be on our playlist. We turn to our mobile device, and as we’ve logged into the festival’s website (Or iPhone application for the Festival), and we have the opportunity to purchase what we just heard, a beautifully recorded and mixed. Nothing beats the live experience, though the official recording is our souvenir that takes us back to that place and time.

Radio can still win in this situation. They could become resellers of music as we hear it. They are perfectly positioned for this. There is still a basic human need for music that to be programmed for the listener, and also to hear the voice of an announcer, as well as comedy segments, news and interviews. Infact would it not be a better experience to listen to music that is funded by music sales, instead of crappy radio ads?

Recently, I downloaded an iPhone/iPod App for a Sydney Radio station, Nova.  The only thing really missing, is the ability to purchase the music as I hear it. Its all about the EXPERIENCE, and in this case, the purchasing experience, and making it simple and easy for me to purchase the music I want,  when I want and now where I want,. Even though this may be influenced and controlled by the music programming.

So if this becomes an easy, and affordable way to build my music library, I’m sure that I and 100’s of millions of others, will do the same. Power to the people, and hopefully more profits to the artists.

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About Jomar Reyes

Jomar Lectures in Creative Industries as well as Digital Media in Marketing at the Danish Institute of Studies Abroad. He also runs the Strategic Media Company, a corporate consultancy agency based in Copenhagen.

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