Wanted: New Media Business Models

As barriers crash, golden opportunities arise

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What we’re seeing on the Internet right now is a major upheaval of business models, a revolution that’s going to be viciously fought from both sides, by the newbies disrupting everything, and the old-world powers very upset at how the newbies are breaking down what were lucrative barriers for them.

That high marble tower the newspaper industry used to peer down from is crumbling. The music industry, or should I say last century’s music industry, that acted both as boon and filter of music, is also facing demise. No longer can a mighty few decide what is news for the masses to consume, and no longer can they decide who becomes an overnight sensation. After they spent billions, years, and enormous amounts of clout conglomerating and streamlining, the media world suddenly decentralized under their feet.
Old Guitar
It wasn’t just that the audience got tired of packaged news and packaged music and packaged choices—they did tire of that, relatively quickly—it was that the Internet provided the autonomy media companies had actively blocked. And they’re still trying to block it, still trying to turn it back to the old way.

I hate to quote a Vogon, but resistance is futile. They need new business models, not to reinforce old ones.

While they figure that out, it’s good news for upstarts, locals, small ventures, and nimble, creative types the old media world effectively blocked out in the past. The new guys are understanding and taking advantage of sites like YouTube. The decentralization YouTube spearheaded floods the market with competition, which something conglomerates over the years worked very hard to push away.

It’s their own fault. A music video is essentially a three-minute commercial for a band. The second the music industry start treating these promotional vehicles as anything but what they are was the minute people started rebelling. YouTube and sites like it just add another promotional channel and a very effective one at that.

That’s why I like this story about a Denver-based singer who says YouTube helped him go from playing tiny blues bars for, at most, hundreds, to playing for thousands. Joe Bonamassa says fans go to YouTube to check out local artists before wasting their energy to see them live. Meanwhile No Doubt gives away downloads with concert ticket purchases, and Lamb of God sells commerative CD/USB/Vinyl packages with tracks separating out drums, bass, and guitar for those who emulate them.

That’s innovation, man.


It’s starting to become hard to remember that it used to be different, that bands and musicians had to trek around in the wastelands of obscurity, hoping (usually in vain) to be discovered by some music giant. If that never happened, so many gave up to go into real estate and insurance sales—I’ve certainly known my share. One wonders if they’d taken the same route if they’d had the advantage the Internet is giving musicians just ten (five) years later.

And that’s the point. Those barriers are gone and good riddance.

Hat tip to TechDirt.

Wanted: New Media Business Models
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  • http://www.a-lyric.com/ Michael

    All very well. But the idea that music use is promotion is as old as the hills. Why should radios bother paying performance rights if we exclude YouTube? They can make the same claim (and have done so many times over the years). It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

    As sales have crumbled, performance rights are all many people have left. Don’t forget that musicians have to pay for everything themselves these days. So also removing the top layer of performance rights is one of the most dangerous things I’ve heard so far. It really is baby and bathwater logic.

    Also don’t forget that there are many people involved in a video clip. The composer(s), the performing artist, the publisher(s), the record label or master owner. Which one shall we remove from the value chain? It’s not necessarily in the composer’s interest that the artist get more concerts in Mailwaukee, for example, as concerts are often badly represented in terms of performance rights. The labels spend large amounts of money on videos. How do they recoup? I think you get my point.

    You probably heard about the British composer that had millions of views on YouTube and received

  • http://www.NewMediaBloggers.com NewMediaBloggers

    To: ‘news@ap.org'; ‘N@LAtimes.com'; ‘N@MSNBC.com'; ‘NHQ@Foxnews.com'; ‘S@FoxNews.com'; ‘LKLive@CNN.com’
    Cc: ‘E@USAtoday.com'; ‘JohnMcCain'; ‘RFeingold@feingold.sen.gov'; ‘TKennedy@Kennedy.sen.gov'; ‘OHatch@Hatch.sen.gov’

    When the American Constitution was written, with a good deal of help ?

    Current mood: optimistic
    Category: News and Politics

    When the American Constitution was written, with a good deal of help from Ben Franklin, now elderly, the First Amendment (ratified in 1791) states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    Thank you, again, for the deepest of respect shown for equality.

    Press Release 2008-09: Please write to your State / Federal Senator something like this in your own words:

    Dear Senator — (for each of your two Senators) Please co-sponsor S. Con. Res. 59, a resolution that asks the states to pass more joint custody laws. I want to point out that children do better in school, and are less involved in drugs and crime, when they have two parents in their lives, even if divorced or never-married. Joint custody (shared parenting) for both fit parents in America.

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  • http://www.endai.com Internet Marketing Company

    Great topic. These changes, like all other significant communication changes in the past will be met with resistance by some and open arms by others. I with I could have been in the meetings when Maw Bell was explaining that they were going to sting wires from ’40 poles all over the county in order for people to use telephones.

  • http://www.fishingmag.co.nz Allan Burgess

    Winners and Losers
    Thank you for an excellent article Jason. You are bang on! Here in New Zealand, as in the rest of the world, the old media is starting to stagger. What makes this so interesting is that no amount of their money spent trying to turn back the tide, or buying into new media, seems to help them reestablish their classified advertising revenues – often described as their

  • http://songwritingtips.org/ How to Write a Song

    Thanks to Jason for this excellent article. We hope to get more good quality articles from you in the future.

  • http://www.bluelizard.com/Expertise/NETTraining.aspx Custom Software Services

    Great article. It seems like communication is changing all the time!

  • http://googlecashkit.org/blog trygooglecashkit

    Having been an internet publisher for ten years and a glossy magazine publisher for 11 years prior to that, I have seen this whole thing from both sides. I

  • http://www.internet-empire.com Singapore SEO Expert

    Most business models don’t last more than 2 years these days. It’s important to keep up with the changes.

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