Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What's Next?

Hello Friends,

I heard a great sound bite today from a Jay Z interview where he speaks about the future of the music industry. He talks about how the industry's now purging itself online and that the money just isn't flowing the same way it once was. He also says that because of this the industry will survive and be better than ever before. It's because the industry will eventually be made up of just those that are in it for the right reason and that is passion.

I for one think it's an exciting time in music. More than ever before the cream of the crop is able to rise to the top. The only way to survive is to to think creatively while creating amazing music and content alike. There's a new generation of musicians that grew up without knowing physical product and have the wherewithal to build a following on their own. It's uncharted waters - that will require them to make good music in order to stay afloat.

I've been working in the music business for over 12 years now and still love it. It's something I've always wanted to do - so I did whatever it took to get my foot in the door. It's not a sob story - it's the story of 100% of the people that work in this business. It's the only way to get in the door. I've seen this passion time and time again and it's proven itself time and time again.

In my time I've seen the launch of Napster, iTunes, 360 deals, label digital departments, digital singles, digital albums, streaming audio agreements, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Ustream and more. With the launch of these the same thing occurred each time and that was a scared industry tried to fight them. All along they should have been embracing them to form partnerships while exploring the future together - as all other ventures have failed.

It was announced this week that HMV Canada's 121 stores have been sold to Hilco UK. They plan to revamp the company and go in a more digital direction. Who knows if this will work or not - but if you've been in an HMV of late you can attest to the fact that it's more about t-shirts and headphones - so I guess they have to try something different.

So what's next? Here's a few great music services that have a good idea of what's to come...
  • Rdio - This is a fairly new service that reminds me of what we all saw in Tom Cruise's 'Minority Report' a few year's back. It's a music service that allows the consumer to hear anything anywhere for a low monthly fee.
  • Soundcloud - Many artists are releasing their singles on this service as it's a great way to get feedback in the form of clouds and comments instantly. It's got a deep catalogue based on the users that share this service.
  • Vevo - Owned in part by 3 out of the 4 major record labels and home to their deep catalogues of music videos and original content. They look like youtube and have partnerships in many marketplaces allowing media companies the access to their music while sharing advertising revenues. It's better for most as it makes the ever changing streaming agreements easier to manage.
  • Twitter - Twitter makes Facebook look old and solidifies the fact that you have no use for Myspace ever again. It's instant gratification and the World is listening.
  • Spotify - Made popular in Europe a few years ago - Spotify has made its way across the pond allowing it's users access to millions of songs without taking up any space on a hard drive.
  • Grooveshark - Looks very much like iTunes library - but allows you to share play lists and houses deep catalogues of music. You don't own anything - but have the ability to play it anytime and anywhere there's an online connection.

There's lots to be excited about as long as you have an open mind and love of music. Lets embrace it and create a beautiful partnership with musicians.

Thanks for reading/listening.

Gregg Stewart

PS - I just listened to The Boxer Rebellion's album entitled 'The Cold Still' 3 times while writing this. It's a must hear album so buy it, stream it, watch it, share it and enjoy it!

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