Monday, March 31, 2008

Labels: Target Mindshare - Not CD Sales

Kill the album, not the label. Couple days ago Mike Arrington over at Techcrunch blasts the music labels for their newest scheme of creating a music tax. He's right, it’s totally stupid but he also argues/predicts the death of the music label. I think labels can save themselves, not by dying but by changing their roles and intellectual capital. I blogged about 10 Things Labels Can Do To Save Themselves here but the main thing is to ditch the album process and start a campaign of securing consistent mindshare with fans. With so many great off the shelf tools for publishing audio, video and textual content, building a mind-share strategy has never been easier.

Instead of releasing a album every so often, commit to releasing a song every three months. A consistent river of songs, communication, video, rants etc will help a band maintain and increase mindshare with their fan base over the long term. Increasing mindshare through a more consistent multi-channel form of entertainment will lead to many more touchpoints for the band/label to monetize.

Here are some potential touchpoints that labels can monetize in a mindshare strategy;
• Live event ticket sales that are not album driven but crowd driven
• Involve fan base on some creative decisions and content
• Licensed remixxing of tracks to fans for re-purposing
• Merchandise sales that are personalized and targeted by region, event etc.
• Mobile sounds and content that are personalized or on limited availability
• Sell VIP access for fans to access communication from the band, videos, special releases and access to new releases before they are public/free.

If you think about monetizing the mindshare of the fan base through touchpoints, then labels may find a more profitable model. They may have to shrink some, hire some new talent from the Internet world but they do have a chance. That aside, I do think there is some great opportunity here for the right entrepreneur to disrupt the current process by targeting the *album* and its shortcomings.

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