In preparation for this afternoon’s event, here are my notes of the main points I’m planning to make. I reserve my right to change my mind in the light of how the discussion evolves!
- The good news for the music industry from recent experience is that people’s demand for music is showing no signs of being sated once they have a few hundred, or even a few thousand, albums’ worth of material.
- There’s an opportunity to support this increased consumption with more information and critical features, as magazines like Word and ‘free-to-air’ services like the BBC’s have realised (I like to compliment my fellow panelists, but this is not merely cynical: see my appreciation of the BBC’s Sold on Song site).
- What the industry needs to help it target its promotion of more ‘consumption’ is more information about the emerging habits of listeners as the distribution landscape changes. Not just buying habits, but ‘sampling’ or previewing habits, letting friends access collections, radio listening, web site viewing, magazine reading and gig going.
- One option would be to mount promotions that encourage listeners to access and discuss music with their friends, possibly even trying to ‘harness’ peer-to-peer distribution, in return for collecting data about these habits.
- Privacy is an important consumer concern, however. Would it be possible enable listeners to collect data about their own habits (using technologies like Audioscrobbler), and then provide some of this at their discretion to retailers or labels to facilitate permission-based marketing?
- Another opportunity is to enable consumers’ to enrich their experience of their own collections by building detailed learning resources about — the socially-mediated equivalent of sleeve notes and fanzines for the Internet age — as described in the outline I wrote a few weeks ago.