Having a sort out over the Christmas break, I came across some notes from a Music Week conference session with Terry McBride, CEO and one of three founders of the Nettwork Music Group. McBride was talking about ‘Millennials’, a new generation of music fan who have the power to ‘pull’ music. Songs ‘belong’ to them as an emotional memory that they want to share. Consumption is ‘get it when you want it’. Music used to have a scarcity value. Now digital is always available. Fans do not need to own music. What they value is access.
McBride spoke a lot about strategies to maximise income. His conclusion – create a continuous supply of music to buy, not a piecemeal one album a year, but a track every month. That’s 12 tracks a year with a constant presence rather than one album a year with a short blip then forgotten presence. Versions of songs can generate multiple sales to different fans, including multi-lingual releases (Averil Lavrine: 7.5m downloads of one song, 200 million hits on Youtube). Releasing stems may work for fans who are musical. Use releases to grow your fan base.
But where does scarcity come in? The value is in creating scarcity of access to the artist from loyal super-fan gig tickets to special one off concerts and merchandise and access to ‘backroom’ activities like rehearsals, and songwriting sessions.
Someone in the audience asked McBride for his predictions and observations: brands will sign acts – especially acts that will align their tribe to the brand.
And the year? 2008.