May 19, 2009

Giving Up Control

I received a call from a colleague recently who pondered why music companies don’t release new albums along with concert tickets at the same time. That way, fans can download the music or buy it at a store along with tickets to the upcoming shows. He went on to wonder if there is concern about free downloading of music and movie torrents, why don’t studios simply release the film and DVD on the same day?

What? And Give Up Control?

Old model thinking is you can control the marketplace, behavior and spending. It is a fantasy. If you owned restaurant and people quickly found out that Thursdays are free food nights, how big would your line up be on Friday? Sure some would come back because you offered great food at a great price point, but could you control that?

Collusion vs. Solution

I have been in media and marketing for a long time. I know it doesn’t work this way. It’s not a simple solution but is it not a worthy discussion? The Ticketmaster/LiveNation merger has created a lot of heat because of the collusion ramifications, so merging a distributor with a concert company and a music label will create even more.

But let’s focus for a moment on behavior.

We all know stealing music is wrong, downloading movies is illegal, taking something that isn’t ours is improper and our moms taught us that years ago. But has that changed behavior?

If you found $1,000 in an unmarked envelope on the ground, what would you do? If I told you that you could download as much music as your heart desired without any consequence, what would you do? If you found a loophole to avoid paying income tax, what would you do?

Is it wrong or is it reality?

The topic of free is a big one right now. If you can get the same service or product for less money – or even free – is that your preference? Now flip it around and tell me you will offer me your service or product for less money or free.

The music labels are in trouble, that’s well documented but as one who adores music and wants it to continue to thrive, let’s look at solutions rather than trying to cram more genies in to more bottles.

How does this apply to your work? How can you better understand customer and human behavior in order to better meld your business plans with reality?


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