The net is, after all, merely the evolution of former media. We espouse an interdisciplinary approach in assessing online content.
So let’s study how the music industry shafts musicians, and how existing content sites (portals, anyone? convergence, anyone?) trod in the same path.
But don’t listen to us yammer. Read MusicDish: “The Real Reason Major Record Companies Suck.” (We prefer the word bite, of course; majusculation sic.)
- The major labels are putting out TOO MANY RECORDS...True, but I believe this is merely a symptom of a bigger problem;
- The major labels are SIGNING ARTISTS TOO INDISCRIMINATELY... Yes, but this too is symptomatic of something deeper;
- The major labels are peopled with DYSFUNCTIONAL, TURF-PROTECTING CLIMBERS... True sometimes, but this too is merely a symptom;
- The major labels aim for A LEAST-COMMON-DENOMINATOR MUSICAL “SOUND” that will appeal to the masses... Yes, but a symptom again.
Content relevance (or, as the kids used to say on Usenet, ObContent): TV types, metastasizing wildly in online media, understand mass audiences. (Network’s The Mao Tse-tung Hour is a bit too specialized to appear on a real-world réseau.) That’s true even in the age of specialty TV channels.
Marketers, too, understand mass audiences, with uncommon exceptions – trade magazines, ethnic newspapers, strictly local media.
When confronted with a medium that permits and encourages specificity, not generality, TV types and their marketing minions speak the language they know best. And it doesn’t work.
Further, it doesn’t work because TV and marketing types are accustomed to vast oceans of money to play with, which venture capitalists and Eisner-style CEOs were all too happy to provide. This kind of megalomania, documented on our MogulWatch pages, causes online managers to overlook cheap, small sites, the ones that really work online.
We respect the intelligence of our audience, unlike, say, portalistas, who do nothing but condescend and talk down, so why not take a look at the MusicDish article and draw your own parallels? There’s a pretty direct path between the amorality and cluelessness of the music biz and what’s happening online. As you’ll read, you’ll be licking your chops. History repeats itself, as Miss Shirley Bassey helpfully informed us.
Posted on 2000-09-30