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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Audio Content and the Major Labels

I've taken a few minutes to think about presenting audio content on the
Web (as compared to the Internet, but that's another thread), and I've
come to some profound conclusions. I could, naturally, have spent years
on this -- I've had plenty of years -- but Moore's Law requires I spend an
ever diminishing time on ever-more-important questions. And if that's not
true, I can still blame him.

Presenting music on the web has some advantages. But it only has
advantages as long as the number of offerings on the Web is a whole lot
smaller than the number of offerings overall.

If you have a music file on the web, you're in a small pond. There have
been relatively few artists presenting content on the web. Those few have
snagged onto audiences who were looking for unique content -- and if it
was on the web, rare as it was, it was by definition unique content.

But after X time, a whole pisspot full of artists post content to the web.
A whole lot of those post crap. So once again, even having posted on the
web, you're floating once again in a sea of crap. Some of them are known
names on the web, and they'll still have their followers. But newer folks
are just more floaters in the septic tank that is the music industry, web-
based notwithstanding.

There are a great many things the studios do really badly, or really in an
evil way. But they're really pretty good at (and really forceful about)
promoting their content in whatever venue. If you want someone big and
scary making sure somebody hears your content, you want one of the big,
scary media companies.

On the web, they hear your content if they're caught by your filename, or
by your text content next to your link, or by your picture next to your
link. They don't necessarily judge your content by hearing your content.

If folks don't hear your content, the rest is just smoke and mirrors.
There is no reason whatsoever your existing content can't be backed up by
a promotional presence in other venues, and a big MEGARECORDING INC logo
on your webpage, too.

So I suspect that, just maybe, we're past the point where just being on
the web with content beats being with a Major Label. With the background
noise rising on the web, having an 800-pound gorilla behind you couldn't
hurt.

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