In keeping up with the music business these days you can’t avoid the many debates that break out on various sites concerning digital content theft and what to do about it. The many forms of this problem and the attempted solutions are, to me, wildly entertaining and full of valuable lessons as I position a growing producer business to prosper through these and other challenges.
The only certainty I can predict is that the consumer will ultimately win. The content controllers who survive and prosper will be the ones smart enough to pan for gold in the stream rather trying to build dams and levies to fight a losing battle against nature. As a songwriter, musician, and independent label owner, I’ll be spreading the net far and wide to be sure my content is available whenever and where ever people look for it. Sometimes the folks looking won’t want to pay and I’m sure they’ll find a way to partake without doing so. That’s part of doing business in a changing digital landscape if you ask me.
As songwriters and producers, one tactic proving popular is to take yourself out of the losing game being played by the major media companies. More and more creative people are marketing their music directly to fans and end users like the TV and cable networks to ensure the shortest path (least problems) between them and compensation. It’s also becoming standard procedure to pitch artists directly instead of going through A&Rs and other gatekeepers if you can get the access. The concept is similar. The path of least resistance is the one that will eventually prevail. The fans and consumers are simply employing that same thinking when they seek out and download content. We as producers need to pick up on the obvious and streamline our paths to compensation where at all possible.
I don’t for a second think that there’s a single right answer, or best way to move forward in this business. The fact remains that all of our digital content is becoming easier and easier to obtain for free. I think the key to surviving the changes ahead will be to keep moving forward and simply trying to give people what they want, when and how they want it. Do that and many will pay, some will not. That’s just the way of the world of beat selling these days.