Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Oatmeal's State of the Music Industry

This Oatmeal comic was so good I couldn't just leave it hiding under my, "In the News" section.

Click image to go to TheOatmeal.com
Matt Inman (the 'Oatmeal' guy) has a particular knack for countering silly arguments with obvious ones in a funny way.  In this case he takes on the record labels' view that they are the God-appointed gatekeepers to all music.

Of course, the comic isn't perfect.  The last frame shows the consumer voluntarily paying for music, and although voluntary payment does work in many cases for revenue generation, it's not a business model the bank would accept if you needed a loan.

As has been emphasized here (and many other places), technological disruption has made music a free good and attempting to sell such a thing cannot rely on value.  The emphasis should be to sell scarce goods: T-shirts, concert tickets, physical media, signed or personalized kitch, etc.  Music should be treated as a promotional item used to drive consumers toward those scarce goods.

Matt's comic does not address that, but his own business model does.  He gives away all his comics online and sells books, posters and t-shirts for revenue.  I own some of his stuff myself :)