Monetizing the Music: The Future of Physical

11 09 2009

I can’t get enough of music!  Whether it be downloading, sharing, streaming, uploading,  re-mixing etc. etc. I find myself in a whirlwind of mass music consumption.  My music library has grown out of proportion to what I couldn’t possibly listen to in a month, a year, 2 years?  As a digital native, a member of Gen Y, and stereotypical music junkie, I can’t get enough of digital content, but of course I want it all for free.  This behavioral pattern seems to be commonplace amongst people my age, always seeking out the next Pirate Bay, or having music swapping parties, anything to satiate our appetites for a cool new band or an awesome song.  Music really is bigger than it ever has been in the past, but our consumption pattern seems to surpass even beyond what our wallet can handle.  If digital music did not exist, the music industry would be suffering just as much as it is today, due to the US economic recession and really, the sheer lack of disposable income by arguably music’s biggest market:  Gen Y.

Vintage Vinyl St. Louis, MO

Vintage Vinyl St. Louis, MO

While thinking about my peers and my consumption patterns I’ve come to realize that a sheer lack of buying power, and lets not forget the ease of access, has in part led to the adoption of downloading bittorent’s, file swapping, P2P networks etc.   If I had even tried to satisfy my want for music 10 years ago, I would have broken the bank instantly with CD’s at cost of around $15 a pop. Now, lets fast-forward 10-15 years from now when Gen Y, music’s biggest consumer ever, retains some disposable income and a tremendous amount of buying power.   We all know that as we grow older we tend to appreciate nicer things, cherish the past, and re-kindle those memories of the summer ’09 through our favorite band that year.   This is where I see a huge opportunity for the return of a physical music product.  Already we can see a resurgence of vinyl that reminds us that people still value a physical product, but it has to have some sort of intrinsic value whether that be nostalgic or just wanting to build a collection.  I already find myself wanting to buy deeper into an artist’s so-called “product line” looking for something tangible that I can take home.  I believe that over the next decade we will see the physical music product decline and then re-emerge in a cyclical fashion.  The CD will always have a soft spot in my heart, due to the hundreds I already own and the  cherished memories of ripping off  a freshly shrink-wrapped disc to discover something beyond this world. Of course, the physical product will have to be a little bit more than a jewel case and an album liner, but the possibilities of creating some exclusive tangible music products may lead to a profitable return of the physical music product.  

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