Friday, December 19, 2008

RIAA, you made my day.... sort of

The RIAA Logo.Image via WikipediaI've blogged several times about the disease in the music industry and criticized RIAA's going after digital pirates as a way to scare off potentially the biggest music fans in the new age of digital music.

If you haven't had a chance to read my thoughts on the music industry, here they are

Cure for RIAA Disease
Thoughts on Music Industry (Part 1)
Thoughts on Music Industry (Part 2)
Thoughts on Music Industry (Part 3)

Today, RIAA decided to abandon their latest strategy, so called massive lawsuits against internet users. As you can see from my vocal criticism against hesitance towards innovations and sticking to the good ol' days, this news really made my day ... sort of. While I wish internet users can be freed from ISPs as well, this is just huge. This really changes everything.

After all, the massive lawsuit strategy wasn't working. Music industry realizes that there should be other solutions to the problems. The major labels began to ramp up the digital business operations to feverishly figure out and capture the right opportunities. And, it's a greatest time to be a music-related startup these days.

One final thought about a strategy that music industry can learn from other mundane industry.... razor blades.

When Gillette introduced (I could be wrong here) Mach 3 Razor, the biggest competition it ran against was itself: another Gillette products dominating the market. Consumers had little incentive to make the switch. To make a long story short, Gillette made the consumers to make the switch by a)taking the old stuff out of the market, b) blanket the distribution channel with Mach 3, c) pumping lots of money (I mean A LOT) into marketing the greatest innovations of Mach 3.

So, what does this have to do with the music industry? I don't know if this would work or not, but just blanket the whole market with legitimate distribution channels. I was once a Napster user. I abandoned the habit of illegal downloads when the opportunity cost of searching and owning new music/movie became too high. It was just easier for me to spend the extra bucks. Yes, supply will increase and price will drop. Music companies will get hit, but this may just be a temporary phenomenon. The whole culture of purchasing behavior needs to be fundamentally changed, and that's why it's so painful to see the industry suffering. If it takes hours and hours to just find a song you like, wouldn't you rather shell out 99 cents? Write me a note if you can't absolutely find 99 cents to be a good citizen. I'll help you out.

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