I’m a strong proponent of radical innovation in the music industry. My impression is that the people with power want to sustain the status quo, while it’s getting harder and harder for the artists, who just want to focus on making great music, to make ends meet. The disruptive emergence of digital means people expect to access all music, anywhere, at anytime, and the artist has been downgraded to supplying a commodity where the relationship between an artist and a fan is almost non-existent.
Digital has led to fierce competition, commoditisation and lowering margins (except for the very, very popular acts). But I’m not sentimental, the answer is not conservatism or fighting for the old ways. The reality is that the music industry is going to shrink quite a significant amount if they do not look more ahead and innovate more radically. If you’d ask them, they’d say they are adapting and innovating, but it’s way too little, too slow. Both the structure of the industry, business models and product strategy need to change, and they should start with fundamentally putting consumers’ needs at the centre of focus, not business’ needs.