Saturday Summary 015

Freemium, and streaming models that offer entirely chimerical value are struggling this week. Which is nice. Pointless middlemen are finding it harder to get by in a market where they can no longer control access, and where ideological control structures are slipping away (or are starting to reflect a reshaped power structure). Oops, did I sound Marxist? I’m not, but the industry’s travails give the lie to the line they peddle about the nature of the business. George Clinton is consistently awesome: here’s an insight into why he’s so weird. This is a very interesting piece for anyone interested in questions of musical value. Pandora offers a service of dubious value, on a shaky financial basis, and the market appears to have noticed. Freemium is a difficult proposition, and seems to frequently involve companies in supporting an unsustainable free package from the revenue offered by an undesirable paid one. Personally I don’t think the model is a bust, however: I just think you need to make sure the free service is both good and simple, and that the paid service offers some real, valuable benefits. Offering a free service that is a gimped version of your paid one just makes you look like a tightwad ripoff merchant. This most open and flexible of music hosting platforms is going absolutely huge, and if you look at the service they offer it’s easy to see why. They have the good kind of freemium revenue model: in other words, they offer a really good free service, and if you pay them, they offer genuine improvements. This is a really interesting point: I’ve been noticing that visits to this site don’t seem to tie in with what I would think would be the relative attractions of the different posts (i.e. my random intellectual ramblings are the most popular of my posts, because they’re published on a Monday). I have to say that these opinions reflect my own underwhelmed response to iCloud as a music service. Unless it’s a toe in the door for something else, it’s really just a data storage service, and as the writer notes, makes most sense when you remember that Apple is a hardware company. This is funny. It’s funny, because it shows that the old music industry thinks these are the hardest times ever, while new players (and musicians) are able to exploit a vast range of new opportunities, that make it arguable that these are the best times ever. Protools is the dominant audio software solution for professionals: any slippage in its dominance has to be a good thing for all concerned, Protools loyalists included.   Ever wonder where the money goes? This shows that iTunes doesn’t rip you off as badly as you think, but it also shows how much better Bandcamp’s model is.

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