Adapting to a digital economy

I worked in the Music Industry 20 years ago, way before any real meaningful adoption of the internet. It was the arrival of Napster and MP3s that’s taken me on a digital journey.

I can remember Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus, a “Cathedral” of vinyl. The Jazz section on the second floor was awesome. I could find any BlueNote recordings or Columbia Records treasures I bought and still listen to on my turntable.

Working in the Music Industry, the increasing problem was the sheer volume of releases. 300 albums a week, approximately 1000 singles from the major and independent labels.

Tower Records’ floor space didn’t expand to accommodate this ever-increasing volume of new releases. With the astronomical cost on this grade 1 listed building, they couldn’t have a deep back catalogue, hoping that someone who hadn’t bought that classic album back in the 80s would wonder in and make a purchase.

All the music retailers had to follow a FMCG model, they sold top 40 chart albums and music lovers couldn’t find a deep back catalogue.

The demise of the music industry is often sighted with the arrival of file sharing. This didn’t help of course, but what changed the industry was the fragmentation of audiences and changing consumer behaviour.

In the 60s, it was easy for the labels, you were either a Beatles fan (a Mod) or a Rolling Stones fan (a Rocker). The labels split the demographic of the nation’s youth in half and marketed accordingly.

Come the 70s, new genres of music appeared, Glam Rock, Soul, R&B, Disco – music started to fragment. By the 90s, we had Garage, House, Acid, Techno and variations on each sub-genre. The marketing spend to reach your audience in these new subcultures grew as the return on sales fragmented into smaller audiences. Higher operational costs, smaller returns.

It was the combination of retailers not being able to accommodate ever-increasing new releases and growing back catalogue, as well as the fragmentation of music listeners, that broke the music industry model. They couldn’t survive in a physical world, and they were too slow to adapt to a digital economy.

This lesson applies to all verticals in every economy.

Today’s economy isn’t about mass consumers, it’s about the individual; the difference between your consumer behaviour and mine. Like it or not, we contribute every day to building a digital profile of who we are. A digital cloud will follow all of us, your phone will know who you are and send “content in context” into your hand that makes your world spin that little faster.

A picture tells a thousand words and the pen is mightier than the sword but actually, video is mightier than the pen.

By 2017, 75% of all internet traffic will be video. Whatever the product or service you provide, your audience will watch and listen. You can reach that fragmented audience by targeting them based on their user profile, and delivering a message or a service directly to them.

The way you will share information is not an HTML page, or a PDF, its sound and vision.

Imagen Enterprise Video Platform has been helping companies preserve and navigate their growing media libraries. This ensures fast, easy, secure and controlled access to content through a highly customizable website. The more video you create to meet demand, the more valuable an effective media management solution becomes.

Eddie Farish

Eddie Farish

Eddie joined the Imagen team with a fantastic background in technology and media. He specifically helps us to manage the demand for Imagen amongst manufacturers.

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