Saturday, November 28, 2009

What the future might look like

Variety profiles Guvera, an Australian company which is working on ways to suck the life out of musicfind ways of monetising music now that the market value of individual tracks is almost zero:

For example, a clothing brand could create a list of tunes for girls in their teens who like "Twilight," or men who play videogames, read comicbooks and eat a lot of fast food. When searching for songs, users would be directed to music channels presented by brands with similar sensibilities. The marketer would pay record labels for those songs whenever they get streamed or downloaded.

Tracks are offered only to registered users of Guvera's website who have provided personal info, such as age, gender and where they live, as well as favorite bands, movies, sports teams, etc. -- information that will pair specific audiences with the brands that want them and are happy to pay for their entertainment.

The weakness at the heart of this idea is that it amplifies the general drift of the music industry over the last twenty years: the belief that your musical tastes are the result of your demographic data; with the obvious next step of reducing your choices to the things that you should be liking. Only now with adverts as well.

The upside is that this is only going ruin music that would work well for selling stupid tracksuits, and there has to be some way to service EMI's massive debtfund major label investment in new acts. At least it's a response that doesn't involve suing people.


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

From what I have seen of GUVERA ( presented to us in full @ a US Ad Agency last week ), the user searches for the music they actually want and then the brand pays for it based on that actual search. You have the model wrong.... I know our ad team thoughts this was brilliant.

simon h b said...

Not to sound defensive, but the description of the model comes from Variety.

The model as you describe it doesn't seem to make any sense - why would a brand pay a record company based on someone *searching* for one of their tracks? Isn't that a bit like Disneyland getting a payment whenever a kid asks their parents if they can go to the magic kingdom, rather than when people go through the gate?

acb said...

For some people, that could work; especially for adolescents and post-adolescents who construct subcultural identity partly through brands. (It's not just lager-sponsored lad-rock and luxury-brand rap either; take, for example, The Softies' "Heart Condition" and its mention of Converse trainers.) Ad agencies curating lists of tracks that go with brands isn't that far from trendy clothing shops sponsoring VICE Magazine cover discs.

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