Sunday, July 07, 2013

Promotional lag: A jab at the Hutt

The music industry has a leak problem. Sure, it's not quite as bad as the fracking industry's leakage problems, as it's only music you can't buy yet leaking out, but it's still a problem.

Here's what happens: the music is finished. In order to "build buzz", the tracks are released to DJs and bloggers and other people whose mothers believe they don't quite have proper jobs. Sometimes, this can be getting on for two months ahead of when the record is actually in the shops.

In the industry's minds, this is supposed to create a vast army of people waiting outside the record shop on the Monday when the song is finally available, cramming money into the tills.

Instead, what happens is that a person hears a song they like, tries to buy it, fails, so snaffles an unlicensed version instead.

Most people looking at this problem would suggest that maybe the record business should start to sell music to people when it is available, rather than waiting a month.

The music industry doesn't see that as the solution, though, and instead has created a solution called the Promo Hutt.

The idea is that instead of waiting six weeks, now people will pay a subscription in order to get access to music six weeks before they could otherwise buy it.

Yes, the labels are trying to monetise their broken distribution system.

The obvious outcome of this - that there will be far, far more ripped copies of records you can't buy circling the internet - seems to have been missed.

Memo to the RIAA: Pop music isn't like stilton. You gain nothing by keeping it in a room for a few weeks while it develops a smell.