Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Death of Record Industry 

Singer Elvis Costello was widely quoted yesterday saying the record business is about to end. As soon as broadband is big enough, he opined, the record industry will go away.

He might be right, but the music publicity business won't disappear, even if the record industry does. When a listener has a choice of 10,000 bands and 100,000 songs, it takes good publicity to build an audience for any one band. In fact, if Costello is correct, music publicity will be full-employment. Rather than fearing the future, I would be excited. Practitioners who figure out how to make a living on direct delivery of music should do well.

I haven't paid much attention to the music business, so I cannot speculate how PR might change in it. If someone knows, contact me, and I will report your experience here. I suspect there are hints of shifts to come with PR for the iPod. For one, we know that the "long tail" of the music business is still profitable when the cost of song delivery is kept low. A song might be ranked 100,000, but it costs so little to download one can still make a profit by carrying it in an online catalog. But does it make sense to publicize backlists? That I don't know.


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