How Digital has Transformed the Music Industry

The music industry was once driven by a small number of record companies who dictated the product placement, price and promotion should be given to a music artist. The record companies held the keys to launching the artist or your record to a global audience, it was through the record company the artist’s work would be produced, promoted and price set.

Recently we’ve seen the this market completely reshape – artists have realised that they can engage with their fan base and audience directly through the internet and that there is a not a need for an interim body to dictate what can/can’t be done, take the online retailer, CDBaby

CDbaby was created to provide a solution to the thousands of independent musicians who were at the mercy of the large music distribution labels if they wanted to get their music in large chain record stores. So as a solution, was born and in 2008 Sivers sold the business bequeathing the proceeds to a charitable trust for music education.

By providing a platform for independent musicians, CDBaby took to Social Media to provide an industry leading example of how to create and build an engaging platform that provides musicians useful “how to” tips on building their network, and promoting their music. It’s a classic example of not using social media as yet another sales channel but used as a channel to support help their followers

CDBaby provides a new channel to market your brand as well as product through the founding of a utility to help differentiate their proposition. Otherwise known as Utilitarianism Marketing, this is defined by Mitch Joel as “ It’s about providing a true value and utility: Something consumers not only would want to use (constantly and consistently) but would derive so much value from it that it would be given front and center attention in their lives”.

CDBaby have disrupted an industry by building connections and providing true value and support to its users which has helped them create a USP and point of true difference. To do this successfully, has meant to create a cultural change in the organisation and how employees operate.

Even in the most traditional of industries can be reshaped, redefined and barriers to entry removed for new entrants to the market. We’re also seeing this over and over again in other industries e.g. book publishing (domino project), further education (explosion of online modules & courses)

We can see this same culture applied in many different organisations across different sectors e.g. Apple, Threadless and even fast food chain Nathan’s – companies that may be long established but have adapted to change, redefined their product offering and their value and being not afraid of failure in seeking innovation and challenging the status-quo…the same can also be said about us as individuals – not being afraid to fail, to question, to re-create and to seek out new ways and opportunities.


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