The Real Value of Content

Posted by on Nov 19, 2009 in Music, Web/Tech, Weblogs | 5 Comments


Gareth's done a nice post in response to this piece on where the money is going in the Music Industry from the Times Lab in an age of downloading.

The real decline is in money earned by the labels on recorded music. As G says "if your business model is purely one of content distribution it's perhaps time to exit.

Of course, I heartily endorse his comments about the fundamentally social nature of music (and linklove) " this is perhaps evidence of the fact that we tend to enjoy doing stuff together.  Perhaps music is the ultimate social good, rather than the private good record labels would like it to be"

But maybe what we're also seeing is some kind of re-adjustment of business models. Did a great interview with the awesome Lance Weiler recently where he suggested that Hollywood and the music biz need to go back to a time when only a small part of the value lay in the story being told and rather more in the telling and retelling; less in the song being sung and rather more in the singing and its resinging; it's less the content created, packaged and protected by IP and more in what the audience does with it. 

Great content is fine but it's only the start…it's a social object, folks

Irony alert: nice to see that this comes from the lovely people who've been a. telling us that quality content deserves proper payment b. scraping blogs for free content to pass off as their own.


  1. mark palmer
    November 19, 2009

    Two other bits you could add to music revenues. Music based games. Guitar Hero took $2bn. Music is the 3rd largest sector in games. Of course music related TV revenues. X Factor, American Idol. In which case, more money in music than ever – just in different places.

  2. Gareth
    November 21, 2009

    thanks mark for this. hope all well

  3. Katy
    November 23, 2009

    Interesting stats, although I guess it doesn’t quite show the whole picture (something that’s close to my heart as my other half makes his living through recorded music!):
    1) firstly there’s a lot of long tail as PRS revenue is now made up of millions of micropayments as online sites are registering. which is cool.
    2) secondly the bulk of live revenues is coming from the big, pricey tours from artists who are already signed to majors. much less revenue from artists who aren’t already signed and well known
    That’s not to say that the commentary on it isn’t really interesting and worthy of debate. Just that it’s important to think about the wider context when thinking about what this means for the industry…

  4. Mark Earls
    November 23, 2009

    Good points, both. M – you’re right about these other revenue streams. Different places as you say.
    Actually, Katy, not sure I believe the Live Revenues number – total size has got to be larger than this (Spain’s ratio of recorded to live music market’s supposed to be 1:9!)

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    November 24, 2009

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