The Music Industry is Killing Itself


What’s the most important thing about music consumers that the music industry doesn’t know?

With the recent effort of that industry to galvanize for a fight over rights fees with radio, let’s take a look at one of their crowning areas of ignorance, according to pollster Frank Luntz (from his book Words That Work):

The music industry is one of the greatest victims of consumer anger. Much of the illegal music downloading that takes place isn’t done just because the music is free but rather because stealing music costs “the suits” money. In research we did for the entertainment industry, it became clear that music fans resent company executives for making too much money for themselves, too much profit for the corporations, and pampering and overpaying the “talent,” and the way they express this anger is to download illegally to punish the industry.

So, in other words, consumers know that the business of music is business, not music. And every time the music biz highlights the plight of a starving artist, it comes right back to haunt them at the point of purchase…er, illegal downloading.

Put another way, the music industry is quietly killing itself.

Now you might ask, but what about radio? Radio, after all is Big Business, too.

But here’s the essential difference between Big Music and Big Radio:

Big Radio is free.

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