Archive for November, 2010

virtual worlds making real money

I caught something on the news the other day that made me laugh. It’s about a gamer who made half a million by selling virtual property.

First few minutes after reading this article I was just thinking what a bunch of nerds, and that the world has truly gone to hell.  Someone making money on something that has no tangible value? Well I guess that depends on what you consider to be valuable.

For example how is it any different than art? The cost to make an oil painting is maybe 500 dollars worth of materials to create, which then sells for thousands. I mean that is real value to someone.  Your NHL hockey tickets is more real than your Pee Wee league hockey ticket, because you put value on it. You pay for the luxury of the BMW, though it does the same thing as a Honda.

So are they nerds with no life? Or highly creative capitalists in finding new ways make money? In a way you have to admire people who go around obstacles, conventional ideas of how to make living. Not that we don’t need the traditional ways, but that isn’t the only path and the guy who made real money from selling a virtual asteroid is a testament to that.

And why not if draws speculators away from real-world markets, where they screw up values of houses.

free music less valuable?

yellow submarine

yeah yeah yeah

Okay, as you may know I really dig music. I want all my favourite bands to become huge and conquer the hearts of millions.  And one of the big ways to do that is by using free. A concept that the music industry ignored in the beginning of the past decade

What happened was they continued with its rigid thinking, which led to traditional revenue sources evaporating, disappearing. They weren’t thinking of new sources. There wasn’t a fluidity in there thinking.  Basically they wanted fight with free, instead working with it. The prevailing attitude was that free is less valuable. Not so in the case of music.

There are kids now listening to the Beatles, all the glorious albums downloaded for free, and guess what? They love the Beatles. Some of them are viewing all the demo takes from the Anthology albums and leaving reviews, questioning why didn’t McCartney use take 1 of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da instead of the studio version on the White Album? (click here to check for yourself).   A Liverpool band from 40 years ago has their complete time and attention. The original human currency. So the fact that these viewers can get something for free  doesn’t mean they’re less “valuable”, far from it.

See I fit into the demographic that many studies have shown to be true: the biggest downloaders are also the most loyal fans. I sometimes get the pricey, limited edition specials with all the extras from my favourite bands. I go to the major music festivals yearly.  I have stopped buying all the t-shirts though, trying to class up the look.

tame impala's debut album- innerspeaker - one of my favourites of 2010

This is why I feel the business model we use to calculate success of a band  is completely outdated and has been for awhile. There is limitless choice of music nowadays online and from all that choice I choose music from all that is blasting at me. I mean the rise of free streaming music by companies like Pandora Radio and news that Apple buying Lala show were living in a attention economy.

At the same time I like to still “own” my music. So I do have problem overcompensating record companies that put encoded music on plastic, mass-production in cd format, but I have no problem paying top dollar for bands that I love. See the conflict?

A better model for today’s band is for their album creations be rewarded 100% by the fans. Meaning the band receives close to 100% of the proceeds from sale of the album or single.  They create their own label, they do there own promotion – by using free, and outsource some responsibility to a manager. I say this because new technology is making this easier. And its great that its happening, because basically bands should be mostly  rewarded, instead of the hierarchy being rewarded.  They are the creators,  that turn nothing into magic. Everything hinges on the artist and they aren’t being compensated enough for it. I mean I find it disgusting that Michael Jackson was only making 12 million in royalties per year from his recordings. The biggest pop star ever only making that from his recordings? That means the rest of the money was making his label super rich, that used those funds to promote shit like Britney, Nicki Minaj, etc.  I mean he was an 1 billion empire. Think how nonsensical that is.

This again refers to my post on making less, selling less. Lots of exposure,  less customers, but monetizing on that less. Imagine if its 90 cents of that 99 cent itune  goes toward the artist?  How about a private gig to hardcore fans that bought limited edition albums? Allowing fans to remix the tunes? Hardcore fans would love that.   All through the power of free music.