I had the good fortune of meeting Matthew Daniel of R2G in China a couple of weeks ago. He presented his thoughts on the Chinese music market and reconciling the intrinsic value of music over there. It is very interesting that Intellectual Property has had very little monetary value in China and they are struggling with a situation that the rest of the world is just beginning to learn about.

Music in China has essentially always been free. They are now just trying to put structures in place to encourage people to pay for recorded music. Access and Convenience are the keys to his strategy. Lots of lessons to be learned for sure.

“While commercial music consumption has never been more widespread in the known history of man, and with the Internet offering the most capacious vehicle the world has ever seen to disseminate the near infinite body of musical works that exists universally to the greatest number of people, the existing music industry powers-that-be have yet to formulate a system to set this music free – even 10 years after Napster showed the way technologically.

And as elements in the music industry still continue to control the amount of legally accessible music to consumers, and only feed them the acts from which it can make the most money while keeping its vast catalogs in obviously porous vaults, other companies and intermediaries have capitalized on the clarion call to set the music free in all senses of the word. But some of these very companies and intermediaries are themselves simply in the game to enrich themselves via other ancillary services and products which use the pull of music and the accompanying audience, with minimal revenues trickling back to the very creators of the music.

Whilst this tug-of-war continues, one casualty is the increasing reference to music as a commodity,which is a gross misrepresentation of what music really is. Music is food for the soul which creates an emotional attachment with the listener and where it strikes a chord, an intrinsic value in the music is realized.

The industry needs to re-focus on this value in music that many seem to have forgotten, and which others have seemed to have contributed to its devaluation.”

Here is a link to Matthew’s Blog and his presentation from the Transmission Conference I recently attended in Vancouver.

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  1. Joseph Leutz says:

    The music industry is much older than the recording and publishing industries which branched out like protestant offshoots with the onset of technological innovations.
    And that is a good thing.

    We should not, however, consider the forms of our contemporary industry to be any more immutable than the previous incarnations of music as industry.
    Truth be told, and this is merely a guess, the important step forward in this case may be the half step back in placing emphasis on the LIVE performance as the core of the industry rather than the hyper-engineered studio recordings being sold.

    In light of that, I hope Mr. Kusek keeps his eyes peeled for two occurrences starting in May of 2009:
    An independent tour circuit along the East Coast stretching from South Florida to Maine to give safe means to those independent artists who dare to attempt the construction of their own grassroots following. The idea can be found at http://www.americaneedsme.com along with forums and everything healthy and happy about it.

    the second, a little more of a challenge, is one of my protoge (where is that darn accent mark?) musical “students” venturing to the academy of music that is Berklee in Boston. Methinks the annex of higher learning may never again be the same.

    All good things.

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