Rick Rubin – future of music, well, Columbia anyway…

Great article in the NY Times about Rick Rubin.  He’s been hired to essentially save Columbia Records from extinction. Or at least huge losses.  The theory is that if, as an ultra successful producer with lots of career reviving work, he can reviatilze Columbia, it will in turn revitalize the music industry.

Here is the theory he supports for turning around the industry:  1. Get the labels to make great music (again). Stop selling it first; create it first  2. Look at alternate business models:  ie: subscription models (I have problems with Subscription models).  4. Look at alternate means to get the music in to the hands of consumers 3. Start fresh, don’t retool.

In principle, I agree with doing these things and I think they need to be done. However, looking at music historically, what I think we’re actually seeing is a further divergance between business and creation. Meaning, where there is great music, there are people listening and artists selling those songs. There is lot of great music being written, performed, heard and sold, all around the world. The business problem is how to centralize that in such a way as to maximize the profits.

And therein lies the rub. In the current environment of further “nicheification” of all things music, it becomes more difficult to manage and centralize the realization of those profit.

Solve that problem, and you’ve actually solved the music industry problem.

Posted on September 3, 2007 in Market

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