Saturday, March 28, 2009

The plummeting catalogs

Although this had already been calculated, nobody knew exactly when the plummet of the music catalogs will happen.

Just recently I happen to chat with an editor-in-chief of a prominent Manila publication who shared his observations on how the music sector in the capital is doing. He outlined some specifics that lead to the understanding of the music industry and that the long anticipated big dive is finally happening and fast.

While the major labels are still hopelessly panicking to save their boats, music downloads had never been so legit and literally free as it is now. Ironic in The Philippines where copyright concerns are often shelved and ignored.

Thanks to digital technology...

The once-indie-then-signed-to-a-major-record-deal artists are going indie again.

The signed artists are going indie this time.

The big stars are not as big as they once were (unless you belong to the couch people who spend most of their days at home watching noon time shows daily then you won't agree with me).

Some labels settled for a distribution deal but eventually lost because the indies still own the rights to their songs.

Other labels tried the in-house talent management approach where they employ "band managers" to, well, manage a band. But they're missing the point. A band manager is not a business partner. Well it is but he/she is also the Nth band member... ergo the band's best friend. How can you build a best friend when it all started as a business?

Not so long ago, major labels refuse to sign indie bands because they think niche marketing is too small for their bank account. But nowadays the public is smarter, tasteful, and sophisticated and unlike a decade ago, the regular pinoy can now breathe through music by Up Dharma Down, Daydream Cycle, Sheila and the Insects, and the likes.

Contrary to the labels' old school and stubborn mindset, good music cannot be exclusive to typically structured pop songs. Nothing against the genre. It's just been misconstrued too often and dangerously misunderstood.

When was the last time the major labels signed a band? And if they did recently how good is it?

Things are a-changing... the vision that was foretold is unfolding fast. Today you won't hear labels saying '(band name - and feel free to fill in your band's name in) is good pero masyado lang silang niche'.

Niche marketing is what works these days. Well it's been there long before the indie clout has gone big time but it is only now that it is most appreciated.

The good news is that the indies are staying in their niche because that's exactly how their music is supposed to work. But wait... before we all make the last laugh, let's figure out how music can put food on the table first.

And if I am right about this...

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