Maybe the future of music isn't quite as dire as I once thought. First, we are seeing ever increasingly innovative business ideas for financing musical talent. As I discuss in my London Independent column today, I really like the Sellaband and Slicethepie models which provide music lovers with the business infrastructure to invest in and take ownership stakes in artists. Expect to see this model extend into other entertainment industries like sports and publishing, where fans and readers often have better judgment than traditional managers.
Then there's the renaissance in the live music business which may end up dwarfing the collapse of the recorded music industry. In the Spring 2008 issue of Soho Magazine, David Glick, the founder of the investment fund Edge Group, argues that we might be on the brink on a new golden age for the music business:
The fact is that at a time when newspapers are full of reports of supposed collapse and ruination and choas in the record business, there has never been a greater interest from investors in putting their cash into it. From private equity company Terra Firma's 2.4 billion UK sterling purchase of EMI last year and my own company Edge Group's 25 billion UK sterling fund investing in live music, to The Verve and Klaxon's manager Jazz Summers recently-announced Power Amp Music Fund, there suddenly seems to be an outpouring of money from investors toward music.
And it's live music where Glick believes that the real business opportunity lies for entrepreneurs. He argues this extends from "covermounts" and "ad-supported music models" to "high-end corporate gigs offering the wealthy select few the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with the stars in return for often eye-popping ticket prices."
So while the future of music may not be quite as rosily democratic as the Web 2.0 optimists would have us believe, it also may not be quite as bleak as pessimists like myself have been arguing. What has emerged unscathed from the wreckage of the recorded music industry is the physical value of the music artist. The copy might well be dead, but this, ironically, has only added more economic value to the act of playing live music.
It's nice to be wrong sometimes. Now I've got good reason to be cheerful about the future of music.
Summer, Buddy Holly, the working follyGood golly Miss Molly and boatsHammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi BalletJump back in the alley and nanny goats 18-wheeler Scammels, Domenecker camelsAll other mammals plus equal votesSeeing Piccadilly, Fanny Smith and WillyBeing rather silly, and porridge oats A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share itYou're welcome, we can spare it - yellow socksToo short to be haughty, too nutty to be naughtyGoing on 40 - no electric shocks The juice of the carrot, the smile of the parrotA little drop of claret - anything that rocksElvis and Scotty, days when I ain't spotty,Sitting on the potty - curing smallpox Reasons to be cheerful part 3Reasons to be cheerful part 3Reasons to be cheerful part 3Reasons to be cheerful part 3