[FredLUG] Fwd: Free
marwalk at gmail.com
Sat Aug 7 11:08:22 EDT 2010
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This fellow Lefsetz has *a lot* to say about a lot of things. His
observations cut through to things that people with certain vested
interests would rather remain unnoticed. Not everyone, including me,
agrees with everything Lefsetz says; however, I think his points are
right on more often than not.
This is one such case, and I'm forwarding it to the group as something
directly relevant to SFD. Here, I think, are laid out the seeds of a
successful FOSS business model.
For your reading pleasure and ponderation,
Notice: Lefsetz' vernacular does not qualify for an iTunes "CLEAN" rating.
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Date: Sat, 7 Aug 2010 00:44:08 -0600
From: Bob Lefsetz <bob at lefsetz.com>
To: marwalk at marwalk.com
Do they charge you for the first hit of dope? Do they make you buy a
car without a test drive? Then what makes the rights holders believe
that Rdio or MOG or Rhapsody will be successful?
Don't point to iTunes. The iTunes Store is a failure. The music
industry needs a cap on the well of unauthorized trading, but like BP
they didn't expect a problem, don't want to admit there's a problem,
grossly understate the problem, but the difference is, BP finally
stanched the flow of wayward oil. How is the music industry going to
stop the flow of free music?
By authorizing free music. And upselling from there.
First and foremost, you have to disincentivize people from stealing.
And the way you do this is not by wielding a big stick, but by offering
a carrot, something that's more enticing than what they've got now.
It's a pain in the ass to steal. You have to find the track/album and
wait for it to download. It's the opposite of normal twenty first
century experience, where everything is instant. Imagine if you had to
wait ten minutes for your e-mail. Would you tolerate that? That's what
stealing music is like. Which is why YouTube is so successful. Not for
videos, but for listening to music. It's the go-to platform. Ever
notice that YouTube is free?
I'm not talking about videos, I'm not talking about Vevo, I'm talking
about garden variety music, the kind that goes in your ears, not your
eyes. If you want to hear a track you might start off at a band's
website. Then you're going directly to YouTube, bypassing the horrible
interface and slow rendering of MySpace, certainly not going to
iTunes... You want to hear the song enough times to know you want to
buy it. Why shouldn't rights holders get paid for these listens?
I know, I know, it's tough for rights holders to wrap their heads around
this one. Just like it was hard to wrap their heads around the original
Napster. Albums must be sold as ten tracks for twenty dollars on a
piece of plastic. Who'd want anything else? Boatloads of people. And
they all tried Napster because it was free.
The next revolution in music distribution will start off free. Because,
right now, music is free. Via P2P, hard drive swap, IM swap and
YouTube. Why on earth should anybody pay for it?
But if Spotify were launched in America, it would eliminate most theft.
It just doesn't pay to steal if you've got Spotify.
But the labels don't want to give that much power to one entity. They
don't want to get the public hooked on free, even though music's already
free, quite a conundrum. What do the labels want other than a return to
yesteryear and a pile of money?
Tell me one online success that started off as a pay service. Yahoo was
and still is free. Google is free. Facebook is free. But the music
industry believes it is different, that people should pay first. They go
on about stealing cars and furniture and how it's just unfair. But I
ask you, are they replicating cars and furniture online? Of course not.
So can we stop that debate?
You didn't get Napster until you used it. And that's why the labels
lost, they didn't allow their people to use it. Because Napster was
like heroin, you instantly got hooked, and the only withdrawal that
occurred was when the site was shut down.
Don't you see? People are going to have to try the new service first
for free! And you're gonna have to entice them to pay thereafter, just
like you pay for bottled water. Ironically, by offering non-musical
elements. Portability on mobile handsets. Ability to listen to
friends' music. Higher quality rips.
Spotify's got it right. A perfect interface with free streaming and a
paid for mobile app that allows thousands of tracks to live on your
handset as if you owned them.
YouTube's a lousy interface for listening to music. P2P is tiresome
and you don't have all the music at your fingertips. Rhapsody is stuck
at under a million subscribers and the even cheaper Best Buy Napster has
got no traction. If you think you're gonna get people to pay for these
streaming services in droves, you've lost your mind. First and
foremost, they've got to be free.
Spotify is so good, it closes you instantly. But the rights holders
refuse to offer this dope. Under the guise of maintaining the value of
music, of not making music free, but don't you get it? MUSIC IS ALREADY
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