Dubner, Stephen J. "What's the Future of the Music Industry? A Freakonomics Quorum." Freakonomics Blog, New York Times. 20 September 2007. <http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/09/20/whats-the-future-of-the-music-industry-a-freakonomics-quorum/>
This 2007 New York Times blog compiles the opinions of five different experts on the music industry. They are asked to reflect on the "future" of music in the context of the digital revolution. One expert is the author of the previously-referenced "Effects of File-Sharing on Record Sales," three are major music executives, and another is the founder of Engadget and a free, online-only music label. Essentially, they all offer disparate perspectives regarding the way in whcih music consumption is changing.
In a paper meant to argue a particular position about the success of new online music distribution methods, any novice or statistical opinion must be tempered by that of the experts. This New York Times column is a unique and valuable compilation of 5 different expert opinions. Largely, everyone seems to agree that the music industry is undergoing substantial change and that the labels must be open to reinvention. One suggestion undrestood by the labels in 2007, it seems, are advertising-supported models. Most interestingly, in their opinions these experts define exactly why the internet has changed the demand for music so thoroughly: it has affected scarcity. This is a crucial basis of understanding for any marketing or revenue model that follows.
Anderson, Nate. "Free Nine Inch Nails album tops 2008 Amazon MP3 Sales Charts." Ars Technica. 6 January 2009.
This article summarizes experiemental distribution of Nine Inch Nails's new album and the effects the new online distribution model had on sales. Nine Inch Nails released the album Ghosts I-IV under a Creative Commons license, which allows legal free sharing and remixing. Despite this, the album garnered huge profits; both via digital download on Amazon.com, and perhaps more significantly in limited edition "extras" sets. The Ars Techinca article goes on to pose two questions to Fred Beneson of Creative Commons: Why would fans buy the album when it could be had for free, and would Creative Commons Lisencing work for record labels? Bereson addresses these questions speculatively, with optimism as well as some analysis of the factors necessary for the success achieved by NIN.
This is a major success story for Creative Commons, and an example of a profit-making model that still offers free download and distribution of music. The profits of Ghosts I-IV speak to the appeal for a product that is not available for free download (extras, convenience, or the authenticity of supporting an artist directly). Understanding the presence of this demand is necessary for understanding the way people want to consume music in the digital age. Profits can be achieved via different music products and services.
Barboza, David. "Google and Music Labels bet on Downloads in China." The New York Times. 5 April 2009.
This article addresses one of the most recent experiments in new profit models based on digital music: Google's free music search engine in China. Very recently, several of the biggest international record labels partnered with Google and a Chinese company (top100.com) to offer a free music-download service. Because online piracy of music is particularly rampant in China, the success of this model could have lasting implications on policies in the US. The New York Times article offers both critical and supportive opinions on the initiative. Notably, Google will have to struggle to contain the music-downloading to China, employing "legal and technical hurdles."
The partnership of Google with major international music labels represents a new way for record companies to remain profitable without trying to stop free music downloads. This unlimited-download service is supported not through subscription, but by advertisements. Although it is difficult to anticipate the success of such a model, the adoption of this idea certainly reflects a major change in the way that the entertainment industry is approaching its consumers. The willingness of labels (even on this controlled scale) to abandon control over music distribution to this degree is a symptom of their desperation, certainly. However, it is likely also a necessary move towards a new kind of support for music development.
Accenture Media and Entertainment. "The Challenge of Change: Perspectives on the future for Content Providers." Accenture Global Content Study 2008. Accenture: 2008.
This report is the result of a market research firm initiative, in which they surveyed 100 entertainment executives to determine their opinions on the future of revenue models based on digital media. The results of the survey show that the ad-based model is the most popular model for the surveyed executives, as opposed to subscription or iTunes-like services. Though the focus in the report seems to be on forms of entertainment other than music media, it provides a successful context for profit-garnering models in digital entertainment. It also reflects the point of view of those that will ultimately be responsible for shaping the way that media is transferred to the consumer (legally) online.
This report represents yet another perspective on successful provision of internet content (without greater legislation). The importance of advertising on maintaining free content on the internet cannot be understated -- many argue that advertising-based models represent the future of music revenue. Ad-based music models are already being put into place: the music-search engine developed by Google in China, for example. The Accenture report is important, therefore, because it provides data and quotes from industry experts that address the longstanding relationship between advertising and entertainment.