Rock Band 2 to feature new releases from Bob Dylan, Guns n' Roses
Musicians and bands and music companies have been experimenting with how to distribute new work for several years now. Everyone knows that the old model is crumbling, and the scramble is on to find new ways to make money from the music game.
The interesting thing about it to me, taking a step back, is to realize that:
* music is more popular than ever
* there are more ways than ever before to consume the exact music that you want
* there are more ways than ever before to consume the exact music that you want exactly when you want it
The problem/challenge/conundrum on the business side is how to make money from this.
Recently, I spouted effusive over Pandora’s music service. I wrote that its music recommendation engine was so good, in fact, that “I was prompted to begin a list of albums that I needed to buy at some point, such as from the bands The Urge, Pepper, and Catch 22.”
In fact, over the weekend I went on a buying spree on iTunes based on my explorations listening to free/ad-supported music on Pandora (OMC’s own music recommendation: check out Streetlight Manifesto). While this is anecdotal evidence that there’s “hope” for the music industry â€“ which will look completely different in a few years to be sure â€“ I am convinced that stable models are not all that far off.
The massive popularity of video games â€“ particularly amongst kids and young adults â€“ is another perfect means to pay musicians for their work. The ability to choose among some dozen radio stations while cruising around (and marauding) in Grand Theft Auto IV is a marvelous addition to the experience, for example.
And now we have news that Guns n’ Roses (Chinese Democracy is finally on the brink of being unleashed, long bearded long time Guns fans!) and Bob Dylan will release tracks through the forthcoming Rock Band 2. As an aside, it’s exciting to see Dylan â€“ a true rock pioneer who broke boundaries by colliding folk, blues, country, and rock back in the day â€“ taking some leading role in this grand experiment.
While I don’t think there’s any one answer â€“ from ring tones, to ad supported online radio stations, to inclusion in video games â€“ I think there is and will be multiple answers to help bring music to people while returning value to creators. And the wonderful thing about the Internet, of course, is that there can be direct transactions. The ability for artists to put up a page on myspace or create their own website and allow fans to listen to music, buy albums, and communicate with each has never been easier for cheaper.