There has been a lot of discussion around the Taylor Swift and Spotify fiasco after she pulled her music from Spotify. Daniel Ek responded today with a blog post defending the service and his vision.
I wanted to write about what we see as a major issue in the whole debacle which is a fight against new technology! It's been a long lasting obstacle for the major labels and many in the music industry while being liberating and providing huge opportunities for others.
1. Technology changes the landscape, and you need to change with it
Technology creates new, better, and more efficient methods for outdated processes. Most importantly, technology creates change. People tend to resist change, but those who can adapt to change almost always come out on top. Technology and change will happen with or without you, so you can stay in the stone age, adapt, or lead by creating the change yourself!
Napster changed the music industry forever. Whether the labels like it or not, people jumped on to the new technology we see it's influence re-emerged as the primary way that people like to consumer music through streaming services.
2. Resisting change leads to epic failure
Just ask Blockbuster. As technological changes opened the doors for people to start streaming movies, Blockbuster completely missed the boat and and resisted the change. NetFlix, On Demand services, and other streaming services took advantage of the new technology and are the dominant forces in streaming movies. In relation to music, Blockbuster is the hard albums and CDs while NetFlix is the music streaming service.
When Napster came along, it created an entirely new technology for consuming music just as the music industry was at it's peak. Rather than notice the wild change in technolgoy and try to work with it, the music industry fought it for years. But as we know, when technology changes, you can't fight it! The fight led to years of legal battles while other P2P services such as LimeWire and Kazaa sprouted up like a game of Free Music Wack-a-Mole. It took until recent years for the music industry to finally jump on board with streaming services like Spotify and Pandora to work out a model that can fit the change in technology.
3. Everybody's doing it
Not that "Because everybody's doing it" is a reason to jump on the bandwagon and follow the pack. However, when everyone that's doing it happens to be your consumers, your fans, and your loyal customers, maybe you should take notice and try to work with them rather than fight them! It's not you against the fans, you're in it together. So if they discover something new and are all taking advantage of it, it can lead to amazing opportunities!
4. It leads to new, unexplored opportunities
There are tons of new opportunities that can arise from changes in technology! The most successful artists, companies, and people, are those who were able to find opportunities in technological changes. It might feel a bit scary at first because it's an unknown territory, but if you can find a way to use technology to find new opportunities with interact with your fans and deliver your music, it can work out better and improve the relationship you have with people!
Just ask any up and coming artist who never used to have a platform to deliver their music to the masses. With technology today, any artist can get their music online on any music hosting website and within almost any streaming service! The music distribution system has made it as easy as possible for unknown artists with great music to get their music out there leaving them with more time to focus on promotion rather than how to distribute their music.
The Grateful Dead took huge advantage of technology. They allowed fans to tape all of their concerts for free which resulted in millions of people sharing tapes of their live shows before the internet even existed! Bands such as Dispatch attribute their success to the fact that Napster allowed people to spread their music as much as possible!
5. Because it's here. Get used to it!
Technology is here. Maybe it's scary sometimes. But you need to get used to it and move on! The only thing that's inevitable is change. Don't let technology's exitence discourage or hinder your capabilities. Let it enhance what you do.