Fans, Brands and Cultural Communities

 I just read a very smart analysis about how to be successful in the music business.  It was written by Terry McBride and Brent Muhle.  It’s called Meet The Millenials: Fans, Brands and Cultural Communities.

Terry is one smart cookie. He understands the music business and he understands digital media.  His company, Nettwerk, has sold 150 million albums during a time when the industry was crying the blues about lost sales.  

One of his artists, Avril Lavinge, has a video on YouTube that has been seen over 90 million times (the report even provides a case study about how they did it).  

To me, the most important part of this report on Fans, Brands and Cultural Communities is the insight about the need to experiment and tinker if you want your entertainment business to succeed online.

Meet The Millenials says, “No single approach is ‘the next big thing’, and experimentation is strongly encouraged.  No-one can afford to wait for proof of concept when the next big innovation is always just around the corner.”

“No one can afford to wait for proof of concept…”.  This might be terrifying to the old guard in media and entertainment.  It suggests that the future is not predictable, that you have to experiment and try things out – that there will be failures as well as success.  And, Wall Street hates failures.

That’s why the experimenters are dominating the new business models.  They aren’t afraid to tinker, to try things out.  They aren’t wedded to the old models with their ‘guaranteed’ paydays.  They are willing to experiment.

As the report says, “Yesterday’s outlandish concepts are tomorrow’s best practices”.  

So, how can you increase your chance for success in the digital space?  Experiment.  Try things out.  If you see that something is working for someone else, try to understand it.  As soon as you understand it, copy it.  Use it. 

No one has all the answers about how this space will unfold.  But you can increase your chances of a bigger payday by encouraging lots of experimentation and ‘smart copying’.

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