Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rock and/or Roll Blog 2

This week, the readings focus mostly on overall industries and their make up as well as how competitive advantage can be won or lost through effective or ineffective analysis. To augment this reading I came across this: an article titled, “the recession in the music industry – a cause analysis”. What I found so interesting about this article, was that it argued a point I personally have long been arguing, “file sharing is not killing the music industry”.

In today’s world, technology drives everything, including the evolution of industry (at least to a point). This has been especially true in the music industry. The introduction of new mediums of music delivery turned the industry completely on its head at least 3 times over the course of history. The introduction of the LP allowed listeners to bring their favorite music home and listen to it whatever they wanted. They also gave the consumer variety as he or she could buy an entire album or often times they could buy just a 2-sided single that was cheaper and only contained the most popular song. CDs turned the industry around again by making it cheaper and easier to produce albums, giving the user the ability to skip tracks at will and providing more storage space than a record. CDs also made the single obsolete. Combining the cost of producing CDs with their ability to seek backwards and forwards there wasn’t much rhyme or reason to continue producing singles anymore, as consumers wouldn’t buy them. (Yes, I skipped the 8-track on purpose).

Most recently has been the rise in digital music. Digital music brings new convenience and storage capacity that we never would have otherwise dreamed possible. But it has brought with it a rise in online pirating. What the article argues and I wholeheartedly agree with is that a simple analysis of the industry shows that what actually has changed (arguably just as much as the technology itself) is the consumer’s preferences.

How many people have pirated an album for a single song? (I certainly have) How often after the initial download have you actually listened to any of the other songs after that? (Countless) What I have argued and the article supports perhaps better than I could on my own, is that album sales have declined because consumers are realizing their true wants. They want variety; in particular, they want a level of variety that was not previously available to them before digital music.

The point I’m trying to get to here is this; had someone taken a different approach and analyzed this industry from a different angle how would it’s layout look now? Had someone analyzed how consumer’s used to act and made the assumption that consumer preferences only changed because technology changed? I guess my question is, will the next major revolution come from analyzing consumer preferences and adapting the technology to what they want as opposed to following the natural trends of development?

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