Transmedia and the Music Business


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Presentation to the Music Business School in London, England.
Explores the concept of "narrative engagement" in which artist development

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Transmedia and the Music Business

  1. 1. Presentation to The Music Business School Covent Garden, London Robert Pratten Founder, 22nd September 2010
  2. 2. About me
  3. 3. …and in the recent past…
  4. 4. Oh, and I also play guitar Moonlight Club, West Hampstead 1984
  5. 5. Objective • Present a strategy for artist commercialization • Stimulate discussion
  6. 6. The presentation • Part 1: Where are we now? – Success = connecting with fans and giving them a reason to spend their money – Lost in the noise? – Familiar “new” business ideas • Part 2: Connecting with fans – Artist as a social enabler – Participation & remix culture • Part 3: Cross-platform experiences – Content strategy • Part 4: Narrative engagement
  7. 7. Part 1 Where are we now?
  8. 8. Inflammable Material ;) • Nine Inch Nails ( • Radiohead Success was not only about having an established fan base. Also depended on: credibility, authenticity, community, relationships
  9. 9. Mike Masnick @TechDirt Connect with Fans + Reason to Buy = $$
  10. 10. Sell what’s scarce and what can’t be copied Potential availability
  11. 11. “Music like water” Gerd Leonhard • Free from the tap • Yet $billion business in bottled water • All-you-can eat & streamed (licensed not necessarily owned) – Spotify – • Gerd’s proposal: Internet Music License (a bit like the TV License)
  12. 12. My issue with the license proposal • Philosophical: I don’t like Government • Economic: Distorts the market • Bigger players will come to dominate even more and squeeze out indies and start-ups – 80% license will go to top 20% players (maybe 90% to 10%) – Industry services will be priced to support the biggest players who are only viable thanks to tax support (and hence not at market rate) – further crippling new players • Let the fans decide
  13. 13. “Music like perfume” • Selling dreams, not smelly water • No independent measure of “quality” – Who knows? Whose nose? • Differentiated almost entirely by marketing – Brand – Endorsement – Price – Allure, mystique, passion (e.g. narrative)
  14. 14. Wisdom of the crowd? • 14,000 people given access to eight online download “worlds” • All unknown songs from unknown bands • In seven stores people could see most popular downloads • In the eighth store nobody could see what was being downloaded Results • songs were more likely to be downloaded the more popular they became • popular songs were different across the worlds • people followed the herd and choices were heavily influenced by the first downloaders. Source: Princeton University study quoted in the behavioral economics book Nudge
  15. 15. Business models • Premium – CD, vinyl, download, gigs, licensing – Higher marketing costs – Barrier to spreading – Vulnerable to piracy • “Free” to consume (3rd party pays) – Patron doesn’t want repayment – Crowdfunding (money upfront) – Sponsorship (clothing, drinks, venue) – Advertising • Freemium – Free to view on some platforms – Paid on others: some more suited to payments – Future • Subscription • Virtual goods • Endorsement (co-branding – skateboards, mobile phones, laptops)
  16. 16. UK Music Secondary Revenues (2009) GBP193.5M (21% of total income) Other Income Premiums Artist-related Income up 17% on 2008 Synchronisation Up 20% on 2008 Public Performance Licensing "Artist-related income" concerts, merch, direct sales, sponsorship, endorsements, digital (exc. ring tones) "PPL (public performance licencing)" domestic TV, radio, pubs, clubs etc "Synchronisation" (films, TV, games) "Premiums" Covermounts and Consumer Promotions "Other Income" (back-end from films & shows, TV productions, hardware deals, advances)
  17. 17. Part 2 Connecting with Fans: The Artist as a Social Enabler
  18. 18. Connect with fans
  19. 19. Old Skool
  20. 20. New Skool
  21. 21. Give fans the tools • Community (uploads, reviews) • Mobile apps • Social games • Downloads – graphics, sounds, merchandise • Facilitate and encourage remixing & mashups
  22. 22. browser-based remixing
  23. 23. browser-based video editing
  24. 24. Part 3 A Multiplatform Strategy
  25. 25. Transmedia development model
  26. 26. Modified for music business: SAMBA :)
  27. 27. How an artist can earn $1,160 a month image by David McCandless at Information is Beautiful] Data at
  28. 28. How an artist can earn $1,160 a month • Sell 150 CDs yourself (no label) • Sell 1,200 albums through iTunes (label) • Sell 1,500 tracks through CDbaby (no label) • Sell 12,000 tracks through Amazon MP3 (label) • Stream 850,000 tracks through Rhapsody (label) • Stream 1.5 million tracks through (label)
  29. 29. Multi-platform strategy Official iTunes Televised Good site festival Revenue Local gig Spotify piracy Poor Poor Good Spread, Attention and Credibility
  30. 30. Including piracy in your content strategy Owned Paid Earned Content & places you control: Exposure you pay for: Exposure & credibility others give you: • Music recordings • Advertising (web, radio, • Word-of-mouth • Videos TV, mobile) • Great reviews • Artist website • Payola • Sharing of YouTube videos • Facebook page • Facebook Likes • Twitter account • Remixes • ReTweets • Piracy Create to build long-term Quick exposure but maybe Gained through Owned & Paid profitable relationship with untrusted Most credible but slow to build fans Short-term attention does not Demonstrates engagement guarantee low-term survival
  31. 31. Label with weak artist Paid media won’t sustain a weak artist (one-hit wonder?)
  32. 32. Independent artist with great music But word-of-mouth takes time and energy to build
  33. 33. Label with strong artist Paid media provides attention that multiplies spread Earned media is “trusted“ and multiplies results of paid media
  34. 34. Part 4 Connecting with Fans Narrative Engagement
  35. 35. Gorillaz is a Storyworld
  36. 36. Narrative = story • Characters • Conflict (Plot) • Time • Location • Fans will invent their own stories if you give them the tools: – scooters, parkas, suede shoes, haircuts, tattoos, symbols… meat dress? – going to a gig
  37. 37. More than noise and a reason to buy What is this artist saying? (what’s the premise?) Does the artist grow over her career?
  38. 38. Narrative engagement Over-arching narrative across three albums “…explores the concepts of evolution and revolution and links between media martyrs Jesus Christ, John F. Kennedy and John Lennon by focusing on various alchemical, political, cultural, historical, mythological and Biblical themes.” Sarah Quelland
  39. 39. Band: Hail The Villain Album: Population: Declining “the website allows users to navigate through the scene to unlock character back-stories, clues, downloads and to participate in the story by becoming Villains and sharing messages with the band”
  40. 40. Narrative engagement Developed by GRAND, Toronto
  41. 41. Narrative engagement The Who Quadrophenia Sham 69 That’s Life
  42. 42. Narrative engagement
  43. 43. Narrative engagement An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform, often involving multiple media and game elements, to tell a story that may be affected by participants' ideas or actions. The term "marketing" sure is a frustrating one for me at the moment. What you are now starting to experience IS "year zero". It's not some kind of gimmick to get you to buy a record - it IS the art form... and we're just getting started. Hope you enjoy the ride. Trent Reznor Case Study:
  44. 44. Narrative engagement •Aliens •Conspiracy theories •Druids •Real Ale & Cider •Out-of-body Experiences •Planetary exploration
  45. 45. Conclusions • Use narrative engagement to build relationships with fans • Reward fans for their loyalty • Empower fans to introduce others to your artists • Need a multi-platform business model
  46. 46. Transmedia Storyteller Robert Pratten
  47. 47. Boneyard • Slides that got cut… and after-presentation discussion.
  48. 48. Live performance mobile app?
  49. 49. Holding attention
  50. 50. Earlier content primes the pump…
  51. 51. Effect of additional “micro-content”
  52. 52. Transmedia Storyteller Robert Pratten