Music’s Future: Discovery, Engagement, Content, and Context


Photo by Curtis Billau — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Forget about free music.

As posted in KadmusArts’ culture news feed, Michael Nash understands the past and has seen the future. In an interview with Greg Sandoval at CNET, Nash reflected on his years at the center of music’s digital life.

Nash is leaving his position as Executive Vice President, Digital Strategy and Business Development for Warner Music Group. He has been at WMG since 2000. Previously, Nash was the executive director of the Madison Project, an industry-first secure digital music distribution trial, the CEO and founder of Inscape, an interactive entertainment and games publishing joint venture with WMG and HBO, and director of the Criterion Collection.

What’s his advice? As he told Sandoval, “Free didn’t work before. It was once used to drive engagement with ads. What we’re looking for now is for free to drive engagement with subscription services.”

In other words, forget about the drive-by grab of free music. That’s unsustainable and, even more importantly, unfair to the artists. Subscription services, on the other hand, can be about building a relationship between the product and the user, and between the artist and the audience.

The successful artist-to-audience services will maximize the sweet spot of all businesses and all arts: Discovery, Engagement, Content, and Context.

The best kind of online platform helps the consumer discover talent; engage with the talent and their community; easily access content; and, be able to dive deep into the context of an artist’s work and its connection to other work.

Don’t worry about losing something that’s been free. Be happy that there’s going to be something with more value. That should be music to everyone’s ears.

-Bill Reichblum

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