There is a great new video by the OK Go for their song "This Too Shall Pass". As I was watching it and thinking about posting on Facebook and in some other places, I found that the video is not embeddable from YouTube. In the course of looking into it, I came across this Open Letter from OK Go to their fans explaining why it's not available as an embed from YouTube.
The letter explains of the complicated contractual and business reasons that they and their label can't get their cut of YouTube's advertising revenue from embedded video. It then reflects on the state of the music industry.
We’re stuck between two worlds: the world of ten years ago, where music was privately owned in discreet little chunks (CDs), and a new one that seems to be emerging, where music is universally publicly accessible. The thing is, only one of these worlds has a (somewhat) stable system in place for funding music and all of its associated nuts-and-bolts logistics, and, even if it were possible, none of us would willingly return to that world. Aside from the smug assholes who ran labels, who’d want a system where a handful of corporate overlords shove crap down our throats? All the same, if music is going to be more than a hobby, someone, literally, has to pay the piper. So we’ve got this ridiculous situation where the machinery of the old system is frantically trying to contort and reshape and rewire itself to run without actually selling music. It’s like a car trying to figure out how to run without gas, or a fish trying to learn to breath air.
One of the things that we're exploring with the Colin Gawel is the how to make a living in the music industry during the transition from the old label driven business model to whatever it is going to be. We are trying to help create the "what it is going to be" model.
We'll be fleshing this out more in the coming weeks, but the basics of the model that we've chosen for Colin are:
Increase the frequency of "releases". Most people agree that the basis of any new business model is creating a community. You have to engage and maintain your fan base. The one or two year release schedule for producing an album is simply to much time between releases to maintain that relationship.
Related to the "fan engagement" aspect of the stream of content model is that you have more time to make a connection with the press, blogs and social media to amplify your message.
Also, thanks to the "I Am Fuel, You Are Friends" blog for getting me started writing about this. Colin, Mike Landolt (Curry House Records) and I have been thinking a lot about this over the past year and now it's time to start making the discussion public.
Anyway, here's the video that started it all. It's utterly original and fun.