The theme of this week is the music industry. As noted yesterday, the impetus is David Kusek and Gerd Leonhard's The Future of Music: Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution.
The central organizing vision of the book is a future for the music industry that they refer to as "Music Like Water." Some of the essential elements of this Endstate are that for a fixed fee, consumers get access to a virtually unlimited music library. One important difference between this future and the present time is that Kusek and Leonhard expect that streaming music will be far more important than music distribution based on files and downloading.
Here I want to begin suggesting some other Endstates for the music industry. Today's Endstate might be called "10,000 Maniac MTV Channels". The hallmark of this Endstate is that music video is far more important than plain old music. A majority of music is experienced through video. Watching is more important than simply listening. And MVideo tastes change rapidly; attention spans are extremely short.
Cell phones supporting high quality audio and video are old news. Trendsetting consumer experiences includes phones integrated with clothing and eyeglasses to provide high quality video and audio on demand and regardless of location. Mobile mobs are the range in Tokyo, London, and San Francisco. Organized by instant messaging, fans of particular band will assemble on virtually a moment's notice to watch the same video and dance to the same tune in public locations such as malls, squares, outside clubs, etc.
Inexpensive HD video production technologies including animation and editing tools are used by artists and their production companies to produce an integrated video/music experience. GRAMMY awards focus on the integrated video/music experience. Almost no one wins a GRAMMY any more simply for the music.
Artists and their production companies battle the Majors for position in the most popular vid-casting services, services whose popularity changes weekly. The only certainty is the uncertainty of fads and fleeting fame. Everyone now gets 1/3 Warhol (5 minutes) of fame, down from 1 Warhol (15 minutes) in the late 1990s.