Seth Godin gives good advice to the music industry


19 Responses to “Seth Godin gives good advice to the music industry”

  1. themagus says:

    yeah that was really hard to follow

  2. Downpressor says:

    nc gn th vwl thf ttmpts t slnc vcs f dsgrmnt rthr thn llw pn dscssn. thnk t wld b mr plt t llw Cry t cntr cmmnt rthr thn smply vndlzng ds tht r nt n ln wth hs. Prtty rnc fr st tht hsts nt cnsrshp dcmnts, n?

    Mdrtn s ftl thng. Nthng sccds lk xcss. — scr Wld(1)

    n ny cs, ths s <>thr st nt mn s f th mdrtr wnts t sht m dwn ts hr prrgtv.

    (1) Tdy’s Slshdt qttn whch fnd fttng n sprt.

  3. Michael R. Bernstein says:

    Hmm. I think Godin’s business model here is a bit bogus. The tribal management business is likely one with thin margins, unless they figure out a way to raise the switching costs for the artists.

    But, aside from the business model, a lot of what he says rings true. It also resembles Josh Ellis’ 2003 article on ‘Taste Tribes’:

  4. Takuan says:

    it’s too much work to puzzle out your post, why don’t you summarize it – inoffensively this time – and I’ll read it then?

  5. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Downpressor, when are you and DCer going to stop taking potshots at Cory? He’s not responsible for the sorry state of the music industry.

  6. Takuan says:

    it’s too much work to puzzle out your post, why don’t you summarize it – inoffensively this time – and I’ll read it then?

  7. pspinrad says:

    Generally agree. It all comes down to manufacturing celebrity, which can only be done (reliably, anyway) by an industry. Then you monetize via concerts, fan clubs, merch, etc.

    The concert experience, being surrounded by other humans focused on the same thing in a shared time and place, cannot be pirated. It helps if there’s also some spectacle, and it helps doubly if some of the spectacle comes from the crowd itself.

    Hi-res simulcast concerts, to save on tour costs, might work at some point. Probably safest to start with bubblegum groups.

    Good point, Dcer, about PR firms managing fan clubs!

  8. moonracer23 says:

    So, instead of paying for music I pay someone to tell me what music to listen to?

  9. DCer says:

    Wht fnd mzng s tht Cry, stnsbly smn wh ndrstnds md, gt shnkrd nt rnnng ths drvl n Bng Bng? t sms smtms lk h jst “hs t t” fr mscns nd wll pst nythng t crtcz thm- vn whn t’s prly wrttn nd prly thght-t.

  10. Downpressor says:


    I wasn’t aware that disagreement and pointing out percieved gaps in logic now qualified as “potshots”. Its not personal at all, but my belief is that Cory errs on a number of points and since he is considered an opinion leader in current discussions on maters of copyright, I wish to express my opinions to him.

    I think that amongst adults, “I disagree with X and here’s why” or even “I think that X’s opinions are slanted” is quite different from “X is a doo doo head”. The second might reasonably be considered worthy of exclusion from conversation amongst adults.


    Thank you for at least attempting to read my comments. To restate as blandly as possible: I found the linked post uninformative rather than good advice. Secondly, I also agreed with DCER on something regarding Mr. Doctorow’s public opinions regarding musicians. #15 Was a complaint regarding the modification of #14 in which I stated the above.

  11. Downpressor says:

    DCR cmmntd:

    Wht fnd mzng s tht Cry, stnsbly smn wh ndrstnds md, gt shnkrd nt rnnng ths drvl n Bng Bng?

    Kywrd thr s stnsbly. H hs tht rpttn bt ts ll dsrvd. Lkng bck vr hs cmmntry n ny md xcpt pblshng nd hs lck f knwldg bcms bg nd shny. s prvsly pntd t, th Sth Gdn rtcl lnkd hr s jst nthr vrsn f fn clbs wth hnd wvng twrds th d tht trng nd mrchndsng r th mnymkrs.

    Ths prtclr bsnss nstrm s vry shrt sghtd vw n nly n smll prt f th vrll bsnss f ntrtnng ppl wth msc nd s hrdly pnc fr ny mscns wh r nt wll fnncd by thmslvs r crprt bckrs.

    vn fr th crprt bckrs ts hrd t s ths ds s “gd dvc”. f th lbl wns th fn clb nd mrchndsng rghts, sn’t tht jst nthr spct f th prvsly vlfd 360 cntrct? f th bnd/mscn/prdcr/mngr wns thm, hw ds tht hlp th thr prts? ctlly ths qstns hv lrdy bn ddrssd mny wys vr th lst fw dcds wth vrs n sdd r prft splttng grmnts.

    Nt t sy tht th ss s slvd, bt shrt f gvrnmnt mndtd prft shrng grmnts rtfd by ntrntnl trts wth nfrcmnt by N Blck Hlcptr Sqds, hw cld ll prts nvlvd vr b stsfd nw nd n th ftr?

    t sms smtms lk h jst “hs t t” fr mscns nd wll pst nythng t crtcz thm- vn whn t’s prly wrttn nd prly thght-t.

    Lks lk tht dsnt t? Bsclly nyn nvlvd n msc wh dsn’t sbscrb t hs cnvctns rgrdng cpyrght, “frdm”, tc. gts nthng bt th rspbrry. Cry shws n rspct nd ctvly ncrgs tht ppl shld ngg n thft f srvc f nn “fr” md.

  12. NikFromNYC says:

    Who’s Natalie Merchant? Let’s Pirate Bay her entire life’s work and find out! Aw heck, only one of her albums is on there. I’d have to sample dozens of songs at the iTunes store. Nah. Sorry Natalie. But wait, they are user-*rated* there, so I’d just have to test the top three. Here goes…. Popish country music. Nah. Sorry again, Natalie, I’m not in your tribe.

  13. DCer says:

    First off, how nice of Seth to describe how Public Relations companies work! I’m sure that companies that have been providing this service for the last 20-40 years (fan club operations) would enjoy the increased business. I believe the two companies that do most of this nationally are Live Nation and Signatures Network, but correct me if I’m wrong. All I know is that in the 1980s I knew interns doing exactly what he talked about, but via snail mail and phone calls.

    Ok, so what happens when there’s a great band that doesn’t have a tribe yet? They are introduced to someone else’s tribe and no one goes because no one wants to pay money for music anymore? Already the new music fail-conomy is requesting this band pay for recording production up-front and the “Fans” are requesting free downloads that the won’t pay for. Then, does the band play for free to get noticed? At what point does the band break even?

    I love the idea that you can notify people that Natalie Merchant is coming to town and “they’ll all go.” Raise your hand if you bought Vista when Microsoft released it. Did you “all go?” No, you didn’t. Having toured with bands before, I’ll let you in on a secret, maybe 10% of the people who own your music will go at best and more often than not, we’d see 25% of the people at a show were people who went to ALL the shows, but didn’t know your band except for record reviews in the newspaper.

    This idea of tribes is not how people consume music. You have a large group of people who don’t care much about music or bands and look for songs. You have a smaller group of hipsters who go everywhere. You have a small small group of people who absolutely love your band. These “tribes” may pay to see you all over the place, but they may only account for 300 seats at a show. Basically brokefying your band.

  14. Philipshade says:

    Looks like some good advice. Too bad it seems that the majors would sooner see every American locked up in jail for copyright infringement rather than change their business model.

  15. DCer says:

    Oh, and what any good internet entrepreneur will tell you is that there is nothing stopping some teenager from providing this service for their favorite band for free, eliminating the label’s flow of money there.

    There is nothing that can fix the music industry short of “fans” paying for songs.

  16. Clumpy says:

    He does an excellent job of speaking from the perspective of an industry insider while chastising them pretty severely for their missteps. Whether they incorporate his suggestions or not, they got something to think about.

  17. Downpressor says:

    Good points by DCER, blather by Seth Godin. Too bad he couldnt come up with a better buzzword than “tribe”, that one burned itself out at least twice during the 90s.

  18. Piper says:

    Oh dear GOD –that was exhausting. Reading Seth’s diatribe is like being trapped at a boring party with a coke-addled motivational speaker.
    His contrived “tribal” marketing theory is naive and simplistic, not to mention as outdated as his pat references to Jerry Seinfeld and Natalie Merchant.

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