Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Completely Missing The BOAT

After reading Little Steven's comments again on the state of the record industry a few follow up thoughts came to mind. It's rather obvious that the record industry hit a real opportunity and crossroads in regards to downloading music vs. the old CD/LP/Cassette distribution system they had built their business on. We've all seen industries tank because they didn't see the rushing train of the future heading full speed right at them.

When you look at the record industry they totally missed the boat and are sort of rotting having run a ground. Their big mistake - why didn't they just offer up a few million (a lot less then their legal fees, funds going into Sound Exchange and suing their own consumers) to the teen age Shawn Fanning (creator of Napster) back in 1999 and build a whole new distribution system on his model.

Look at Yahoo who paid Mark Cuban huge sums to just buy Real Audio and build their audio distribution platform. The record industry could have taken the same tact and built a huge profit center - instead they allowed Steven Jobs to build it 5 or 6 years later and use it to sell his I-Pod and in the end that device will control their future. They also started a little fire within a whole new wave of costumers who set out on a mission to embrace the new world of distribution and build it with or without them.

In many ways radio is at the same crossroads with new technology. We can't join together and just buy out streaming, social networks, widgets, cell phone or WiFi distribution but we could at least be a huge player with our experience in providing content. Instead we've been cautious, penny wise/pound foolish, and just plain cheap in jumping into the new area.

It may not be too late!!! Frankly we need to look beyond HD Radio and take our brands to the whole new interactive, web based, and world market arena. No, we won't find a huge pot of cash 6 months after we start, but we will save our industry and be a part of a whole new world of distribution. Let's not make the same mistake as our friends in the record side.

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