Mike Doughty Responds to John Seabrook at The New Yorker about Adele Doing Windows…

Musician Mike Doughty takes on the New Yorker’s anti-artist editorial “Who Is Really Paying for Adele?”. Seabrook argues that somehow Adele is cheating fans by not giving away her new, historical, record breaking album.

Seabrook’s piece reads like it was written by the Spotify PR dept with lines like this “Could it be possible that the record business, pursuing a strategy of inflating sales by keeping an album off Spotify, Apple Music, or Deezer, is choosing short-term profits over long-term growth?” No. It’s actually long term growth that is the goal of windowing. Variable pricing and pricing elasticity works for most business and has historically worked well for the record industry as well (see below).

Doughty’s response from Facebook can be seen here. You can share it directly via this link:
https://www.facebook.com/mikedoughty/posts/10154544998845200

 

DoughtyVSNYTimes

What is of particular interest is that it is people like Seabrook who chastise artists and the music industry even in the the light of Rdio going defunct and owing $220m to creditors and labels! Somehow the bad bubble math of Silicon Valley is what artists should be striving for? No. Enough.

WINDOWING THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE

So what does this mean for the non-superstar artists? Very simply, windowing works. Windowing works better when there is a reasonable amount of consistency. Our friends in the film business have been highly effective at windowing for decades and there’s no reason why it can’t work similarly well for the record business.

Every new release should have the option to determine the release windows when the record is being set up. For example the default could be 0,30,60,90 day option for transactional sales, followed by 0,30,60,90 day option for Subscription Streaming prior to being available for Free Streaming.

Windowing is not new for the record business. The industry has never had pricing ubiquity across all releases, genres and catalogs. There has always been strategic and flexible pricing strategies to differentiate developing artists, hits, mid-line catalog, and deep catalog. An industry wide initiative to re-allign time proven price elasticity is the key to growing the business and developing a broad based sustainable ecosystem for more artists.

  • Windowing allows for Free Streaming to exist as a strategic price point.
  • Windowing allows for Subscription Streaming to exist as a strategic price point.
  • Windowing allows for Transactional Downloads to exist as a strategic price point.
  • Windowing allows for artists and rights holders to determine the best and most mutually beneficial way to engage with their fans.

Windowing is the key (as it always has been) in rebuilding a sustainable and robust professional middle class that will inevitably lead to more artists ascending to the ranks of stars. Some will become superstars and legends capable of creating the types of sales and revenues currently achieved by Adele, Taylor Swift and Beyonce’. To get there however we need to abandon Stockholm Syndrome and embrace windowing that works for everyone.

 

 

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One thought on “Mike Doughty Responds to John Seabrook at The New Yorker about Adele Doing Windows…

  1. Seabrook’s sermon is surprisingly superficial.

    “That would be consistent with the industry’s attitude toward its potential tech partners, going back to its failure to join forces with Napster in 2001 and killing Napster instead.”

    This is nonsense. The Napster technology (which needed a central server) was outdated when peer-to-peer-based networks (Grokster et al.) arrived on the scene.

    And the majors had hundreds of licensing deals with internet start-ups: The EMI Group alone had about 120 in early 2000. It wasn’t the music industry’s fault that the “new economy” was nothing but hype.

    If Seabrook doesn’t know the facts he should read Robert Levine’s “Free Ride”: “The real story is that for-profit technology companies deliberately set out to make money from piracy and never came up with a workable plan to pay artists.”

    “If Adele and Taylor Swift take Spotify down, they’re going to take the industry with it.”

    The real danger is that Spotify (or any other service / company) gets into such a powerful position that the future of the music industry depends on it.

    A healthy music industry needs lots of different streams of income / lots of “windows”.

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