Mobile & Touring

This July, Benedict Evans of Andreesen Horowitz stated  1) “A more competitive market in curation seems like it would be a net win for consumers.” and 2) “Talking about the ‘mobile’ part of your business will be as meaningful as talking about the ‘digital’ part of your business.”  

 The problems surrounding curation are obvious.  To parallel #2 with the music industry; “Talking about the ‘touring’ part of your business will be as meaningful as talking about the ‘recording’ part.”

Competition among artists (developers) has never been fiercer.  Every business is vying for the attention of the mobile consumer.   For an app to gain mass adoption across a mobile platform the iterated product has got to make usable sense for the consumer. And in music the song has got to carry some emotional meaning for the listener.   If consumers are going to use an app it has to fulfill a task or be a meaningful fit for their everyday use, and a song that reflects the audience’s tastes, ideas, or feelings will be listened to over and over.

Music’s interactive mobile platform for social is Twitter and therefore the reason Chris Sacca says “Twitter is not a hard scientific problem, it’s art.”  According to Deutsche –people are leaving Twitter… and there’s no shortage of info on Twitter so it must be a curation problem not a content problem-.  There’s certainly no shortage of musical acts, so the problem is definitively curation.

 The music industry loves Twitter because their platform is very much like being on the road for musicians.  Due to artists ever changing schedule they interact with fans using different platforms, and it remains that 1/4 of tweets happen around live events.    The audience is full of fans, but who will decide which get to go back-stage?

How consumers receive their music is digital, but the context of real-life is mobile.   At home or on a desktop, google search results will look quite different than if we were out-and-about searching on our smartphones.   If mobile is social then going to the live show is most definitely a social atmosphere.

The music industry is now a customer service industry and the industry that serves the customer is live performance.   Since the airing of ‘American Idol’ the consumer has been telling the market they are more interested in traveling to live concerts than buying records.   In this live platform the market decides the value based on a real transaction.  But the goal is not to secure more shows, but rather write better songs.  The Idols are rarely allowed to sing original songs.  Their choices revolve around hits.   The song decides if there is even a show to build from, and a solid performance of hits is the only way to grow your live audience.

To gain an audience, artists have to be able to create performance value, which starts with songwriting.  The space for live has grown but the deal remains the same, live concerts consist of a playlist of hit songs.