Thursday, November 16, 2006

BAFIM & the music business

I went to the BAFIM music convention today in Buenos Aires. There was a conference about the music business and the way technology is changing:

The guys said that at the beginning (late 19th century) inventors like Edison manufactured devices to reproduce recorded sounds. The business was to sell the devices themselves, not any music. The idea of recording music came later.

When companies started to record music for these devices, there was no standarization. You bought a wax cilynder (or whatever it was) from one manufacturer and you had to play it in the device sold but that same manufacturer in order to listen to it. If you wanted a song that was not in the manufacturer's catalog you had to buy the song AND the hardware to play it from the competence.

And of course, the music was offered as a way to interest people in buying the expensive devices (that were considered almost a piece of furniture).

In a certain moment there was a hardware standarization, meaning that any record player would reproduce any record you bought. This is considered the "real" beginning of the music industry, those days when the money was in selling the records themselves (not the devices that played them).

With the digital technology, everything's changing fast. People are happily downloading mp3's and not buying cd's, and the music business is seriously challenged.

So what happened? The iPod and iTunes and the Zune and the whatever you call them were born. And now again, the money is not in selling the music itself, but the music is offered as a hook to make you buy the iPod (the device).

What's more, every manufacturer is, again, implementing propietary systems in order to make sure you will have to but their productis to reproduce the music.

So we're back in the 19th century/ early 20th century music phase when everyone has a standard of their own and there's more money in selling the hardware rather than the music itself.

I found this interesting...

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