Just when I think record labels don’t get it, they go and prove that they REALLY don’t get it

foo_fighters_photo It’s called CMX. It’s not by itself either. CMX is a knee-jerk reaction to a project Apple us supposedly calling “Cocktail.” The premise is to package additional content into what would represent a digital album. You would of course get the music, but also liner notes, photos, videos, lyrics and the like. The goal is to revive life into the concept of the studio album.

The problem is that all of this content should be, and probably is, free elsewhere. I know the lyrics are online. Zune manages to package tons of photos in. For some odd reason these companies still try to charge people for music videos, which I always thought were a promotional vehicle to sell more music, but I guess I had that wrong.

This is just another example of the record labels refusing to understand that the business and the market has changed. I am a customer. Sometimes I want full albums, sometimes I don’t. I am savvy enough to easily find photos, lyrics, even the music videos are almost always available free on YouTube. I would love the lyrics to be available on the device, but it seems much more sense to just include them in the digital song file, instead of making someone buy the album to get them.

There is a trend in the software industry. The trend is that things go online, users pay more like a service, and instead of long drawn out release cycles with versions every few years, the software companies are able to be much more agile and release new changes when they are available. Give the customers what they want when they want it.

Apply that trend to the music industry, and you start to think about it differently. Artists release new music when they have it. They stay relevant the whole time they tour, and we don’t forget about them for years between each album. The album sales dwindle, sure, but the single song sales trickle all year, every year. The music, the videos, all drive us listeners to the concerts, they make money in product and movie/TV placements, and of course merchandise. There is absolutely still a profit model in music, the mob(Sony, BMG, RCA) has just lost their way to run a protection racket.

Most artists are starting to find the ability to record and engineer their own music. The need of a label to back a major studio is going away. The Foo Fighters, pictured above, have all the major label backing they could want, and they still built their own studio so they could engineer their own music and have control.

You find articles all the time about the music industry changing, and what they should do. Obviously they aren’t reading them, and they don’t care what customers actually want. Right now they are most concerned with trying to get you to pay $16 bucks for 4 good songs and 8 tracks of filler, because you chopped their leg off when you started only buying the good stuff.

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