Thursday, September 6, 2012

The New Formula. By Jerry W. Henry

The music business understands that the “old” formula of how to successfully promote a “new” act is obsolete. The record companies are aware of this situation, but have no idea what the solution is. What they do understand is that they no longer are able to recoup their investment in studio time with a top producer, the cost of a video, the advertising budget, and the cost of the first promotional road tour from the profits on a first hit music project. An act must be capable of repeating and sustaining their initial success in the studio in order for a record company to make a profit because the necessary investment has increased dramatically.  Since the mid ‘90's the record companies have become painfully aware that there are no acts with songwriters who can continually write hit songs. The new acts since the mid ‘90's have one, two, maybe three good songs at the most, as any person who's purchased music since that time will testify. The record companies also know that MP3 downloading is a factor that has negatively affected their profits. That together with their inability to find sustainable new acts is the two main reasons why so many record companies are losing money. Those not losing money are the ones that have a library of popular artists from the past who continue to sell. The record companies now understand that the Internet is the new communications medium, it's here to stay, and they are all trying to figure out how to take advantage of it. Their pattern has always been to watch the numbers, analyze the trends, and then try to jump on board and ride the wave for as long as it lasts. If I told them what the answer is to the problems they face, they simply wouldn't know what to do with the information.

The new formula for success is to have the right factors in place first, and then to use the Internet's full potential to bring the artist to the attention of the entire world.

New formula rule # 1: You can’t have a hit record without a hit song. What is a hit song? To me, It's a song that is so damn catchy that after hearing it one time people cannot get it out of their minds and they will spend money to own that music. The world’s best producer cannot produce a hit record without having that kind of raw material.

New formula rule# 2: In order to create a hit music artist on the Internet, it’s necessary to have at least one hit song that has been properly produced.  It is necessary to have a web site that is a hit. What is a hit web site? It's one with thousands of "hits" per day but that's not the point. The point is that in the same way that a hit song works for a listener, a web site must grab a web surfer's interest within the first 5-10 seconds and hold their interest long enough to find the hit songs and listen to them. But it should also contain entertaining content for people to read and enjoy because a hit web site is a much more complex form of entertainment. The hit web sites are the ones that have great creative writing and cannot be digested in one sitting, so people will keep coming back for more entertainment. This kind of web site cannot possibly be designed by a web site design professional because real creative and entertaining writing is not for sale at any price. That means the successful music artist of the future needs to be more than just a musician in order to take full advantage of this powerful medium because the web site needs to reflect the artist's personal expression, and nobody can do that except the artist.

New formula rule # 3: The new formula for success may not even require an advertising budget.  Creative Internet promotions can achieve thousands of hits per day. The promotion has to be creative enough to attract the music lover. But the two previous steps are absolute prerequisites for success. A money-losing promotional road tour can be avoided by waiting until building an Internet fan club develops a large audience and selling enough music to warrant a road tour that will turn a profit.

The new formula also has the potential for making the old costly distribution networks obsolete. Because purchasing directly over the Internet could eliminate the necessity for retail mark-ups and thus maximize profits for all concerned.

The Recording Industry Association of America has the correct statistics on what music is actually selling as opposed to what is being played on the radio and what the record companies are attempting to market. They list The Beatles, Elvis, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Stones, Pink Floyd and The Eagles with the top 25 dominated by classic rock acts. I think it's very significant that those statistics are becoming geometrically times greater than the number of albums that they sold during their performance lifetimes. What has happened, and is happening, is the young people of today are discovering them in droves and buying their music. Traditionally, the record buying public has always been young people between the ages of 12-25 and those demographics have not changed. What this means is that the potential for profit in new classic rock is beyond calculation.

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