Sunday, 23 August 2009


(By Richard Holway 6.00pm Sunday 23rd Aug 09) In my 21st July 09 post – Music to my ears – I pressed home my argument that the music world had changed for all time. It was no good the music industry complaining about ‘free’ music when their revenues from all the associated activities – like live concerts, advertising, merchandising etc – were all growing in double figures. The music should be considered as a ‘marketing channel’ to its other revenue earning activities. So it was interesting to note in the FT 22nd Aug that EMI considers owning the T Shirt as they are considering buying Completely Independent Distribution, Europe's largest independent distributor of band-themed T-shirts as a means of diversifying away from its music distribution core.

The ‘free’ discussion took another turn last week as News International decided to close its free London newspaper thelondonpaper. (See Daily Telegraph – Murdoch to close thelondonpaper with threat to 60 jobs) There just isn’t enough advertising revenue around to support such a freebie. The ‘problem’ is that the freebies were responsible for the near death of the only paid for London paper – the Evening Standard.

I don’t believe in ‘free’. ‘Free’ must be a marketing channel to drive customers to a ‘paid for’ service offering. That’s our model here at TechMarketView LLP with UK HotViews. It is the ‘model’ that will ultimately work in the music industry – driving customers to other paid for service offerings. The newspaper industry will have to go that way too. They will have to develop hybrid service with a ‘free’ online version, with advertising, which drives users to signup for more in-depth offerings that will have to be paid for. So far, I haven’t seen any workable example of this. I suspect it will not be easy and there will be many more deaths in the process.

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