Music Industry is Shifting from Batch to Single Piece Flow

The digital age has been here for quit some time.  One industry that has be changed significantly is the music industry.  For over 50 years the music industry was a batch industry.  Musicians released music in batches to the public in the form of albums.  Then batches of albums would be manufactured and sent to stores before finally a consumer would buy a copy of the album.

The digital age has made it possible for the music industry to go to a single piece flow.  The middle man or seller has done taken advantage of it.  Now you can go to iTunes or Amazon or other websites, pick what songs you would like and download them one at a time.

Why haven’t the musicians taken advantage of this though.  Musicians are still releasing songs in batches (albums) even though the consumer is downloading just certain song off the album from the internet.  Why don’t musicians create a song and then release it and not wait for batches of songs to release together?  It might allow more songs of theirs to be downloaded because a song is getting played, the fans hear it, and then buy it.  When done in batches, only a couple of songs get played and the rest of the album may be heard by the fans if they buy the whole album or it may not.

Leveling the release of the songs in a single piece flow seems like it would be beneficial to the musicians.  Allowing more of their songs to be played on the radio, which I would think would lead to more downloads and more revenue for the musicians.

Just a thought in a way to use the digital music age to their advantage.  What are your thoughts?

Posted on January 10, 2011, in Flow, Supply Chain, Tools and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. My husband plays guitar with a cellist in their yet-to-be-famous duo Cello Bella. They released songs on iTunes and have made a few bucks. They don’t really have enough for an album. More importantly, if someone is thinking about hiring them for a party, they can easily go and hear what their music is like. A lot of musicians use MySpace for that purpose because you can put files with your profile and it’s sort of a musicians’ social network. With home digital recording equipment, musicians can also print just a few copies of their albums on CDs, and not go for a giant press run like a music publisher does. So there is leveling, it’s just not that visible.

  2. Interesting post, Matt! As a huge fan of Classic Rock this really got me thinking. Speaking for myself, when I think back, putting out music in batches, or albums, was something I liked because each album kind of had its own personality. One of the early concept albums was “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” by the Beatles. This is considered a classic by just about any standard. I loved every song on it except one – “Within You, Without You,” by George Harrison. But, without this song, it isn’t “Sgt. Pepper’s.” It was part of the personality of the whole album. Kind of like the notion that my wife loves ME, but she doesn’t like my love of college bowl games (at least they end tonight).

    So, keeping in touch with customers’ demands makes the whole music industry a little complicated. I’m certainly no marketing guru, but it IS really fragmented these days and those folks have their work cut out for them. How they manage to understand it all is certainly a mystery to me.

    Nice post! Really makes a person think!

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