Technology being an enabler, tends to cause disruptions often across different sectors. How the players in the affected ecosystem respond is what usually determines whether or not the disruption will cause growth or open the ground to reveal even more problems that may lead to the death of, or the shrinking of the industry.
The entertainment industry is driven to a large extent by music, and the modes and channels of consuming music have evolved from stereos, walkman’s, cd’s to the current darling of the day, streaming; which has seen recent buzz as consumers look beyond direct downloads.
Internationally, services such as Spotify, Pandora, Turntable.fm, iTunes, Grooveshark, Rhapsody , Zune and Google Music are on a continuous roll to attract both investment and drive numbers with different business models to boot making music available on demand. This has of course stirred the waters in Africa giving rise to services such as the recently launched Spinlet which gaining traction quickly.
As consumers change the way they want to consume their music, seeking out the best value for money, user experience and mobile utility, the ecosystem must adapt to support this market driven demand. This calls for both innovation, knowledge transfer and collaboration in ways that the industry has not seen before as there are now more players, all of who must derive revenue from what should essentially be a larger pie if all the synergies are harnessed.
Local artists need to better package their music with full meta-tags to aid in discoverability across the different distribution and consumption channels that are emerging, a platform is only as good as what it is fed. Comprehensive licensing must also be adopted as many creative works are a team effort with many behind the scenes currently left out of the gravy due to ignorance.
Consumers do not really care about owning the content, they just want to consume it. This means that innovation must happen on the business model front and the different players must be willing to work at testing and refining these. The tools deployed must also be well thought out to ensure transparency especially on reporting, content management and content serving.
The ecosystem now consists of content creators, aggregators, platform providers, advertising networks, mobile networks and brands, all looking to derive value from the mobile music consumer. The nature of it all is that it is incredibly difficult to operate in a silo, and this calls for the adoption of symbiotic relationships to make it all work.
Technology may be disruptive but the players must play well together to make a good game and grow the industry’s value to everyone’s benefit.