Digital Music Sales, A Wedge Theory

Given the inadequate justification for Long Tail Theory, it stands to reason that some model will eventually emerge that will help forecast digital music sales. In addition, there will be a new generation of services that will help to fill the current void that exists between artists who are selling millions of downloads and artists who are selling hundreds of downloads.

Briefly, the Long Tail Theory is the idea that high distribution (the head) representing the hit songs will be outnumbered by the lower distributions of infrequent sellers of digital songs. The sales data for 2008 contradicts the theory as there were 10M of 13M digital songs that had zero sales. There was no tail. In addition, the major problem with the theory is justifying the necessary resources to produce such songs with very low returns. Additionally, the theory seems to ignore mass psychology applied to buying behaviors as well as it applies to establishing social commonality.

I believe that the more accurate sales model would resemble a wedge with a notch taken out of the middle. Furthermore, I believe that the model wants to become a perfect wedge in a perfectly market driven, capitalist environment. The notch represents the flaws in our market driven, capitalist environment, or the degree to which our system does not follow the more idealistic capitalistic model. To be clear, the notch represents the absence of elements for those residing in the tail end available only to those residing in the head end such as promotion budgets and organization.

First of all, there is a good reason why the distribution would resemble a perfect wedge in a complete vacuum of overriding economic forces. It is actually very simple. The Gaussian distribution is well known to most people who have ever been graded on a curve in school. It is the idea that a small percentage of students will make A’s, a somewhat larger percentage of students will make B’s, most of the students will make C’s, a percentage resembling the B’s will make D’s on the opposite end, and a percentage resembling the A’s on the opposite end will make F’s. It represents a naturally occurring phenomenon that applies to many elements of society in general. I submit that it also applies to the quality of available music. The problem is that this distribution does not represent the current sales distribution. Why? Because the system is designed only to select those songs deemed as airworthy and have a potential to become a hit in the opinion of an Artist and Repertoire professional. This is one of the economic forces that distort the natural distribution. That is, in a perfect world, the sales distribution would resemble the distribution of quality in songs. That is, the higher the quality, the more sales. Some may argue that in a perfect world, there would be no politics surrounding the selection of artists, no favors or payola, or no disparity in power. But, it is the game that we call life and there is no changing it overnight. In other words, those of us who happen to like free enterprise, which remains the basis for any of us to dream of success, tend to accept the good with the bad.

The good news is that the “notch” represents opportunity. There are now people who are helping each other to overcome the disparity in resources. There are collaborations and services offered to help others achieve their dreams.

The bad news is that the system is in a state of rapid change and it will take a while for certain folks to emerge as legitimate providers of services and assistance with a proven track record. In the meantime, there will be many who will be disappointed by some of the “resources” that are becoming available on a daily basis. It is a natural process in a period of great opportunity to have many people attempt to provide services and then have an adjustment when the supply exceeds demand and then an eventual settling into some form of balance or equilibrium. This equilibrium will become the model for determining the balance of supply and demand of services as well as the eventual basis to model and predict sales.

So, I submit that the equilibrium of sales distribution will eventually look more like a wedge in terms of percentage and frequency of sales. The notch will eventually be filled by folks who are willing to offer assistance to others at terms that are in direct proportion to the risk/reward. This sales distribution will try to match the naturally occurring quality distribution.

What about niche markets? I believe that some niche markets will become viable, but others will be lost in obscurity. I submit that pure silence might be considered a niche market if we consider a ridiculous spectrum of styles and tastes. That is, some people prefer to hear nothing, but will they pay for it? I think not. This absurd idea is presented only to offer an argument that only certain styles and tastes will be worthy of public interest. That is, the supply and demand element of economics will still apply to the availability of music. We will still see pockets of interest develop for those styles and tastes that are sufficient to sustain the underlying musical infrastructure required to produce the music. Stated in terms of the absurd, there will be no demand for silence. Of course, I believed there would be no demand for bottled water.

Among all of the available services offered at this writing, I see two glaring voids. One is the availability of money to help artists obtain services and the other is organization.

While I may be wrong, I don’t believe there is much funding available to artists in the middle of the spectrum. Otherwise, there is only bartering for services, which is not necessarily bad, but it is extremely inefficient as it requires a mutually beneficial, or symbiotic relationship to exist. For anyone who has ever struggled to find a new band member or collaborator, it should be clear that it is not easy. Many social networks are becoming available and they are in part, designed to help people find other people. This is a good thing, but it is still a difficult process that frequently does not produce quick results or any results at all.

This brings us back to the money element. The availability of money can help produce results that are much more efficient which is why there is currently a disparity between the haves and the have-nots in the music industry.

While bartering for services is a wonderful thing, there is also an absence of organization. The new social networks provide a forum, but I don’t see much in the way of organization. There is a need for people who will help bring others together. In a bartering system, as with a band, there are human dynamics that can be quite productive but can also be quite counterproductive. It becomes counterproductive when the inevitable power struggles do not always turn out in a positive way. This is the nature of having bands and I believe it is the nature of creating collaborations. There is a need for moderation and organization that must either be inherent to the members or provided by a capable individual either within the band or on the outside. Of those who are currently successful in their attempt to break out, I would argue that it would not require much analysis to determine that one deserving person was the driving force behind the success. This is often times a member of the band, but it is a crap shoot because the right person must have the necessary skills, drive, and personality to make it all happen.

Again, the good news is that these services will hopefully become available for others to use. The problem becomes compensation for services.

This is a very touchy subject, but I believe that it has two answers. The first answer is flat fees paid up front. There are many services offered today that require your money before you can participate. There is nothing wrong with this model, if the services provided are worthy of the cost. The second answer is the promise of fees paid upon the success of a client. While there are many examples of how artists have been exploited, I believe that a new generation of pay-based-on-performance type organizations will help fill the notch. These organizations will operate with much less overhead and be willing to accept less in the way of percentages for their assistance.

I believe these new opportunities will result in the emergence of two new careers in the music business. First, there will be a demand for a new generation of independent business managers who will help to fill the current void that I refer to as the notch. The more capable managers will have a unique skill set to include an understanding of music, the music business, project management, human dynamics, sales, marketing, negotiation, contracts, recording, distribution, etc. Second, there will be a demand for money that may come from endowments as well as independent investments. I believe that funds will be available to deserving artists who have demonstrated their commitment and have reasonable music collateral. Given the current state of the economy and the uncertainty among more traditional investment strategies, there are fewer alternatives for investing. While it is not for everyone, there are some who might consider investing in the careers of artists.

In closing, this is all speculative at best. However, it does have historical significance as it mirrors the development of niche services in other segments of our economy. The emergence of services for the computer industry would be a very good example. While I don’t know with 100% certainty, I am hopeful that a reasonable model will emerge that will help to provide more work for deserving artists.

Planning to Buy a Digital Music Player?

In our time the MP3 players are available in various shapes and sizes. The salient features which these digital music players are composed of has made digital entertainment portable than before. This is great news for all music lovers because entertainment for them is now in their palm. But before buying a MP3 player, shoppers should keep in mind their own lifestyle and how they want to use it and in what way? For example, those who plan to listen to their music while traveling, walking or moving out will want one that is lightweight and uses flash memory technology. Music enthusiasts, who want more and more songs possible almost every day, should look for those MP3 players that possess the maximum storage capacities. Similarly, those who want to use their portable digital music player not only to listen to music but to have a look at videos and photos, need to purchase a player with high-resolution screen.

Music players from brands like Transcend have superb sound quality and support all file formats such as MP3, WMA, WAV, FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec), OGG and even WMA-DRM10 protected music files. The equalizer effect of SRS WOW HD allows you to customize your taste and preference. The built-in speaker produces good and loud music, so that even without the headphones the hearing experience becomes memorable with your friends and family. The majority of the digital music players have excellent audio and video quality and bright and colorful 2.4-inch high-resolution screen. Now store all large files of videos, music and photos with built-in memory. You can also add microSD/ microSDHC cards for practically unlimited digital entertainment anytime and anywhere.

It is easy to carry these devices as it is sleek, compressed and small. It is small enough to be held in the palm and move around anywhere happily. In today’s generation, you deserve to be entertained everywhere you go because you have with you portable devices like a stylish music player. For real entertainment go for only trusted brands which ensures a quality product from their end. Many online sites are available to lure you but make sure you buy only from trusted online stores which offer excellent quality product only. At Transcend online store you can also get latest models of USB hard drives, USB flash drives, computer peripherals like CD/DVD burners, digital photo frames, Solid State Disks, card readers and more.

How To Sell Music Online With Digital Music Sales Software

How do you sell music online? Once you have recorded your album, song or other type of audio file (you may be selling story books or motivational speeches) and made them into a type of file that is supported digitally (ie. MP3), the next step is to begin selling them on the internet. One way to generate income through your music, is to begin selling your files digitally on your personal or band website.

How To Sell Music Online On a Personal/Band Website

1. Begin with a website.

If you already have the domain name and website where you want to sell your music from then you are one step ahead of the game, and can skip the next 3 steps. Go all the way to step 5.

2. Choose a domain name.

Most bands and musicians will try to find a domain name that matches their band/artist name exactly. For example, if your name is Johnny Rhythm, then a great domain name would incorporate this into it. Type in Google, ‘domain name search’ and you will be presented with a list of companies. They are all similar in prices and should cost no more than about 10-12$/year for your domain name.

3. Choose a web hosting service.

These will be the people that are in charge of providing you with the ‘space’ for your website. You can find a good web host for about 7-10$/month.

4. Design your website.

Really you have 3 choices here on how to do this.

1. You or a friend may have web design skills, and can get this done for minimal cost. However, be aware that if you are just learning this skill, things may take a bit more time, but you will learn a lot in the process. If you have a friend of a friend doing this, be very clear in your communication so you know exactly what they plan on doing, and how much support they are willing to give you once the initial design is finished. If things seem unclear, sometimes it is better to simply pay the money for a professional.

2. Pay a professional.

3. Skip the web design and just install the digital music vendor software. Music vendor comes with an attractive storefront already which allows you to enter the title of your band name, and all the categories you need. Later on, when you have the finances, you can add more bells and whistles to your site.

5. Purchase and install music vendor software.

For under 50$, you can buy the software needed for a digital music store on your website. Music vendor stores will allow you to upload your songs and albums into categories that you create. Your customers can easily browse your store and listen to samples of your songs before they buy. Once they do decide that they like the way you rock out, they can purchase and download your music instantly.

6. Get the word out!

Just because your store exists on the website does not mean that you will be a famous artist over night. You have to promote your website through word of mouth, posters, concerts, facebook, blogging and so on.

Digital Music Recorder: A Review of the Olympus WS-321M Digital Voice Recorder

There are a lot of recorders on the market and one of the models that many people are looking for is a digital music recorder which not only record but also plays music. This adds to the functionality of the device and entertainment for the user. The Olympus WS-321M Digital Voice Recorder is one of the most remarkable music recorders that you can find, and the following is a review of the device.

Design

This device is designed to be completely compact, easy to use, and handy. It has the dimensions of 3.7″ x 1.5″ x 0.4″ and a weight of 1.7 ounces. It’s perfectly portable and you can keep it in your front pocket, pants pocket, purse, or bag with ease. It’s also very easy to carry around even by hand. The white body with silver accents and buttons is very clean in appearance, but it can show more damage, stains, and weathering as compared to other darker colored models. However, it can be very appealing and a lot of people like white objects as their personal belongings.

The buttons of the device are minimal – only a few at the front and some at the sides – but each one of them are functional and have an important purpose for easier navigation and operation of the device. The unit is designed to operate solely on a single Triple-A battery which can either be alkaline or rechargeable. Depending on the recording mode, the device can have different lengths of battery life using an alkaline battery.

Display

The LCD display is small but very informative as it shows all the important menus and information that you need to optimally manipulate and navigate the device. It also has a dot matrix display and a backlight which makes viewing the information even under various lighting conditions relatively easy.

Audio and Recording Features

This digital music recorder has a built-in memory of 1 GB and can only save audio files in WMA format. This is an issue for some users who prefer MP3 file formats, but it can always be manually converted using different software. There are six record modes which dictate how long your maximum recording can be based on the memory capacity of the device. The Stereo XQ mode can save up to approximately 17 hours and 40 minutes of recording. The Stereo HQ mode can record up to approximately 35 hours and 25 minutes of audio. The Stereo SP mode can store up to approximately 70 hours and 55 minutes of audio, as well as the HQ mode. The SP mode can save approximately 139 hours and 30 minutes of audio recording. And the LP mode can save approximately 277 hours 35 minutes of recording.

The built in 18mm diameter round dynamic speaker produces a total audio output of 70 mW and the device also has a built-in stereo microphone. But it also has an earphone and microphone jack for additional function and accessibility.

Other Features

Used as a music player, the total internal memory can save up to 250 songs. The device has 5 folders wherein you can save your files, each able to store up to 200 messages. During recording, the LED turns red, and while playback, the LED turns green. The LED also turns green when the device is accessed to a PC using a USB cable. This also allows easier and faster transfer of files. The audio files of the device are completely accessible with Windows Media Player since they are WMA file formats.

Conclusion

This digital music recorder is very functional and it has a lot of features which can be very beneficial to a user. I highly recommend the Olympus WS-321M Digital Voice Recorder for anyone who wants to find an excellent voice recorder that can play great music and perform its basic recording responsibilities in the best and highest quality.