Entertainment Business Remade in Silicon Valley’s Image

I just came across an interesting post by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen about the writer’s guild strike. In the post, Mr. Andreessen considers how in Hollywood the ideas are owned by the studios and the talent that produces those ideas are merely hired guns. This runs counter to the system in Silicon Valley where the venture capitalists fund the ideas but leave ownership with the talent. This has resulted in a very profitable system over time for startups in the Valley.

It’s an interesting take which could also be replicated in the music business. The concept is sound for technology and my instinct tells me the idea has merit for music too. Sadly such radical thinking is coming from external sources because too many insiders are addicted to owning the copyrights themselves.

Nonetheless there are some important reasons why this idea would have legs, though. Firstly, the music business has long lost all sympathy with the general public who largely believe that labels take advantage of artists. It’s a complex issue for sure, but giving the band ownership over their own body of work would be an interesting way to restore good relations with our potential customers. Secondly, artists may find such a change an attractive reason to stay within the label system. Since established artists like Eagles, Radiohead, Madonna and Prince have eschewed the label system, such a change could help slow the exodus of other top line artists.

While the traditional thinking is a difficult obstacle to overcome, technology companies have a good system on their hands. If the recorded music business takes a look at tech’s successes and strengths, we might transform the music business back into a growing business.


~ by Som on November 28, 2007.

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