It's all becoming evident now that the revolution begun by the next generation is dramatically changing the world and, along with it, the music media business.

David Bowie sang "Time may change me, But I can't trace time".

Change is everywhere.

Ironically enough, one of the few things I could do within my core skills when I served my four year non-compete with Inside Radio's new owners was to teach. Who would have thought? And what a gift it was. Over four years ago when I first arrived on campus I quickly understood that something major was happening among the next generation and that folks in traditional media had no clue. I had no clue. Today I see things quite differently regarding the future of the music, record, radio, TV and mobile/Internet businesses.

First look around and you'll see clues -- lessons.

1. Traditional media deciding what is news and pontificating their interpretation of events. That's why so many pundits (almost 100% of them) lost their objectivity and proclaimed Hillary Clinton dead on arrival in this week's New Hampshire primary. Even when she won and they lost they were scratching their heads trying to figure out what went wrong. Most blamed the pollsters for lack of appropriate introspection. There are many reasons for this -- not the least of which is that the media business is used to building up and tearing down public figures to meet their own news cycles. But there is another reason: increasingly the next generation does not like to be told what to do, what to think, or what is going to happen. New Englanders have been that way forever, but we're getting more sensitive to big media telling us what's news and how to think.

2. The next generation -- and by extension older Internet users -- prefers to get their news on their terms -- when they want it, where they want it. They don't need someone to broadcast to them any longer. They seek out what they want to read, watch or hear. So instead of waiting for CNN or Fox News Channel to report to them, they research the things that interest them. Therefore, they see many sides of a story not just how news organizations see it. The Fox adage "we report, you decide" could arguably be replaced by "we research, we decide" among Gen Y.

3. Radio owners think that listeners want stations to entertain them. Increasingly young people want to participate in their own entertainment. Mash-ups. User generated content and what I think will be all the rage next -- collaborative user generated content that can be passed around social networks and altered as if it were a Wiki. If I'm right, this sure puts another nail in the radio coffin. Radio stations think they are playing the hits. What fools. Their future listeners want to make their own hits -- with each other.

4. TV Networks think that racing to the Internet with short-form programming on YouTube's of their own creation is the future. Let's see if I'm getting through here -- all together -- what do young people want from their content? You got it! They want to make their own. The popularity of YouTube goes way beyond posting clips from traditional media. Some of the best stuff is user generated content. Oops -- if we're right, the networks are toast.

5. The record industry thinks they are the home of the hits. My readers know that young artists and consumers want to decide what is hot and what is not. In fact, go to MySpace and see all the music that record labels don't have anything to do with that is being publicized, heard and even sold to the general public by individuals. I've got some talented music students at USC who could be superstars -- hey, I'm an ex-radio PD, you'd think I know a hit from a stiff. So where are the labels resisting change? They want to control the process like in the old days. They discover the bands and artists. They arrange and produce them. Tell them how to dress and own their souls. And when they can no longer sell product, the artists and bands are out. What a way to inspire new trends. Maybe that's a reason why the music business is so boring and in such trouble.

6. The Internet business thinks that the holy grail is streaming 24/7. But what if I told them that the next generation can't and won't sit for streams the way older listeners enjoyed, say -- radio. What if the future of the Internet goes way beyond being a radio frequency on steroids. More of a delivery system that everyone has access to -- no FCC, no censorship, no gatekeepers -- and content could be five minutes or 45 minutes. Every day or once a month. Only your imagination would limit you. The next generation demands change because they want to listen when they want to listen -- to what they want to listen to -- for however long they will pay attention. Oh, and they want to be part of it.

7. Newspapers think that moving their antiquated publishing ventures to the Internet will be a replacement for the printing business, but what if I told them that even the Internet can't save newspapers. Look at Facebook. It's a newspaper (And by the way, if you don't know what Facebook is, click on my Facebook icon on the blog and join the fun). Facebook tells me when all my "friends" do all sorts of things. When my students get engaged. When my friends take a trip. I know. I know. That's not real news. But imagine when news starts being delivered as a social network. Blasphemous from a J-school grad? No. It's exciting. We finally have a cure for the liberal media and the right wing wackos who pretend to control the flow of information to the rest of us.

The Chambers Brothers song Time Has Come Today sums it up:
Time has come today
Young hearts can go their way
Can't put it off another day
I don't care what others say
They say we don't listen anyway
Time has come today
It's important to understand the problems and opportunities facing the music media business today.

Change is your friend. It's a precious opportunity.

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