Here's a Fix for the Music Industry

Have you seen JK's Wedding Entrance on YouTube?

In an odd way, it is the most dramatic proof of the kind of thing it will take to turn around the record business.

The video, recorded at a real live wedding, is not your usual "Always and Forever" marriage ceremony.

Instead, the wedding party gets down like a dog and -- well, they dance down the aisle of the church (that's right -- church) to Chris Brown's "Forever".

Get a flavor of it here and then return if you will to my wake-up call for the record labels and the RIAA.

As my reader pointed out, someone had brains for a change "rather than sue for unlicensed usage...the label put up a link to purchase the song... and put "Forever" into the top 5 purchased downloads over a year after its release".

The bride and groom -- or someone -- also made a plea for donations against domestic violence -- after all -- the music was supplied by Rihanna's ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown.

If you read the YouTube comments, they are positive and inspiring. Instead of discouraging people from hearing the music, they have stimulated (or should I say re-stimulated) sales of "Forever".

In other words, they made more money.

Some 15 million plays and growing!

Isn't that called record promotion?

Wasn't that what radio used to do for the record industry? Play its music and the labels benefited by keeping all the money.

Isn't that why label PR people promote acts?

Why they appeared on Leno and now still show up in the final minutes of Conan, Letterman and Kimmel?

This YouTube video far exceeds what appearing on all these shows would have done for the label and artist in terms of audience reach -- and with YouTube, you click and buy if you like.

The same promotion that the labels couldn't get enough of.

The problem is that the labels only know one way to do things -- their way -- and their way went bye-bye about ten years ago.

They don't know what to do today.

That's why they sue listeners and illegal downloaders. And no matter how moronic the downloaders they snag are, it is a failed strategy for turning the music industry around.

But cooperating with the inevitable -- now that's a fix for the ills of the record labels.

Actually promoting viral use of their artists' material and work to find ways to legally sell downloads, merch, and ancillary types of income.

Isn't that the lesson of radio -- MTV -- concerts -- magazine and media promotion in days gone by?

You increase legal demand for the product the more ways you find to expose it -- even and maybe because of free viral distribution.

Isn't that what I'm doing here -- 130,000 visitors and subscribers read Inside Music Media every month now. If I started by charging, say, $50 a year for it -- maybe no one would try. Now that many have tried, others would likely buy something -- a subscription, a seminar, services -- something. Giving it away promotes viral.

The labels need to get over the misconception that the Internet is the enemy.

It's your friend.

JK's wedding entrance is just a small example (at 15 million views) of what the world wide web really means to the music industry.

Loosen the grip on webcasting.

Make it easy for podcasters to use music in an equitable way that promotes success for these podcasters.

Stay away from taxing radio stations -- they might have a little promotional juice left.

Hell, in an era of free promotion, only the record industry could have a nine year recession.

Put these record industry relics in a room and make them watch and listen to JK's wedding entrance over and over again until they get it.

Five years later, after young people have figured out how to do their own outrageous wedding events, the record industry will then be "only" five years behind instead of nine.

Now, that's progress.

That poor misguided record company felon Joel Tenenbaum arrogantly (in my opinion) stuck his nose up at the court in his Boston piracy case recently and the judge punished him with $675,000 in penalties for stealing music. Arrogant Joel is now saying he'll file for bankruptcy.

Ya think?

And the labels proved absolutely nothing as they did when they "won" the Minnesota piracy case (and I use the word "won" loosely).

Piracy is increasing faster than the labels can win lawsuits.

Look what viral video can do for you as witnessed by JK's wedding entrance.

My wife is talking about renewing our wedding vows (didn't they take the first time 11 years ago?) -- hell, forget the society orchestra, dj or someones best friend who has a band. I want to do J.D.'s wedding entrance. "Play That Funky Music White Boy" is so -- well, Nineties.

Then, we'll put it on YouTube and challenge Lew Tricky Dickey, Fagreed Suleman and John Slogan Hogan to meet me on "Dancing with the Consolidators".

It's all good when your customers promote your music -- just as it was good for the labels when radio stations promoted their music.

To the labels I say, get out of your own way -- and help them help you.

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