This very interesting article in the WSJ last week throws up a lot of interesting questions. Kudos to X5 and their money ball approach to competing hard with major record labels-David takes on Goliath with a digital only strategy that repackages a long tail and gets smaller label work out there- we like that part.
Some nagging issues though – Wasn’t the digital world meant to help the small label get the material out themselves? & doesn’t this business model simply sell the long tail back to us in the same top down, reductionist, hit heavy way that the Top 40 would? You take from the long tail the lowest common denominator.
There’s no debate that digital downloads will dominate music revenues in the next few years. If this kind of approach really does take hold there is the danger that music that’s already been out there for a while will get repackaged into a LCD corner. Kind of reminds me of the Steve Coogan character Alan Partridge, who’s response to the question “what is your favorite Beatle’s album” was “The Best Of”. Do we have that warping of musical context to look forward to? Why create or re-tell a story of an artist when you can just repackage…
This is not our kind of mix taping but is it a sufficient entry point for an Itunes/MP3 user to discover a label, an underrated artist or a lost album? Maybe. Maybe not.