#77 Newsletter Editorial - Ringing In the Changes

20 Jan 2011

Something great happened this week, which you’d have to have been asleep to have missed – and I’m not talking about Jordan’s split from cage fighter Alex Reid.

The radio-to-release window has effectively been closed, meaning that for the majority of new releases, fans will be able to buy tracks as soon as they hear them on radio.

The move offers a legitimate solution for people unwilling to wait weeks to buy a track they like who might otherwise be tempted to piracy.  It will also see the chart return to being a meaningful signpost of popularity, where tracks enter and climb rather than chart high then immediately plummet.

The change has been welcomed by Radio 2’s Jeff Smith and Radio 1’s George Ergatoudis, with Creative Industries minister Ed Vaizey even joining the bandwagon.  While Warners and EMI are yet to come on board our hope is that they soon will.

The development is the culmination of a year long campaign by the UK’s music managers, entertainment retailers and beyond, with common-sense thinking backed up by compelling quantitative research.  MusicTank helped bring the issue into sharp focus with a comprehensive think tank last March featuring Ergatoudis and Official Chart MD Martin Talbot.

The issue has been unusual in its ability to unite music stakeholders large and small – so often the holders of critically opposing views – and perhaps finally puts to bed the old notion of an industry crippled into inactivity by internecine quarreling among its stakeholders.

It’s also encouraging to see that competition concerns have not been raised.  With the level of disruption that it has faced over recent years, it’s important that the industry can collectively develop solutions to technological disruptions.  This issue – the need to discuss collaborative approaches free from concerns of competition – has been growing on MusicTank’s radar for some years now.

Another hot issue is the ability of social media to break new tunes and even artists.  With YouTube launching Cee Lo Green’s “F**k You” into a global chart success and tunes like this picking up over a million hits in a week, before receiving significant radio play, MusicTank’s next think tank will take a look at how it’s being done, and the increasingly important role social media and viral marketing have to play in the overall marketing mix.

Our very own web site has changed as well.  Along with a clean new look, there’s a blog area featuring musings from the industry’s leading minds, kicking off with UK Music CEO Feargal Sharkey on the need for greater investment in artists.  There’s a free jobs and interns board and “Rate Me” functionality, allowing innovative ideas to be critiqued in a bid to foster even more win-win innovations.

With some even more exciting news still under wraps for the rest of the year, we hope you enjoy the new format and look forward to your feedback.

Editorial by Sam Shemtob

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