Most of our students are very interested in music – most just as listeners but some with the desire to be in the music industry. The product-market for music has changed dramatically since I bought my first 45 rpm single (“Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night in case you were wondering). Two big drivers of change have been technology and consumer behavior. A couple of recent articles from CNN.com “Young listeners opting to stream, not own music,” (June 16, 2012) and “Teens’ first choice for music listening? YouTube” provide some insights into the latest trends.
These changes have forced musicians to find new ways to make money. A recent NPR series highlighted some of the new models, see: “How Musicians Make Money (By The Fraction Of A Cent) On Spotify (September 26, 2012), “Crowd Funding For Musicians Isn’t The Future; It’s The Present” (Sepember 25, 2012) and “YouTube Shares Ad Revenue with Musicians, But Does It Add Up?” (September 27, 2012).
I think you could develop a really interesting discussion around business models in the music industry. Students should be asked to think about different options for product, price, place, and promotion. I would argue that knowledge of marketing is critical to musicians these days — as more need to look at this as an entrepreneurial endeavor. We have also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps.