Thursday, February 21, 2013

What is the greatest skill needed in the new music business and how do we teach it?

How do we teach college students how to solve questions in an industry where the answers change quicker than the questions can form in the collective industries mouth? How do we transform in an industry where the very cornerstone has eroded to the point where it cannot bear the fiscal weight of the industry itself? Where the product itself no longer has any value in the market place, yet there is more interest in that product than in any time in history. In plain terms what will the music industry be like in 5, 10, 15 years….or for that matter in 6 months? Truth is no one knows, we all know that and have for a while but the truth is the answer lies in paradigms of thought. Paradigms of new business models, or old business models that become a new in the cold light of the changes taking place; while there is no “one size fits all” business model out there for the music industry and I don’t think there ever will be again, there are new business models and concepts that will work for a vast majority of the time (at least for now), but more importantly the music industry as a whole (especially the new generation) must learn how to think strategically, in new ways. The answer is not in following a rote set of principles but in discovering new ways to think about the music industry. The challenge in being a music business educator is by the time we get a good text book (or any book) for that matter out and into the hands of students it is pretty much obsolete. For me the real solution is to teach them how to think. What I mean by that is teach them how to assess and discern their situation in the current marketplace and then decipher which levers to pull that will bring the most impact to their situation. We must teach them how to be dynamic thinkers, not conditioned responders. This is the greatest skill a student can have in the new music business- not great accounting skills, or being a great social networker, or great player, or producer, etc. because all of these skills and talents alone do not in and of themselves pave the way towards monetizing themselves, but adding dynamic thinking to one or more of these skills does. This is the key.

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