Innovation in Digital Music Distribution and Promotion
Following on from my post about the concept of innovation as something you do, and not just something you say, I came across an example of what I would consider innovation in action, courtesy of a newly launched digital music distribution/promotion service called Music2Text.
According to their literature, Music2text is a service that provides artistes and labels with the ability to sell or giveaway music tracks direct to fans, via plain old SMS (or mobile text messages). The proposition is simple, and can be summarised in 3 steps, as follows:
First, take an existing technology, SMS in this case, and figure out a new way to use it for mass music distribution and promotion
Make sure the service is fast, free and easy to setup/use (e.g. within 30 minutes, if you already have all the prerequisite information/digital files to hand).
Then monetise it by allowing punters to associate their music (ringtone or full song) with a simple keyword which the fans can then use to access it by texting that word to a number – 60444 (UK only, at this time). The service replies with a link through which the track can be downloaded, bought or shared with others.
The music owners can choose to distribute their music or ringtones for free, in which case the service is completely free to use, (including links to their favourite mobile and social media channels). In my opinion, this free aspect makes Music2Text an almost perfect mobile, distribution and social marketing tool, with something to offer all key stakeholders, including: music labels, publishers, artistes and their customers / fans.
That said, and in true reviewer fashion, I requested and was given a guided tour of the service by the founders, and I even went one better to upload one of my own tracks onto the service with the keyword ‘Bring’ (yes, I produce music in my not so spare time!). And you can try it out for yourself too, but please be kind if you spot my ringtone track, and wish to comment on it
Overall, I think this is an excellent proposition. However, it is still very much a start-up service, (albeit a brilliant/creative and enterprising one), with the usual minor teething problems you might expect. The monetisation element, with its 90 day keyword limit, makes this a likely vehicle for promotional/marketing applications (e.g. release promos, live tours and competitions etc.), which is no bad thing at all. The music industry revenue model is slowly embracing other sources of income e.g. live performance, streaming (see this post/infographic for recent trends), and now SMS could get onto that list, if this all works out.
So what makes this a real example of innovation, you might ask. Well, if you’ve heard the adage about putting new wine into old wineskins, then you might be forgiven for thinking that this proposition is doomed to failure. However, the ability to reuse/repurpose an existing, and possibly boring, technology to new and profitable ends is right to the heart of innovation, in my opinion. I say well done guys, and keep the UK innovation flag flying!