A Big Bag of D’s: Unveiling 300
Disrupt, disintermediate and disseminate—these terms seem to permeate the forefront of an already eclectic wheelhouse of buzzwords used over the course of this past week’s Midem. What does it all mean? About as much as intrapreneurs, T-model employees, and bleeding-edge tech. This has aptly led to the title of this blog series: A Big Bag of D’s (inaptly creative, but will probably help with SEO).
Midem 2014 was highlighted with the unveiling of 300, a Google-backed “music content company devoted to the discovery and development of the artists of the future.” The keynote itself was as expected: riddled with poor jokes and photoshopped images, with a couple of hidden gems that you’d expect from an old colleague.
What we’ve learned:
A twitter algorithm for discovering artists will never work, just as we’ve seen it through the failure of music curation. It can’t listen, it doesn’t know what’s cool and it can’t connect. By the time significant or shareable content is aggregated through a mass web of hashtags, retweets, bots and purchased followers, it’s already been discovered. We’re already onto what’s next. If you want to discover an artist first, you have to be immersed in the culture. It’s the people who breathe, eat and sleep the digital world—it’s your friends who are the tastemakers. By the time they have gone to twitter, they’ve already shared it on Facebook and they’ve subscribed to the artists’ Youtube channels.
The Business Model
Low overhead, skilled workers, autonomy and experience. That’s a solid business model. If 300 can stick to it, it should succeed. Where 300 will run into trouble is artist development. Labels used to do this until it became too expensive. They want what’s ready; they are interested in making money now.
How will 300 be any different?
Perhaps it’s culture. The concept of “fraternity,” for whatever reason, was left out of all the articles I’ve stumbled upon. This is what resonated with me. Perhaps I wanted to hear an affliction in Lyor’s voice, but this is what it’s all about. A dedication, a strive, a passion for music, collaboration, colleagues and artists. It’s the culture, it incubates and drives success on every level, eliminating the negativity, adapting and evolving. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?
“Sign stars, don’t dust bums.” – Lyor Cohen
Maybe we need to redefine what “stars” are, because lately they’ve seemed to become one in the same.