I just found this article about an online variety show to promote the band Tally Hall. Warner Brothers’ offbeat promotion is an attempt to match modern media and the spirit of the Monkees. And good for them, because it seems like in today’s media environment, the bigger the company or cause is, the less likely they are to try new marketing and – more importantly – revenue models.
During my college days around the turn of the century, music downloads took off, and record companies attacked Napster. They should have realized that the black market sprang up because of some important consumer trends: sometimes people wanted to buy singles, rather than 13-song albums, and they wanted their media digitally. This was a new revenue model and a new market that iTunes eventually capitalized on; and now legal music downloading and internet radio sites exist. How badly do you think Sony, Universal, and other major labels wish they had thought of a download-based business model ten years ago?
The trend is starting to continue to video. Studios and television networks are quick to scour YouTube and pull unauthorized copies; anyone who has tried to share a Saturday Night Live sketch on Monday afternoon can attest to this. But now NBC and other networks and studios have been delivering web content though their own sites and through other sites like Hulu.
The beauty of capitalism is that factors such as the delivery of goods and services are ultimately dictated by the customer. Smart companies analyze those trends and find ways to take advantage of them.