Marketing in the
The Rolling Stones have sold 270 million albums.
The Doors have sold 60 million albums.
Pink Floyd have sold 220 million albums.
Led Zeppelin have sold 200 million albums.
The Queen have sold 190 million albums.
Music has a great appeal and has billions of
Yet, Record Companies are in great trouble.
This is an unexplicable paradox.
In reality Record Companies are in a deep crisis
situation since 30 years ago, since the 1980's.
Just, now their situation is worse than ever.
How is that possible?
How can these companies be unable to grasp such
The answer is simple: wrong marketing.
All the major record companies - EMI, Warner,
Sony, Vivendi-Universal - have failed,
first in the transition from Vinyl records to
CD, then in the transition from CD to the online
digital format - mp3, aac, flac.
First they failed in exploiting their outstanding
Think about EMI, for instance: In their catalogue
they have Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Rolling
Stones, Queen - just to name a few.
CD Pricing Mistake.
One big reason stems from the time of transition
between the vinyl and the CD, in the mid 80's.
Record Companies had set wrong price tags. CD's
were - and still are - too expensive.
It was foolish to set the price for a CD at
$15-$20 - or 15-20 euro -.
At that point why not $1000 for one CD?
This meant kicking away your costumers.
If the cartel of Record Companies had set the
price for a CD between $4-$5. they would have
sold 100 or 200 times more.
Take a calculator and just multiply to get the
Record Companies Executives were just shortsighted
and made the wrong reasoning.
And now it's too late. Another big mistake was
to push for CD's full with 12-15 songs, of which
only 3 songs were good songs and the rest was
just rubbish to fill the CD.
They should have pushed for different formats.
Singles - that in the old times of vinyl records
were highly successful and selling by the millions
- which could have been easily priced at $1.50-$2.00
-, and CD's with 3, 4 or 5 songs - which could
have been priced at $4-$5. More so, considering
that the industrial cost of the CD hardware
is just $0.30.
Wrong was also the revenues distribution to
the composer, the performer, the record company
and the retail chain.
Who really made the music - the composer and
the performer - just got peanuts from each CD
sold by the record company.
Adopting this alternative marketing strategy
would have made Record Companies unbelievably
rich, and never facing a crisis.
Marketing and Apple Inc.
Our point is further demonstrated today with
Until today iTunes has sold 25 billion songs.
And this is just the beginning.
Typically, costumers purchase 1 single song
or in other cases 3 or 4 songs, spending $3-$4.
The reason is simple. Is called inspiration.
Musicians are creative persons. They can write
and play one great song, or in case of a time
of great creativity 3 or 4, and these are valuable
and appealing songs for their aficionado costumers.
If you pretend 12 or 15 songs from a band, you
can be sure that 9 or 12 of them will be just
Not to mention the stress of weeks and weeks
of Recording Studio time with 48 tracks, editing
and post production.
Big Mistake of Record Companies.
But the big mistake of Record Companies from
the 80's onwards
was to make the marketing of Music as if Music
was toothpaste or mayonnaise.
Let us explain.
When in the 60's and 70's the Rolling Stones,
the Who, the Beatles, the Doors, Led Zeppelin,
Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, King Crimson were
making their wonderful music, they were not
following marketing directives.
They were not following what the Marketing Executive
was telling them was pleasing the costumers.
They were simply making the music they were
And, simply, many people in the world were
liking their music.
Music is not toothpaste.
Music is not mayonnaise.
Music is not a product.
Music is Art.
In the 80's the marketing approach of Record
they began using marketing techniques which
were standard in many other industries, and
began selling music as any other typical mass
product - toothpaste, soap and mayonnaise -.
It happened that the Marketing Executives of
the Record Companies began doing survey research
and market analyses and then telling the musicians
what would sell, what was pleasing the costumers,
and directing the musicians how to make their
That was a foolish and gross mistake. It destroyed
music and destroyed the Record Companies business
Music is a typical niche market, or, to put
it best, is a market with a largest number of
niches. And each niche has its music lovers,
its costumers and its peculiarities.
The Band Play.
Music is Art and Music has to be considered
and treated by Record Companies Executives as
Therefore Marketing Executives have to step
back, and adopt a smarter marketing strategy.
Which is "let the band play and just stepback"
The best marketing strategy in Music is simple:
Passion and Inspiration.
This should be the marketing drive in music.
The Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Doors,
Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd were highly successful
just because they were making great music,
and because there were many music lovers who
were liking it. Nothing more, nothing less.
Sales Data - Worldwide - 1962-2016
|| 40 million
Next Logical Step - iTunes
What we now foresee in the Music business
is that Apple will do the next logical step,
Apple will develop iTunes from just the world
leading e-business music outlet to become a
full service Record Company.
Apple Inc. will buy the agonizing Record Companies
- Warner Records, EMI, Sony, Vivendi-Universal
- for peanuts, replace them, and make another
big success, obtaining another de-facto worldwide
Marketing strategy is essential and every single
case has to be carefully considered and individually
Sometimes - as in the cited Ferrari case and
in the Music industry case - the best marketing
strategy is what appears to be a "no marketing"
In reality, it is simply a different kind of
marketing strategy, more refined, crafted at
a higher level.