For every 100 books sold on Amazon they also sell 114 eBooks for their Kindle reader. Amazon is not the only bookstore available and the Kindle is not the eBook reader, but this statistic is fascinating for those of us who have watched the publishing industry change more in the past decade than in the previous century.
Naturally it’s technology that underpins the changing nature of publishing, but technology is only an enabler. Almost every industry you can name is undergoing a period of rapid change – many are being shaken so much they are being turned upside down.
Consider the music business. It used to be simple. A band would record an album with all recording and promotion costs paid for by the record company. Then the band would tour to promote sales of the album and both record company and band could sit and count the money as album sales soared.
Thanks to the way music is now shared online – nobody buys records any longer (in many cases people don’t even buy MP3 files) they just rent the right to play music using a tool like Spotify.
So the bands have to release new music just to promote a tour, where they can earn by selling tickets to a live show and perhaps a few T-shirts too. The online sharing of music has turned the entire industry on its head.
Live performance is now vital for survival and Apps such as Songkick help artists promote their shows and allows fans to never miss out when their favourite band is going to appear nearby.
But I noticed an interesting development that could change this business model even further. The Songkick app now features an option called Detour. So if your favourite band is touring, but not coming to your town then you can use the social network of music fans to try getting other fans in your local area to encourage the band to make a detour your way – so the fans start dictating where the band actually tours.
Many industries are being reshaped because of the way information can flow today – this creates many opportunities, but for those who can see a new way to do things, there are some immense opportunities!
Photo by Christian Holmer licensed under Creative Commons