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SXSW panel shows how music means more than…well, music.

This headline caught my attention -

Is social media a music-industry savior?

The Chicago Tribune article by Greg Kot | Music critic can be found here. The discussion was kicked off at a SXSW Tech coincidentally titled “Can Social Music Save the Music Industry?” and covered on Forbes.com  The panel discussed the direct-to-fan relationship with social media and how to use social sites like Twitter and Facebook to, well, sell stuff like merchandise and concert tickets.

Some quotes (via @Forbes) from the discussion include:

  • “The average American goes to one concert a year and we think that’s completely atrocious,”
  • and “The real opportunity with Facebook is how much information the site will give you about your fans.said Michelle You, co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Songkick.
  • Email is massively underutilized,” said Jason Herskowitz (Chief Product Officer, Official.FM)
  • Data is the most important thing you could be owning and paying attention to,” said J Sider (Founder & CEO, RootMusic).
  • “social is not a silver bullet” and “there are tools being developed to link fans to music, and transactional (tickets, merchandise),” said panel moderator Mike McGuire (VP Research, Gartner).

Judging from the quotes, it’s all about how musicians can use information and data derived from social media to communicate directly with fans in order to sell them more concert tickets and merchandise. I guess the untold assumption is that the music has to be good in order for any of this to work.

The true underlining meaning in all of this discussion is that the money is really made in the merchandise and concert ticket sales, and not so much the music itself. We fans need to simply buy more t-shirts and go to more concerts and the music industry is “saved”. As a fan, I’m more interested in saving the musician, than saving the industry, but I guess they go hand in hand in this day and age.

So, I will continue to rely on my social streams be they friends, blogs, ratings, etc. to find some really cool music.  If I become a fan, sure, I throw some “support” at concert tickets, maybe some memorabilia, but since my taste in music is wide ranging, my “support” for the industry is limited. Sometimes listening to good music is all I need. I don’t necessarily need to to it live, or wear it on my sleeve. I guess I’m part of the problem.

I can’t even remember the last concert I went to, or the last time I wore a concert t-shirt.

Can you?

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