Saturday, September 06, 2014

Diary: From platinum to unplugged in a six-pack or less.

My diaries are intended to be extemporaneous utterings of ideas, without gloss or sheen. Sometimes I come back to them and polish, other times not.

In the music business, it used to be that a band toured relentlessly with low remuneration to build a market for its album releases, and if albums and songs hit it big, the returns were huge. Notice how every member of any band that had a 10-million selling album in the 1980s owns one or more castles?

Nowadays, and album is huge if it sells a couple hundred thousand copies in tactile format. Bands give away their music to build interest in touring, or perhaps songs are marketed on television commercials and on-line apps.

The point is that business model has changed completely. I suspect that in coming years, analogous considerations will pertain to the "craft" beer business as it becomes saturated. There'll be the top tier of players -- New Belgium and Bell's and Whomever Else playing the roles of the Stones, Springsteen and other major touring acts. Then there'll be the remainder, finding that the daily production undertow required to get by increasingly resembles those CD sales figures.

There'll have to be other ways of making bank. Probably those on a brewpub/on-premise scale will find it easier. Those on a production scale, with declining outlets, will need to determine how they become the equivalent of touring bands. In short, I think the business model is changing in my world, too.

The question is, how to survive? Not sticking with what are about to become outmoded strategies is an obvious first move.

The analogies aren't exact ... but they're intriguing.

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