Music and movies just don’t seem to last anymore. The way movies and music are done these days, they don’t fit the modern paradigm of needing to be in the face of the consumer week after week. TV on the other hand has a longer lifespan because it fits the modern paradigm.
George Lucas once said that the $200 million movie is dead. At the moment there are a lot of blockbusters that cost $100 million to $200 million to make that are flops.
Movies like R.I.P.D (a derivative version of Ghostbusters and Men In Black), Pacific Rim (a derivative version of Godzilla and Transformers), The Lone Ranger (a derivative version of The Lone Ranger TV show, National Treasure and Pirates of The Caribbean), Turbo, After Earth and White House Down.
Remember that progress is derivative. Each movie mentioned above is a derivative version of a previous movie that had come before it. So what went wrong. Remember, that this is Hollywood. Hollywood is well known to play on the stupid idea that they need a $200 million movie. So in order to make a $200 million movie, Hollywood focuses on a lot of formulaic material that the public is pushing back on as we are sick and tired of watching it. Meanwhile, the movies that are doing well are the lower budget films.
The Conjuring cost $20 million to make and so far it has made $140 million. The Heat cost $43 million to make and so far it has made $190 million. Now You See Me cost $75 million to make and so far it has made $233 million.
It’s just bad business sense. If you are in the market to sell a product, a better strategy is to test your luck with ten $20 million movies rather than dumping $200 million into just one movie? The public is speaking up. They want the studios to focus on how to make good movies that doesn’t involve following a formula. They want the studios to find quality content.
So what does the failure of several blockbusters have to do with music.
DO NOT PUT ALL YOUR EFFORTS INTO ONE GIANT PROJECT. Put your efforts into twenty little derivative projects throughout the year.
The years of when artists took a year to make an album and went on a three year victory lap as it sold by the truckloads are over. The ones that still take a year to make an album basically have an album that is dead on arrival. The faithful will buy the album and then the victory lap is over.
There is a massive paradigm shift happening in the way the audience consumes entertainment. The best way to sum up the change in consumerism mindset is to use the good old photo analogy. Once upon a time it used to cost a decent amount of dollars to have a photo done. You needed a camera and batteries. Then you had to buy a 35mm film roll for taking the photos and then once the roll was all used up, you needed to take that roll to a photo lab who then converted the roll into negatives and then printed up the photos for you. You then paid the photo lab money and they gave the prints and the negatives back to you. Then we would buy a photo album to store the photos in so that we can view them in the future over and over again. Some people even purchased slide machines to view their negatives on a wall.
Today we just take a photo on our smartphones. Today, photos cost nothing and are oftentimes shot and then discarded. In most cases, they are saved to a hard drive where they will sit forever or uploaded to a social site like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr or Tumblr.
Music is also uploaded to a social site. YouTube is the unofficial and original streaming service. The record labels execs that are doing everything they can to keep their fat pay checks and thinking about yesterday didn’t see that one coming.
The change in consumer behaviour has led to the traditional photo print shop from disappearing. In music, this has led to the reduction in brick and mortar stores that sell recorded music.
Kodak the biggest player in the photography field has disappeared. They made the mistake of ignoring the changes in technology and assumed that people will remain true to the film roll technology. Hang on a second. Isn’t that the same viewpoint the Record Labels hold.
Once upon a time you could only play your music at home. Once upon a time you could only view your photos at home. Today we can view and take our photos everywhere we go. Today we can expect to have all of our music available to us everywhere we go.
So why are the artists creating content with the old Record Label mindset.
Record more frequently, release frequently. Give the people a reason to listen to your music.