The future of business is in such a state, the music industry is loosing money at a clip never seen before, will the record labels finally see the light, probably not. The labels are fighting tooth and nail to control what you and I can do when it comes to acquiring music, and producing it. For whatever reason the industry shrunk by 71% in 1 year, they are trying to be so protected, to the point nobody is paying attention. You to will be ignored if you continue down the path of control, forcing people to pay.

Nine Inch Nails found a way to survive and make money without a record label controlling them, and many others are finding creative way to get they’re music into our hands. The Kaiser Chiefs are doing something interesting, they want you to build an album, buy it, then sell it, and they will share the revenues with you.

Now it will help if you like their music, you get to select from 20 cuts, you pick 10 songs for your album, design your cover, pay for it and download the album. Once you’ve gotten that far, they will provide a site for you to sell your album and you share in the profits, sell many albums, make many bucks.

This is one of many creative ideas on getting your music in the hands of your fans and a great way to get new fans. Check out the site, make sure you read the instructions well before diving in, but have fun creating an album you like.

Another example of how the future of business and the music industry is adopting a more open & free business model, one that you the consumer has a little more say, one where you are being trusted just a little bit more.

The Nine Inch Nails Open Core Business Model is not new, in fact it’s been well documented. So why is it that few are using the model? As I have stated here over and over again, the future of business is not a bunch of steps, a list to execute, or a set of action items, it’s how you and I think about business, how we provide what customers and follower’s want. Our view of business in the world must change, we can’t keep applying old rules to a new model. Here is a short snippet of Trent Reznor’s Open Core Business Model.

The band (NIN) merely saw something better than the record labels channels of distribution, and more importantly, it’s control over the bands music. So here’s Trent Reznor’s Business Model:

CwF + RtB = $$$$

Do you get it? Probably not, unless you have already read the case study.

This is the Open & Free Business Model working, this is really a precursor to the future of music, so what does the equation stand for or mean.

CwF is Connect With Fans, simple enough right? RtB stands for Reason To Buy. So how did they do it?

After NIN left their record label, released 36 tracks on the Internet, they were put under the Creative Commons License, and then made the first 9 tracks of those 36 available to fans, FREE! How did that help them make money, stay with me.

Nine Inch Nails – Trent Reznor, packaged their music along with other great things you couldn’t get anywhere else, that couldn’t be copied. They made two packages giving you the fans an experience to be relived over and over again, one a deluxe package at $75 and another Ultra Deluxe Package at $300, the difference between the two, the $75 package was made unlimited, the $300 package was a limited set of only 2,500. Oh, these larger packages were personally signed by Trent Reznor as well.

So what happened, well, the $300 package sold out in 30 hours, so…2,500 packages x $300 = $750,000!!!

All without the controlling record label, they did it by giving the fans something they really wanted…hot tip there. Is this starting to take shape in your mind, are starting see your business doing something your customers truly want?

Now, not all of us has the following or resources of an already successful band. That’s not what I’m try to show you. The way they looked at the record business, how they were willing to risk everything but trusting the fans, are you willing to do business by trusting the people formerly known as consumers?

This business model, the future of business has many shapes and sizes, the hard part is stepping away far enough from your own business to see how to leverage this Open & Free Business Model.

Mike Masnick shares the entire story of this business model and some of the other great things Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails did:


I will be speaking at The World Futurist Society Conference July 8th – 10th in Vancouver, British Columbia on The Future Of Business – Open & Free Business Model. Specifically I am schedule Saturday July 9th at 8:30AM to share, it would great to meet you there.

Change the way you think about the future of business and explore what could be, I would be honored to help you.

Change is hard, for some it’s very uncomfortable, and for the mainstream it’s almost impossible, so it seems. Change is inevitable, it is happening with every minute of the day, how you chose to respond to that change determines it’s value. Like ambiguity, change too must be embraced in order for progress to really take hold. I know you know this, I know you understand it and that’s why this environment welcomes those who truely understand it.

Mainstream media, mainstream big business and the businesses that support them, still don’t see what’s coming and it’s coming quickly. Wall street, the Music Industry, Newspapers, Television Media, are stuck in the mainstream, they don’t know how to make the shift to this new economic model called Open & Free. Amber Naslund ranted about how there is an entitlement to free stuff, I agree with her, I’m all for getting paid and we should be if we are providing something of real value. Unfortunately, the world is filled with many looking for a shortcut, looking for a way to take advantage of others and not pay for what they take. But today, we the people get to decide what is important to us, no longer will we be convinced that products, services and information are important. Unethical Internet Marketers, traditional marketing and subliminal messages raise the BS Meter to new levels and become very suspicious. The pay first and and access second model is breaking down rapidly, no longer to be tolerated, and will all but disappear in the next 3 – 5 years when the rest of the world gets here online. There will be 5 Billion people here in the next 5 years and they won’t pay first, and you won’t be able to make them. They will find ways to get what they want, much like we do today, music, movies and information is being copied at will and that’s what the fight is all about. What you may not see is that the money is moving from the selling of copy, to the selling of experience.

Keeping content, products and services behind walls is a losing model, and is a bad experience, the end of control is shaping up everywhere. With Newspaper’s forcing you to buy access to content, record labels unwilling to move on their position and flexing the control muscle, they are in for a rude awakening. Mainstream Media & Mainstream Business must find ways to make this shift, find ways to monetize around product and service. Rather than fight with everyone and try to maintain the current Copyright Model, try working with the stakeholders and content providers. Create interesting ways to replace the Copyright Gridlock we are in with collective agreements where everyone wins. Much of what we know must be unlearned and new creative ways to allow for everyone to participate in a global economy where the content makers do indeed get paid. The Open & Free Business Model allows for this and also brings a hotbed of creativity that builds trust, relationships and attention.

Silicon Valley has the same issues, it is very much an incubator, it doesn’t really integrate with the rest of the world, they talk a different language, and it feeds on itself and funds itself. Sounds cold and harsh but let’s be honest, they are light years away from most of us but still have to share the same space. We need them to be weird and innovative for the rest of the world, but they also seem disconnected at times, it’s a day time soap at times. It’s like being the Nerd in grade school again, everyone looks at you funny because you talk funny and wear a pocket protector.

Mainstream being stuck in the mainstream has a silver lining, it means we get to be creative and help them get unstuck. Unfortunately, today they are fighting against us and the world, and want to maintain control, it’s a losing battle I’m afraid. They aren’t listening now, but they will, musicians and the like are banding together all over the world as messengers. It might appear mainstream media has the upper hand, but it will be short lived. I try to advocate working together, bring awareness, and help build the future in an Open & Free Business Model, a place where everyone (YOU) wins.

Are you ready? How do you feel about an Open & Free Business Model? Do you think Mainstream is stuck in the Mainstream?

I know your scratching your head wondering what I mean by this, stay with me and let me share some thoughts on the topic. We’ve been and still are under the bondage of control & protectionism, just look at the Newspaper & Music industries as an example. I’m not opposed to the creators, writers and artists from being compensated for their work, I’m suggesting that there is and will be a better ways to ensure that compensation happens.

I’m a firm believer that making content readily available and free will create new ways of monetizing, eventually most will figure out how to monetize around that content. If the music industry is smart, they will make collective agreements with those distributing music now, especially those doing it illegally by today’s laws. Pirates if you will, are not really the enemy, they are however breaking new artists all the time, the music industry benefits while the pirate(s) don’t get paid for finding them. The model is now beginning to reverse and is becoming open, the pirate will still find and break new music while everyone else benefits including the pirate. Collaboration is far better than the closed system of control we have today in the music industry. In Matt Mason’s book The Pirate’s Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism (affiliate link) he states, “To compete or not to compete” that’s the question music labels have to answer. That is, to compete with the pirates not against them. The pirate is not going away so it makes more sense to change copyright to usage rights, to rewrite these binding, closed mechanisms to open collective agreements. So instead of fighting the pirate, work with them and feel the benefit, distribute the music freely through systems like Apple’s iTunes. Apple could essentially pay the labels a fee for that distribution, hence they still make there cut and everyone is happy. It sounds simplistic but it’s not, I’m merely sharing this is how it will be in the near future, I don’t know the details of making it work.

You & I won’t tolerate gate keepers and closed systems, you can’t put content behind walls and generate new money, only in an open & free environment will you make new money. Those words are Gerd Leonhard’s , he is a media futurist and his focus is the music industry. From his book called Music 2.0 he makes an interesting statement in the segment called, Access Will Replace Ownership and the Consumer Will Drive the Business:

In three to five years, consumers will have access to “their” music anytime, anywhere, and the physical possession of it will in fact be more of a handicap, or a pastime for collectors. Music will feel (and act) more like water, and music providers will become utilities.

Keep in mind this book was written prior to 2008, it is a collection of essays previously released. I’m not an authority on the music industry, I do however preach his message and see open and free as a sound business model. His new book I have yet to read but you can get it here: Friction is Fiction: The Future of Content, Media & Business (Affiliate Link)

Gary Vaynerchuk has also seen the shift long before it started, he produced 40 minute video’s on Wine Library TV and gave you the content free for 17 months before anyone really knew who he was. How do you think he is doing today, he took the family business from 3 -4 million a year to over 60 million a year doing that show. Today he has a 10 book deal due to the open & free business model, he continues to build his legacy in this new model. His goal is simple, buy the New York Jets NFL team and spend more time with his family. Gary’s message is simple, embrace who you are, your DNA, work hard, work really hard, and never give up on your passion. He doesn’t promise you you’ll make it big, nor does he claim you will be a millionaire, he does however promise, if you do what your passionate about you will win. Winning does not mean lots of money, it may however mean you will enjoy and maybe even love what you do. he preaches his message everywhere and to anyone who will listen, his book hit the New York Top Sellers List and is still available, Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (Affiliate Link)

There are other examples of this business model working, the true test will be if and more like when Industries see the revenue streams around what they sell, how they look for gaps, create vehicles and harness the power of their audiences.

How will you embrace this new environment of Open & Free as a business model?

If your are interested in coming to one of my Open & Free Business Model Workshops, please email me Here

ConfusedExecThis has been on mind for some time now, why corporations don’t get social media. I may be way off base here but there are primarily two or three reasons why they don’t or can’t wrap their brians around what’s happening in the new way marketing.

1.) They haven’t tried, touched, or even asked what the meaning of Social Media is or is not.

2.) Don’t have a clear understanding of Outbound & Inbound Marketing concepts.

3.) Only know how to Broadcast – push, sell products & services.

4.) View a relationship as a sale only.

I’m sure this list could be longer but it’s clear to me that unless there is a simple way of helping the highly educated (constipated) executives, this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Why do a very small few get it and the majority don’t? Fear of Change, Fear of Loss, Fear of not seeing the big picture due to a poor understanding of what they are being asked to participate in.

I know a particular business owner who has been picking my brain, wants to understand the details first, make sure he experiences somekind of ROI before commiting to this new marketing environment. This would lead me to item #5 – CONTROL – there is a fear of losing control like never before, look at the music industry, a prime example of the fear of losing money. Eventually, music will be free, or at least some kind of Collective License that allows for a mutual interest rather than a monopoly.

It’s not all the business owners & executives fault. The fault lies with those who consider themselves experts in this Social Media environment, provide poor information and relate the message that only confuses them more.

This has been written about before, I’m not saying anything new here. The truth is it will never change, just as there are criminals, Internet Marketers and Social Media Experts…there will always be people looking to find a short cut to success. Most people don’t want to wait, have patience and or do the work, they just want to cash grab and do as little as possible. Knowing that, I’m not shocked or surprised at how business owners respond when the topic of Social Media comes up.

So what’s the answer? Do your homework, get a good understanding of what your prospect or client is asking, learn what Social Media is, learn Social Media’s place in the marketing mix, and above all….if you don’t know, shut your mouth or say I don’t know but I’ll find out. Don’t spew crap so you don’t look bad, tell the truth and go on the journey with your prospective client, better yet, invite someone who does understand to the meeting. This problem #6 – poor representation which means the wrong information is being shared.

I’ve ranted enough on the topic, there’s a Social Media Mess out there and it’s up to us to clean it up. If Social Media is putting the power back into the hands of we the people, then let’s make sure we are using that power correctly and for good.

Why Corporation’s Don’t Get Social Media? You tell me, I’m just one voice, one person listening to business owners in my area, what are you coming up against and how are you being part of the solution?