For my fellow music junkies out there, WIRED magazine’s January issue has quite a few articles of note on the future of music, its value, and the industry itself. The article that really caught my attention was a short conversation between Thom Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead, and David Bryne, musician/co-founder Talking Heads, discussing “the real value of music.”
Always an interesting topic to kick around with my fellow colleagues at the Round Table. But I wanted to share a portion of the conversation that resonated with me:
Byrne: ” I’ve been thinking about how distribution and CDs and record shops and all that stuff are changing. But we’re talking about music. What is music, what does music do for people? What do people get from it? What’s it for? That’s the thing that’s being exchanged. Not all the other stuff. The other stuff is the shopping cart that holds some of it.”
Yorke: “It’s a delivery service.”
Byrne: “But people will still pay to have that experience. You create a community with music, not just at concerts, but by talking about it with your friends. By making a copy and handing it to your friends, you’ve established a relationship. The implication is that they’re now obligated to give you something back.”
For members of a music community it’s not about dollars and cents. It’s about entrusting someone with something intangible that they deem priceless and that action implies that, in turn, you’ll return the favor. Once you do, your payment is fulfilled. Pretty interesting concept, but definitely not a new one. I’d imagine before the world got hung up on album/cd sales, this was standard thinking.