The State of Digital Music: The Rdio Conversations

GrEtcHen Unhillbilly, not sure if it’s clear from the Slate article, but networking on Ravelry incorporates thousands of small vendors. As in the old brick & mortar music store days, people running businesses are just as likely to be subject matter junkies as their customers. Customers, vendors, they are all “enthusiasts”…the difference Ravelry makes is in leveraging databases and internet technology to link everyone together in a huge network of communication, sharing, and yes, vending (all yarn shops I walk into these days are members and can bring up my account info and help me shop based on my project needs — or I can shop online for things not available locally — there are tons of Etsy shop owners on Ravelry).

Nohbody, ads: the difference being, the membership is not a commodity sold to other interests. The products related to the activity remain the commodity, and the ad revenue supports the site, which supports the activities. This model is proven successful, and in theory, could be applied just as successfully to music or any other area of human interest. My sole frustration with Ravelry’s founders / owners is they are not interested in selling their work so it could be readily applied elsewhere. As soon as people see what it does, their next thought is usually “I wish there were a site like that for cooking, or biking, or baseball fans or (insert your favorite interest here)” 5 weeks ago

Biker Chick Now I am hungry. 5 weeks ago

Nohbdy A better analogy: You eat dinner at a restaurant, You tell your friends you’re eating at Baxter’s Bistro, and ordered the salmon and a glass of pinot grigio. (not outside the realm of possibility is it?) That’s closer to what the FB thing is trying to do If its doing it and you don’t want to the turn the feature off. 5 weeks ago

Johnny B @Nohbdy, I can see why Facebook treats me as a commodity. Their service is free. But I’m troubled by Rdio or similar sites marrying themselves with FB and participating in the commoditization of my interests and activities. On Rdio I am a paying customer. There’s a difference.

A physical-world analogy: If I eat dinner at a restaurant, I don’t think the restaurant is within its rights to tell all my friends, “Johnny is eating at Baxter’s Bistro. He has ordered the salmon and a glass of pinot grigio.” 5 weeks ago

Nohbdy @ unhillbilly I think articles like that are misleading. An artist’s pay out should look something more like this (provided they’re on these service of course): +Music site A (Rdio) +Music Site B (Mog) +Music Site C (Spotify) +Digital Sales From above sites +Digital sales from iTunes +Digital sales from Amazon +CD sales from amazon + Direct sales = total profit It all adds up after awhile. I know there are costs associated with those but that’s how businesses work. The hope is that the profit out way the costs. 5 weeks ago

unhillbilly Who knows, maybe someday FB will facilitate direct commerce with artists and not suck for music enthusiasts. But right now, FB is a productivity black-hole and co-op marketing ecosystem bent on re-creating AOL.

@GreTchEn That is fascinating! Reading Slate story on Ravelry now http://www.slate.com/id/2298584. 5 weeks ago

Nohbdy But you are a commodity. You say they have advertising targeted towards the the interest, then I guarantee they are selling the fact that they have (insert #) members that would be interested in (insert product here). The only difference is FB doesn’t know what your interests are so they try and gather that info, where your knitting site knows what you like because you wouldn’t be there if you didn’t like it. From my understanding that is the crux of what FB does. They aren’t selling your personal info they are selling statistics, i.e. so many people liked (blah), more people in this area liked it, and so on. Again I say I have know issue with targeted research and advertisement. I mean really do I need an ad for Lil’ Wayne’s latest effort? NO!! 5 weeks ago

GrEtcHen @unhillbilly, I wish the music world could be like the knitting/fiber world. There is one monster site in that realm (Ravelry) — and it is self-contained. Every feature you could think of for both managing your own experience, and socializing about it, is beautifully executed. And it’s free, supported by ads only from fiber-related vendors. There are millions of users around the world — basically, if you are into this topic, you really need to be a member. There isn’t anything that can compete. They own the space, utterly.

3 thoughts on “The State of Digital Music: The Rdio Conversations”

  1. Great post and comments!

    Right. So… Is Rdio the Future of Music?

    The problem with these sorts of “x is the future of y” discussions, particularly where technology is concerned, is that x always changes the nature of y. Because of this, you can never quite arrive at point y.

    I see Rdio and it’s ilk bumping into a few issues shortly that run along these lines:

    1) The closer these services get to delivering on the promise of offering “almost everything” in the world of music, the more they will underscore what isn’t offered. Put another way, how much music needs to be available to make up for the fact that what you want to hear right now isn’t?

    2) Part of the appeal of these services lies in the social aspect, which presently is built on the enthusiasm of early adopters and music nerds. The tone and quality of the social interaction will change as more users sign on. Will Rdio still be compelling?

    3) Rdio is presently a novel way of trying to monetize music in a time where monetizing music is difficult. It’s an experiment that is occurring concurrently with other experiments at trying to resuscitate the monetization of music. A verdict will be reached. Recent high profile releases by Coldplay, Black Keys, Tom Waits — to name a few — are not present on Rdio. Presumably this is because posting on streaming services is viewed as possibly undermining the success of other channels, both experimental and traditional. Is this the start of a verdict being reached? Will this assessment be shared by others?

    Just a few thoughts.

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