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At a very young age my drum instructor would always say the phrase “in with the new out with the old.” Little did I know then, that he was giving me perhaps the most valuable piece of information in my lifetime. I came to realize as an adult, that in order to survive in any industry you must be "in with the new." In today’s new mobile-social culture, brands and their fans are establishing relationships in ways never seen before. So, in with the new!
Below is a link to a video where we hear the perspective a legend himself, Gene Simmons of KISS. He talks about merchandising, rock music, and the extinction of record companies. I rarely find myself on the agreeing side of the always outspoken Gene Simmons but, as this video was uploaded some two years ago, Gene was already identifying the new industry business model. A model that I refer to as “disruption!”
Disruption is a natural process that occurs with evolution. In my opinion it's a healthy process that yields innovation and creativity. As disruption permeates through the music industry what will artists do to stay alive? How will they pay the bills, get their music heard and be relevant? The first thing they need to do is to learn how to adapt to their surroundings.
The good old days of going to the record store and buying the new “flavor of the week” are long gone. Now we prefer to have our music on the go, as we go, on our phones, iPods or streaming in from the almighty cloud. The artist may not like it but if they want to survive, they have to accept it or risk extinction.
Fans have gone mobile with the rest of the world and they are the ones telling the market how they want to purchase and listen to music. It's up to the artist to “be creative” or “adapt” and deliver content (in this case music) in a relevant way.
The disruption I speak of isn’t some vague nebulous topic being pondered in industry blogs and articles. It isn’t rapidly approaching or looming around the corner. It has arrived and you can feel it. We are all living in a mobile-social revolution that is growing rapidly every day. I see the next phase and its “disruption” reaching far beyond the music industry. It’s not “band” specific it’s “brand” specific too.
I don’t believe that there is much of a difference between bands and brands. As Gene so astutely pointed out in the video, "everybody is exactly in the same KISS business as KISS is in." Gene goes on to say, “If you sell t-shirts you're in the KISS business.” NFL, NBA, MLB, UFC et al., you’re all in the KISS business. Almost every brand today has the same need and desire to connect to their mobile fans.
With recent innovations in technology, brands can now connect to mobile fans through the merchandise they are selling today. Developments in cloud technologies and the mass consumer adoption of smart-devices afford brands a whole new touch point from physical to digital. If you couple this with a unique consumer experience, brands can stand out and set themselves apart in an over saturated market.
At 50 seconds into the video Gene says "when you buy a t-shirt you don't get music." This is pretty funny because the video isn’t that old and yes, you can buy a t-shirt today that downloads music to your phone. Hey Gene, give me a call. I have a new product I want to show you. In a disruptive world, only those who adapt will survive.
To learn more about Interactive Merchandise and my company R-Evolution Industries, visit us online or write to me at [email protected]