What went down in the music industry

At the turn of the century

Remember when Napster and Apple revolutionized the music industry?

They literally changed the way people listened to music. And the way record labels ran their businesses. As well as paved the way for smaller bands to get heard.

In the summer of 1999, Napster was born and file sharing became an obsession for many music fans. Less than a year later, Metallica, Dr. Dre and the Recording Industry Association of America took them to court and won, putting an end to the public file-sharing platform.

Meanwhile, Apple was also paying close attention and released the first version of iTunes in January 2001 on the Macintosh and the first iPod in October 2001, allowing hundreds of tracks to be safely and legally kept in our pockets.

Video: Be Ready to Make an Impact in Your Industry

Customer demand drives industry practices

Both Napster and Apple listened to the market and gave music fans what they wanted: To be able to listen to individual songs whenever they wished without having to buy the entire album.

Around the same time Lars Ulrich, the drummer of Metallica, was defending his beliefs, consumers demanded quick and cheap, creating one heck of a monster in many industries, not just the fashion industry.

Now that we see the damage we’ve done, we have to breathe, concentrate and act fast to stop causing harm to humans, animals, and our environment.

A few ethical brand pioneers e.g. Patagonia, Hess Natur, Weleda have been seen as industry leaders for decades. Yet, the majority of the big brands resort to traditional ways because many consumers still want quick and cheap.

Customer demand drives industry practices

Both Napster and Apple listened to the market and gave music fans what they wanted: To be able to listen to individual songs whenever they wished without having to buy the entire album.

Around the same time Lars Ulrich, the drummer of Metallica, was defending his beliefs, consumers demanded quick and cheap, creating one heck of a monster in many industries, not just the fashion industry.

Now that we see the damage we’ve done, we have to breathe, concentrate and act fast to stop causing harm to humans, animals, and our environment.

A few ethical brand pioneers e.g. Patagonia, Hess Natur, Weleda have been seen as industry leaders for decades. Yet, the majority of the big brands resort to traditional ways because many consumers still want quick and cheap.

What can we learn from this paradigm shift in the music industry?

Just like in the music industry, the demand is changing and so is the offer. Conscious consumption is growing since the internet and social media have allowed us to become more aware of these harmful practices. People are starting to change the way they shop.

The Ethical Revolution has begun and you’re right smack dab in the beginning stages.

Good news for you because this will give you a chance to:

  • Easily attract the right customers who’ll become repeat buyers and share your stuff with everyone
  • Enjoy people asking if they can sell your collections and products in their stores and online shops
  • Constantly open your inbox to find people asking you to speak at live events that bring wonderful networking opportunities
  • Put your marketing on auto-pilot so that you can ease your workload and enjoy your private life
  • Leverage your business and increase sales so that you can become an industry leader and truly make an impact

When reality hits

Unfortunately, you‘re not the only eco brand out there. Sustainable fashion and beauty brands, in particular, are popping up like weeds now and it‘s getting harder for you to get noticed.

Are you engaging in marketing activities but not seeing positive results? You may be posting like a rockstar on social media, but no one’s engaging. Or spending a lot of money on online ads, but only a few customers are trickling in a little at a time. Or you‘re getting customers, but they‘re not loyal and don‘t seem to be the kind of customer who’ll rave about your brand behind your back.

Also, you may not know how to become an industry leader and truly make an impact, let alone know how to increase sales to be able to stay afloat because what you‘ve tried in the past didn’t work.

Fact is, if you’re not earning enough money, your marketing just isn’t working out for you!

The dilemma

But instead of analyzing the situation from the ground up, you try this new activity, amp up your SEO or get on a new social channel to try to reach people and hope for the best.

Either that or you don‘t know what has to change or what you‘re doing wrong and are a bit stuck at the moment.

It’s OK though. You can fix this!

The solution to this dilemma lies in your marketing strategy.

“Marketers with a documented strategy are 538% more likely to report success than those who don’t.”

Coschedule, “State of Marketing Report Bundle”

The solution: strategy first

If you‘ve created a marketing strategy but aren‘t consistently implementing and optimizing it, you’ll remain at the same level you’re at now and stay stuck for a long time. It’s time to optimize your strategy.

If you‘ve never created a strategy, but still engage in marketing activities, it’s like throwing a dart on a map on the wall to figure out where you and your family of five are going on vacation this summer.

You could maybe do that if you were a single Freebird and had no expectations. But if you want to make sure your stay is comfortable and your family is happy, you have to plan a few details before getting on that plane.

In your business, you also have high expectations to succeed. Not only that, but your customers are counting on you to remain in business.

So, if you continue to throw darts and dabble with your marketing while struggling to find customers so that you can increase your revenue, your business is not a business, but more of a hobby project. Trust me on this one, if you want to succeed with your eco business, this method of dabbling doesn’t work.

Napster had a strategy. Regardless of the legality of it, it worked! Napster is thriving! Apple’s too! And yes, Metallica too!

Are you ready to thrive?
Then get ready to create and implement a marketing strategy that rocks!

Want to master your marketing and also thrive?

Schedule a free strategy call and let's talk.

Let’s continue the conversation below. What do you think about the development of the ethical revolution?

Rock On,

Jessica

8 Comments

  1. Martin Williams

    Hello 🙂 I’m up now.

    Nice to meet you Jess.

    Yeah it was certainly an interesting time the late 90s early 2000s. Still is.

    Technology outpaced long standing business models and left the music industry flat footed. Whilst Napster lead the way yes the ethics were arguably dubious and yes Apple was smart in adding label deals to that technology to own the market and to an extent the concept for a number of years. Even then people (me included) were arguing for the ‘celestial jukebox’ (horrible term I admit 🙂 where music instead of being own through downloads might be simply experienced though streaming – well played Spotify.

    One site that seems to be over looked these days is MP3.com which in the late 90s was a powerhouse in the online music world pre filesharing. 300,000+ indie artists from all over the world – an astonishing ecosystem. When CEO Micheal Robinson launched his online locker system that allowed users to upload their cd collections so they could listen to tracks anywhere they had an internet connection the record industry crushed MP3.com in the courts and that was pretty much that. A crying shame. Boo hoo.

    Not sure what my point is here. Something along the lines of… technology enables new demands, sometimes those demands are dodgy ethically/legally/economically/emotionally. But maybe that confusion is a necessary challenge that needs to be worked through so that a sustainable new model can be developed that in the end benefits creators, consumers and the agencies through which they all deliver/experience. Or maybe that’s just more misplaced optimism on my part.

    More power to your elbow comrade Jess.

    Ummmmmm I’ll leave with this.

    Something I made earlier – https://open.spotify.com/track/0ciX5y4z9oRZQfMZc2M2F0

    xmx

    Reply
    • jesslohm

      Hi Martin, nice to meet you too, thanks for your comment! Oh yes, mp3.com!!! Just went there and this huge animated gif of David Coverdale (Whitesnake) was staring at me. Bah ha ha ha – gotta love the hair bands of the 80s! Heck, I admit it, I was a fan!

      And yes, technology is so very powerful!

      I feel the fashion industry is now where the food industry was several years ago. Everyone is now aware of organic products and many prefer them! Although the labels lie and there is SO much work that still needs to be done in the food industry which is why I’m a vegan, at least people now know of some of the horrific conditions and the toxins we eat on a regular basis.

      The fashion industry is the 2nd dirtiest (due to waste, not ‘dirty’ in that it’s still very harmful to humans or animals) next to the oil industry and people are just now starting to become aware of that. The Fashion Revolution is going on this week with worldly events to spread more awareness of the harm this industry does to humans, animals, and our environment as well as to honor those who lost their lives in the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh where 1138 people were killed 5 years ago tomorrow.

      Awareness of the harm is spreading and so is the knowledge about new technologies such as laser technology to prepare jeans instead of harmful chemicals. Or NAMs (New Alternative Methods) for animal testing such as in-vitro, ex vivo and in silico which are not only more cost-effective, but also more accurate, so it doesn’t even make any sense that there are still cosmetic companies out there testing on animals. ??? Not even China requires it for foreign brands anymore!

      Still, a lot has to be done which is why the ‘ethical revolution’ (pertaining to all industries trying to improve their ways) is in its early stages, so ethical brands now have a huge opportunity to be here during this stage before it gets too noise.

      Now I’m going to listen to your song! Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
    • jesslohm

      Definitely, Sam! You’re ready! 🙂

      Reply
      • Sam

        It’s a really compelling comparison you’ve made and I can totally see it. The industry having to change due to pioneers in the field presenting a different way of doing things, spurred on by consumer demand.

        The timing of this article is a little crazy for me too: Being all about Napster and the ‘Ethical Revolution’ … My brand is ‘Ethical Revolution’ and I’m currently on a little holiday with a really good old friend of mine – he was the man behind Silverman, one of those small bands to gain huge success through Napster and mp3.com – they were number one on their charts (beating Eminem) and won the first ever ‘Streamsearch Internet Film and Music Festival Best Song’ award, being flown by helicopter to the Playboy Mansion to receive the award! …Martin himself now works within marketing so will be interesting to get his take on it all … will get him to have a read when he wakes up!

        Reply
        • jesslohm

          OMG Sam, I now have goosebumps! I was a college DJ at WUSC in the states and used to work for an indie label in the early 90s in Atlanta before moving to Germany, so we did things the old-fashioned way and marketed and sent our vinyl and CDs to larger distributors. Thanks so much for sharing this amazing story! I love to hear success stories like these. I’m really interested to know what Martin thinks, but first, let me listen to Silverman! 🙂 Rock On!

          Reply
          • Sam

            Amazing!
            Great, well if you’re checking Silverman out I’m pretty sure they still have stuff on Spotify and Soundcloud. Time is a Blade was the song that was no.1 and won the award. Their website is https://silvermania.co.uk
            x

          • jesslohm

            Thanks so much! Just youtubed Time is a Blade – nice, very nice, she has a beautiful voice! <3

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