WHAT? SO WHAT? NOW WHAT?

M Stipe

What?

We are at the beginning of something huge.

It’s started already.

Can you feel it?

When you pay attention to what’s really going on around you it becomes painfully obvious that CHANGE is here. Not “things may CHANGE” or “now I’m not sure but I think things are going to CHANGE”.

It’s here.

Shouldn’t be all that surprising, things are always changing. Didn’t Gloria sing in the 80’s, “Things will never stay the same, the only one sure thing is change”?

So What?

This change feels a little different because our business – the record business – used to work perfectly, especially for the record companies.

If you were a band looking to break into the record business in the 60’s through the 00’s you didn’t have a lot of choices. You had to be picked by a record company. Commonly called “getting signed”. Since your band didn’t have a lot of choices, guess who had a lot of power –yep, the record companies.

Record companies had entire chains of stores devoted to the selling of their product. I know ‘cause I worked in almost all of them that we had in Miami. Stores in Malls the record companies didn’t own, didn’t have to pay the rent for, and didn’t have to pay the overhead for, all devoted to promoting what the record companies sold.

There was an entire section of the radio spectrum designed to help the record business sell their stuff.

Then there was not one but tons of magazines devoted, again, to promoting what the record companies were selling. And now that I think about it, all the other businesses had to pay to advertise on TV, the record business got it’s own channel.

It used to cost a lot of money to make a record. The record companies were the ones who paid all that money to record, market and distribute your record. It meant that the companies owned everything [almost].

Then there were best-seller lists. This worked out great for the record companies too. The Billboard Hot 100 [we studied it like our lives depended on it]. If you made it onto the Hot 100, you really made it.

Something really interesting happens when you make the best-seller list. People buy your music because other people are buying your music. It’s like the David Blaine magic trick where he levitates himself –It only works when you look at it from a certain angle.

But the most important thing about the record business was –they made the records.

The soundtrack of our lives.

Vol 4

The power in the grooves of what the record companies sold was what inspired us to create, to perform and to give our lives to the music.

So what? So, thank you record business for everything you’ve done for us as fans and as musicians and creators who aspire to grab even a piece of the enormity of what came before us.

Don’t feel sorry for the record business. They did great for a long time. We did great for a long time….

Now What?

Record companies are still here.

Now if you want to get picked for one of the really few slots that the record biz has made available, you better be really willing to compromise and settle for performing the proven, hit-driven, written by committee material that currently drives the major label machine, or what’s left of it. And the pressure is really on to sell otherwise you’re out the door and someone else gets the slot.

But, there is a new business here that may be even more perfect than the last one.

It’s definitely not the same business.

There are different skills and tactics necessary but there will be big winners and some who get stuck.

The new business of music is forming itself. It changes almost daily. You can be a part of it.

So, now what?

Paradigm Shift!

A fun to say, businessy buzz-word that simply means – A radical change in thinking from an accepted point of view to a new belief.

A paradigm is a system of rules and regulations that does two things: establishes boundaries and creates an internal problem solving system. So, a paradigm shift is changing from one set of rules to another.

The original idea comes from Thomas Kuhn in his book “The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions”

Think different to do different.

“In order to be irreplaceable – one must always be different” – Coco Chanel

It’s easy to say no to a new idea. New ideas are what cause the dreaded change. They create uncertainty.

It’s much easier to do it the way we’ve always done it before. Or do what we believe works even if we have no experience with it working or not.

The problem is the way we’ve done it before in the music business no longer exists.

The rules have changed. These new ideas that don’t match your preconceived expectations of what you think the business is are the exact ones you need to embrace.

Your old paradigm model is interfering with your ability to clearly see the possibilities.

We all have paradigms that influence the way we see the world. We all constantly select those concepts that fit our rules and try to reject the rest. What may be really obvious to a person with one paradigm may be completely invisible to someone with a different paradigm. Each person’s paradigm is filtering the world in a different way.

Your paradigm doesn’t want to change; it’s linked directly to your Dinosaur Brain. But, making this paradigm shift from old to new is critical if you want to “see” the new opportunities that are available to you.

The more you shift the paradigm, the more you can see a different future. It’s the difference between how Google makes money as opposed to how Top Shop makes money.

Rethink your basic assumptions. Have the courage to step outside your current paradigm and think differently. It’s uncomfortable, it’s not straightforward but there are huge results for those who can get ahead of the curve and re-imagine the future.

It’s all in how you look at it…

Paradigm Shift

“The paradigm is like a group of little monkeys in your head”