Has Digital Killed the CD Star?

One of many piles of CDs by my desk. Will these become archaeological relics?

Two weeks ago Toronto was THE HUB for musical activity. Every year, Canadian Music Week brings together industry people from across Canada and around the world to talk business and make music.  I had the privilege of attending both as a singer/songwriter and as the Songwriters Association of Canada resident blogger.  Much of the discussion centred around the changing habits of music consumers and the tools and strategies necessary for artists to evolve and survive.  I will spend the next few weeks sharing bits and pieces of what I learned.  Feel free to add to what is shared below.

I don’t think there were any conversations that did not include the word “digital.”  For the past few years, many have lauded the digital age first brought to the forefront by Napster, as the cause of the demise of the industry.  The statistics presented by Mark Mulligan of Forrester Research support the fact that CDs are no longer part of the experience of up and coming generations.  While those who are 25+ continue to buy CDs and listen to radio, 16-24 years (described as the Transitional Generation) have grown up on iTunes and BitTorrent.  Meanwhile, the youngest consumers have never had an analogue or CD experience.  Described as “Digital Natives,” this generation has grown up on mobile and YouTube consumption.

Mulligan pointed out that too much marketing has been aimed at the transitional generation, while consumer demand is rapidly moving on.  Rather than buying music and listening to it, the experience of music is now more important than the physical product.  People want to watch, share, connect and experience.  The implications of these changing habits is huge, and the challenge for artists (including songwriters like myself) is to re-strategize how we approach sharing and building a viable business plan based on new trends.

Mulligan wrapped things up with the following acronym, which will hopefully SPARK your creativity as you plan the next steps of your creative career.

S = Social
P=  Participative
A= Accesible
R= Relevant
C = Connective

Stay tuned for further highlights.