MUBUTV: Insider Video Series | Season 1 Episode #10 Music Sociologist Kyle Bylin Pt. 2


Ritch: �Kyle, do you think that the recording
industry in its struggle to preserve the value in the music via physical media has prevented
new value from being created? Kyle: It’s a tricky scenario right? �Sort of like innovators dilemma. You have these products that you’ve spent
years investing into the market for and there is sort of this mentality we’ve created that
these products, the CDs, this is means through which we’ve made our music available to fans
and you ought to want this. Kyle: Similarly when we put their digital
downloads into the market its were we made these products, they�re available as downloads,
this is what we’ve created for you, this is how we determined that you should consume
it and anything outside those boundaries is piracy. �Then there goes the step beyond that, it
says, we have now made this available streaming music, it’s ten dollars a month. You ought to want this, it has unlimited access
to all the music you can want. Kyle: But what�s funny about this progression
of these business models is that they’re almost too late, like we’re sitting in 2012 and just
this past year the first freemium music subscription service came to the US which is Spotify. The prescription music model has been around
since the early 2000’s with rhapsody, where for only ten dollars a month you can gain
access to the music. They gave like a seven day trial. But when you think of actually aligning sort
of the business model with the consumer behavior that�s in the market that free tere should
have been there three to four years ago if not more. Kyle: And it’s alright and it’s understandable
that we’re trying to protect revenue streams and that by cannibalizing this value too much,
they risk putting themselves out of business. But sort of approaching that distinctions
to the market you ought to want this. �You�re not really operating like a startup
any more, you�re operating like a accompany that thinks they know what other people ought
to want. Kyle: �If you’re a startup, which is the
model you look at bands today, you are making a product for an audience and if they don’t
want that product than you have failed as a startup much like any other startup and
there is no reason to dictate terms to your audience because you should be playing the
role of a startup and researching your audience and creating valuable meaningful products
that they want to consume not that they ought to consume. Rich: One of the things that I want to ask
you about because you’ve written extensively about this as well is how you feel the increase
that music culture demands from artists has affected the artist fan relationship? Because that’s something new. Kyle: The artist fan relationship has certainly
evolved a very rapid clip, especially since when I was growing up. When I was younger I was a very huge Linkin
Park fan, and you see them on MTV, you hear their songs on the radio and there really
is this notion that Linkin Park exist in the cloud somewhere, that they’re not real people
and that you as a fan have no possible connection to them other than the concert, other than
the sort of venues that are available and your level of mystery below that would have
been the early days of fan mail right? �Where you would send fan mail and messages
off to the address to nowhere with under no certain terms did you ever believe the Rolling
Stones would reach your mail. Kyle: But now with the evolution of Myspace
culture and the ability to gain more insight access to artists, the expectations that fans
have of artists have definitely shifted and there’s a certain new distinction that fans
see is that if I send a message to you I expect a connection back. �If I want a closer relationship with you
there should be tools and or means for me to establish that connection and in the age
of the Internet where bands are increasingly relying on their relationships with fans to,
you find and drive their careers it creates this very interesting dynamic where you wanna
keep the audience at a certain distance and maintain a certain degree about that mysterious
presence. Kyle: But at the same time in this age of
�Wikipedia where within one click the fan already knows everything that they could ever
want to know about your career and everything you’ve done, everything about you. You use to have to connect those dots via
Rolling Stone articles and album notes and little words on the radio, and you sort of
gain this ecosystem of ideas about what an artist was and be very creative in how you
thought that they were, and who you want them to be by in this age, where you sort of see
them as real people and have this abundance of information about them, you actually start
gaining a sense of who they really are and have less room to create to fill in the dots
yourself. Ritch: Kyle, you’ve talked a lot about effort
as it relates to value and I was wondering if we can get your feelings on it, it’s a
very interesting concept especially in the area that we live in today. Kyle: Totally so, I read a book called �The
Upside of Irrationality� by Dan O� Rally and in the book he talks about how effort
impacts value. That the amount effort we put into something
heightens our senses of value of how much we value that product. �For instance when you build a bookshelf
from Ikea, the active building that bookshelf and putting the time to build it, it causes
this relationship reform, this heightened senses of value,where you actually might value
that bookshelf at a higher value than one you just bought completed at the store and
as I sort of read that I sort of realize that in the age of music subscription services
there is this challenge this, how do you balance effortlessness and investment? Kyle: �On one hand you want to make a really
easy for a fan when they walk into your subscription service to allow them to say I�m already
a fan of Adele, Lady Gaga, and Pink, let me add those artist directly from my collection
as quickly as possible and don’t make me put in the work. I don’t have to search every artist and gradually
add them. Kyle: �On the other side that you don’t
want to ask so much of them so they don�t get turned away. But what you find if you think about a music
collection in those terms especially in the early days of prescription music if you put
�a fan in front of this collage of artists and said just click on these titles and they’ll
be automatically added to your collection. The threshold that you’re asking from them
is very low. When this hopeful end result is that overtime
they will gradually add albums to their collection and gradually grow this attachment to them
where the cost of paying ten dollars a month is actually lower than the cost of losing
those albums, feeling like you’re gonna lose them. It’s almost like when you get a couch from
rent-a-center you bring it home with the intentions and I’m only going to use it for Super Bowl
Sunday and then I’m gonna take it back. But you have this couch you’re sitting in
it, you’re enjoying it and over time you start to take ownership of this couch and the emotional
connection, the bond you have with it becomes stronger then the cost of keeping it and the
sense of losing it is much stronger than the money taped to buy it. Ritch: Thank you so much for doing this, I
really appreciate it very much. Kyle: �Not a problem.