What Businesses Can Learn From The Music Industry

“We need to rethink our strategy of hoping the Internet will just go away.” – said, most executives you know.

We live in a time of digital Darwinism, which I define as the evolution of technology and society as it impacts behavior, expectations and customs. With every new device, network, service, platform, et al., behaviors, expectations and even values shift. At some point, your roadmap compared to these shifts is either in alignment or its off course with evolution.

As part of my ongoing research, I document how this plays out in a series of visuals I call “The Wheel of Disruption.” It’s now not a matter of if your world will be affected, it’s when. Each of us has a disruption event on the horizon. The question we all have to ask and answer is on which side of evolution we want to end up?

“Investor concern over the threat of new technologies is overstated.” —Blockbuster analyst report, 1999 

We live in disruptive times. But, if we wait for management to tell us what to do, we’ll find ourselves on the wrong side of innovation.

Unfortunately, change is difficult and as a result, innovation or transformation are often the least popular responses to disruption or the threat of it. The lack of a sense of urgency is consistently cited as among the top reasons why change is minimized.  Not doing anything though isn’t an option. While change is usually on the corporate agenda, to what extent, why and to whose benefit are variables. Leadership is dependent on how executives see the world and appreciate people in who they’re becoming and their differences from the customers and employees before them.

We each have a role to play in how we identify and make the case for new opportunities. Change starts with us.

The good news is that we have case after case, study after study, that show exactly where executives get it wrong and what we can do about it. In fact, there’s something we can all learn from the music industry.  The music industry’s reaction, or lack thereof, to technology and market innovation and disruption serves as a harbinger for every industry. Studying this and executing successfully might have changed the destiny of Borders, Kodak, Blockbuster, et al.

Now with the reality of yet another cycle of “creative destruction,” following a path ofbusiness as usual seals our fate in digital Darwinism. Successful businesses are taking appropriate action by investing in digital transformation to not only react to change but thrive as in its persistence.

To help, I’ve spent time analyzing the last several years to find clarity in its state and potential future. I’ve assembled all of this work into a new paper that’s now available on Slideshare or as a PDF.

As the invariable Steve Jobs once ironically stated, “Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”

I hope it can be of service to you…

Download it on Slideshare.