sustainability vs Dead Man’s Gulch

Where we’re trying to get to with the internet music business is projects with long-term futures.

  • The labels are still making a living selling CDs, but that business is dwindling fast.
  • The internet businesses that are licensing streaming rights are spending out the clock and hoping to cheat death.
  • The pay-per-download stores can hang in there for a long time because they have low fixed costs, but eventually their owners will move their capital into businesses with competitive return on investment.
  • The filesharing companies are waiting for a legal death blow.
  • MP3 bloggers who get big enough to make a living take on real legal risk and enter Dead Man’s Gulch. Those who stay small work for free and eventually quit of exhaustion.
  • Services and metadata businesses like Gracenote can keep going indefinitely, but can’t get that big.
  • And musicians… The music scene’s crazy. Bands start up each and every day. There’s one born every minute. But you CAN make music in a sustainable way if you get the balance right.

The goal is sustainability. Are you doing something that will last?