What’s Ahead For 2011? Bruce Warila: The ‘Add Music’ Button Will Change Everything.
As we end the year, Hypebot asked some our favorite thinkers, writers, and friends to answer two questions - one looking forward and the other back. Here Bruce Warila, co-founder of Music Think Tank and VP of Product for Emergent Discovery, answers.
Hypebot: What do you see as the most important business and consumer trends that will shape the music industry in 2011?
Bruce Warila: Sometime in 2011, we should see the 'add music' button adjacent to songs and videos on sites around the web.
Google will have a huge advantage over other competing providers of stream-collection (bookmarking) services, as Google could seamlessly enable rightsholders to connect the 'add music' button to YouTube videos or to any MP3 on the Internet. Search results featuring songs connected to the 'add music' button will also make it dead simple for fans to add songs to their music libraries.
I would expect this service to be offered as a free radio-like service, as a brand-supported on-demand service (innovative royalty structure/system needed), and as a flexible service that offers a paid, ad-free alternative. Disclaimer: I don't have any knowledge as to what Google is actually planning.
Implementation and mutual licensing should be almost as simple as installing the Yahoo Media Player (serious click-through legal agreements not withstanding) into any crawlable site or page; while giving rightsholders the nerd option of programmatically managing presentation and price/ royalty options through the parameters that are concatenated (chained) to their 'add music' URLs.
When (if) it becomes real, the 'add-music' service eventually changes everything: It makes the collecting of MP3s seem unwieldy. It makes file sharing seem so oldsmobile. It displaces today's music widgets. It opens up a world of possibilities for discovery and recommendation. And, it makes the notion of a distribution middleman a thing of the past.
If opt-in / opt-out takes less than ten minutes and if notification/takedown works as it should (no laughing), this service should be a no-brainer for rightsholders. Google and other potential providers shouldn't wait for (big label) permission to launch. Let the rest of us start tomorrow.
Hypebot: Since this is ultimately all about music, what were your top musical moment(s) of 2010?
Bruce Warila: Several months ago, I stopped into the Bitter End while traveling to New York City to see a young band that some (producer) friends have been working with over the last year or so. The Sun Parade is brand new - no album, no internet presence to speak of (yet), no tour, the band is still forming, etc.
The songs and sound (somewhere between Arcade Fire and The Temper Trap) were nearly excellent. This show reminded me that there's no substitution for the combination of youth and experience! When you mix industry veterans (producers, songwriters, business people) with a passionate, skilled and ambitious group of kids, you can chop years off of a band's learning curve.
I am grateful that my friends and others in the industry somehow manage to set financial worries aside to continue to pursue their passion for working with new talent to make great music; without you, this world would be a duller place.
Thanks for the motivation and the inspiration.
Bruce Warila has been instrumental in launching industry sites such as Music Think Tank and Music Xray; he is currently VP of Product for Emergent Discovery. You can find Bruce at EchoLouder, or on Twitter @brucewarila.