What's New....

It's been quite some time since the last entry. And since then I've been on somewhat of an observation deck hovering over New Sigma Media for a better view into what's next. There are a few things I've discovered during this observation and not one of those things were anything extraordinary. They were quite simple as a matter of fact. It occurred to me that simple steps are far more profound than giant leaps.

For that reason we've decided to refrain from the blah, blah blogging and such to streamline our processes and business operations. The journey from where we've been to where we're going will be interesting. I'll be sure to share every step of the way. The aim is to stay new, stable and well learned. Let's get there.

 

Talk soon.

Nerissa Kelly, Founder.

Let's Go Back: New Media Gets Old (pt.1)

As I sifted through CD’s looking for some good oldies to transfer to new media devices, decades of music passed with each sift.  Twenty years ago those CD’s would’ve been tapes. And just like tapes, vinyl and the 8-track the compact disc will be discussed in past tense too. When it does pass it will have seemed to come and go quickly. Why, the CD hasn’t been around for very long.

I can remember the shift from tapes to CD as a form of new media. It isn’t anymore.  Then it was the MP3. It isn’t anymore. Streaming is in now, as well as cloud based music services, that is, until it isn’t anymore. New media is forever shape shifting and when it does everything in relationship to it follows suit. And shortly after everyone’s on board it shifts again. But you know what? That’s phenomenal.

Here’s why: New media becoming old media means our culture is passing with good grades just like those great tunes I sifted through. Those tunes are just as great today as they were when released. That’s why I still own them. The medium in which the tunes were delivered has only shifted from one phase to another. They’ll never be forgotten. In fact, moving content to a more modernized platform simply reflects an update in our environment. We’re getting smarter.

Take our early primary learning environment for example. Do you remember grammar school? Did you retain what you learned such as the alphabet and numbers? Sure you did. They’ll never be forgotten. When our environment advanced to middle school and later high school so did our knowledge of what we originally learned, didn’t it? Not until later did we come to understand the meaning or history behind the letters we were sounding out and using in sentences. “For example the letter B derives from the Egyptian character for the word house”. (1) In earlier years that wasn’t necessary to know. Still isn't necessary to know but serves as an update in your thinking. Think about numbers, only the recognition and the ability to add them were important to know at the time. Who knew we’d learn later numbers were natural, whole, integers, rational and irrational? (2)

If we look closer there are parallels between our earlier years or primary environment and new media environment. Our environment is advancing not only the mediums of communication but also the technical abilities of the communicator. Some don’t take well to these new mediums because of the technical know-how sometimes required and the mere fact the shifts are swift. Before we can get a good handle on one, there’s a new one, or a new way. But once you learned to write an email it was never forgotten.  Shifts in new media have imposed a technical-will on our environment.

And there isn’t a choice.  Let’s go back to the basics. Grammar school didn’t offer a choice of courses to choose from. Grade school core subjects were non-negotiable. Back then it was more important for us to learn and less about what we learned. Not until later did we come to realize what it was we were actually learning. If we revert back to this way of thinking we’d be back in the habit of giving our selves no choice but to learn.  Surely, the building blocks of understanding follow.

It comes as no surprise how we can become overwhelmed, hyper stimulated and at times intimidated. How can one new media platform affect monetization versus the other? Moreover, how can we possibly come to understand the many faces of new media with its rapid shifts?  Is it necessary to know every advanced new coding language or every new media platform existent? No. Let’s go back to a simple cultural historic fact that is-we learn. The application of learning in the first place is what got us here. Let’s go back there.

 

Best regards,

Nerissa Kelly, Founder

 


Notes 

1.

Oppenheim, David S. Kidder Noah. Intellectual Devotional . New York, New York : Rodale , 2006.

 2.

Oppenheim, David S. Kidder Noah. Intellectual Devotional . New York, New York : Rodale , 2006.

 

2012: Year of the Music Industry Apocalypse?

I attended Midem one of the music industry's biggest trade shows for the first time last month. As representative of a new media company I was pleased to see so many tech driven individuals and companies. On the other hand as an artist I felt like what neo-soul singer Erykah Badu coined an "analog girl in a digital world."

Veterans of the music industry who've been in the business more than 20 years
shared their Midem stories with me praising the old days when Midem was more artist-oriented. One record label owner said, "I could remember when Midem was much larger than this, every stand showcased music, it was a great feeling and now it's more compacted, and everyone's on their computers, not listening to music.".

What that music biz veteran recalled is what I hoped to experience as an artist. However as a New Media exec I knew better. American pioneer tech companies and geniuses in Silicone Valley beat the music industry to the punch with one word--Itunes.

Apple's 'Itunes' dominated the music industry not as a music company but as a tech giant instantly. And the music industry has been trying to catch up ever since. Remember Napster? How about Limewire?
The generation of the Occupy Movement interests lie in what's known as peer to peer accomodation and colloborative consumption. Transaction based economies and those where capitalists triple their capital reserves are being forced into a sharing based one. And it's been proven to be costly not to get on board.

Record labels are experiencing it first hand. I won't embarass any of my colleagues and affiliates with revenue sales to prove a point. It isn't necessary because all one has to do is google 'music industry decline' especially if you are one of the top four record labels, Warner, EMI, Universal, or Sony the word is out. There's no question why the "Indies" are continuing to gain ground and are making such an impact majors are scouting them.

Back to Midem. You'd go to a stand looking for one label and see a list of them under one company. Majors are buying up the Indies. This year we'll see more mergers and acquisitions. Record labels have been going under consecutively since the music-tech revolution began.  Sharing is caring but downright brutal for record companies and SOPA/PIPA supporters. And this isn't the old days where the 1% where left alone to their wealth. Consumers who'd much rather be called people are taking matters into their own hands by sharing content and streaming instead of buying CDs.

How will record labels off set cost then? No, in addition to slashing more jobs. Have you guessed yet? Yes, 2012 is rumored to be the death of the compact disc and Mp3. Thanks to Spotify who linked with Facebook to allow music lovers to stream music, who has time for downloading an MP3? Spotify may very well be Itunes rival and Itunes may soon move to streaming music in order to retain their competitive advantage.

Wait.. since I've been writing there hasn't been one word mentioned about the artist of the music being downloaded or streamed. This is exactly what my experience was like at Midem. There was more interest in licensing music and innovations to exploit artists' content than in those artists who make the music we love.

Artists hold the real power, not technology, record labels, or even media companies. An artist has the power to change the world and their voices are just as important as any business or tech professional looking to exploit it. The internet is wide open (at least right now) which has given artists the opportunity to share art without geographical restrictions. This is both good and bad. I just told you the good part. The bad part is now anyone can make a song and post it on youtube. The result is a saturated mixed pool of talented artists and wannebe stars. If everyone's a star, who's the audience?

Thembisa Mshaka's book "Put your Dreams First: Handle Your Entertainment Business" noted it very well. There are plenty of celebrities but very few stars. And in today's apocalyptic music business it's going to take more than false personalities and youtube uploads to succeed in this industry. You'll need a team of dedicated people who believe in you and what you're doing. A little practicality doesn't hurt either. It'll be absolutely necessary to Get Real and get experts involved. In 2012, regardless of what looks like dim hope the world will be waiting for well... You.