Monday, September 29, 2008

QVC Music Comes Out of the Closet

Recently, QVC has been ramping up their music offerings--everything from Alabama, to the Goo-Goo Dolls (who would have ever thought they would be on the Q!!!), to Clay Aiken (aren't you glad he finally came out? it was loooooooooong overdue).

Yes, I know, QVC was doing music years ago--they even tried to launch their own record label--but that was a totally different animal. It was like those late-night infomercials with Dick Clark and some Time-Life collection of Great Love Songs of the Fifties. Not exactly cutting edge!

The music industry has been changing rapidly, and mostly for the better. A handful of labels, corporate-owned radio stations, and MTV/VH1 shoved whatever slop they wanted to make down everyone’s throats for years. What choice did we have? Sure, there was a bit of an indie market (i.e. college radio), but not enough to change the musical landscape much.

Then came the ability to download music from the Internet, iPods, social networking sites like MySpace, satellite radio … and all of a sudden a whole new universe of music opens up. Like going from black-and-white TV to color, the difference is startling.

Instead of adjusting their business model, most of “the suits” railed against these changes every step of the way—suing college kids for sharing music, as if they were the ones responsible for the changing tide.

Today, musicians no longer need a traditional record deal, but what they do need is promotion in order to break through. Promotion costs money.

QVC, and other home shopping channels, find themselves in a unique position. They can provide a platform for musicians to be heard by millions of people. Not only will they sell units while on the air, they are essentially getting an hour-long commercial on basic cable.

If the Q plays their cards right, I think that they could become a major force in the music industry.

Right now, they are only selling CDs because they think that there is a void in the selling of the physical product. Maybe. But they need to be looking forward, not back. Think about the instant gratification of hearing an artist playing on QVC and then immediately downloading the album from their website.

But why would you go to the Q’s website and not iTunes or some other place? Maybe it’s a better price or you get an extra song or two or maybe they have it before anyone else does.

Because of their platform, QVC could showcase unsigned or little-known talent. They could have an hour of fresh new artists. Of course, some would catch on and do well and others would not, but that’s what would make it interesting.

Home shopping channels love to find and sell the latest and greatest from inventive entrepreneurs. They just need to apply their own model of promoting “new discoveries” to the music industry.

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