Friday, December 12, 2008

The Music (insert Industry here) Manifesto

Manifestos rock!
The Cluetrain Manifesto, the social customer manifesto, the call centre customer manifesto.

Now we find the Music Industry Manifesto.

Music to my ears. I rarely repeat in full, but in this case...

The Manifesto

1. Music will always continue, but the parasitical 20th Century music industry is dead.

2. Music does not rely on technology or distribution. It simply requires people. It did not begin with vinyl, the CD, the electric guitar or the synthesizer.

3. If piracy is able to damage your ivory castles, you should seek to understand it and learn from it. Piracy is the most effective distribution.

4. You will never win the war on privacy, because the pirates have a belief, and you are protecting a business.

5. People will only pay for what they want to pay for. Get used to it.

6. Artists and fanatics run the show - if you are in neither camp you’re fucked.

7. DRM’s only function is to limit the spread of music and to irritate the very people you should be pleasing - your audience.

8. I’ve paid for the tape, the vinyl, the CD and the MP3 - if I ever pay again, I’ll pay for the rights to the content in whatever format is appropriate for the rest of my lifetime, not for something limited to one format.

9. Let’s face it..artists can make more money if middle-men are not involved

10. Look - we all know you’re pissed about you’re expense bill no longer being approved but please stop taking it out on the rest of us

11. The people of the world want to share what they love. If you stand in the way there is only one outcome. Rebellion

12. People embrace what they create. We all want to take part. It’s no longer your industry, its ours. Sure that hurts…

13. Just become a concert promoter. Live music will never end. Rip-off, insular and selfish business models already have. Sorry

14. People will pay for what they want to. If you create something of value to people, people will pay for it

15. People will not longer automatically pay for something that YOU think is valuable

16. Resistance is futile. However powerful your connections are, the people of the world will find a way around it

17. Every time you sue, you nail an even heavier nail in your OWN coffin. Think about it…

18. The people of the world love music as much as they always have - not less - its just they have seen behind the curtain now

19. Artists love fans and will get paid by them for products and services the fans adore. Get out the way and let it happen

20. Copyright is a byproduct of the business model for content creation and distribution. It’s not the reason for content creation

21. The case studies of artists making more money from not using your regime will never stop - only increase. Listen up

22. It makes no difference how connected you are to the government. Artists and fans out-number you and always will

23. All the time you spend wining about protecting music you could spend working out ways to help the new world mature

24. If you really wanna get rich, concentrate on facilitating fanatical advocacy. There is no ceiling of value to that

25. People can only truly be of financial benefit to you if they are free. Confined humans have no long-term monetary benefit

It is very cluetrain - and all the better for that.

I'm fond of saying that where-ever the network touches it disrupts (that's central to my book The Power of the Network). Music is just one of the places it has touched and is wreaking havoc.

Of course, you can remove the music industry references in The Music Industry Manifesto and insert Industry X, or any-form-of-centralised-organisation-from-education-to-government Y instead.

The same rules of disruption will apply. The same human-centric models will emerge to dominate.

Which remains the point of the Cluetrain 10 years on.

If you still haven't read it, get a clue.

Bonus question: Who is this masked manifesto writer? I have my suspicions, But there's no contacts or name attached. We think we should be told. If you're into hiding lights under bushels, by all means email me. But if I were you I'd be shouting it loud and proud.


  1. Amen to #13 "Just become a concert promoter." I bought a concert promotions ebook and started my own business from almost nothing. I am having the time of my life in the music business.

  2. re: who wrote, i too have my suspicions.
    i buy most of this, though i think its more complicated. theres still a role for record labels - particularly as curators of the back catalogue.
    for instance souljazz records have definitely benefited jamacian artists from the 70s with their re-issue programme. these recordings would still be gathering dust on some abandoned studio floor, but souljazz brought them back into play.


The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?