EMI have announced the launch of Abbey Road Live, a service that records high quality audio and video footage of live concerts and produces take away CDs, DVDs and USB sticks for concert goers.  Though this may not be as big a headline grabbing story as MSN Music’s attempt to take on Spotify, it is illustrative of an arguably much more important trend. 


Forrester clients and other regular readers of this blog will know that we’ve spent much of this year developing our big idea about Media Meltdown and the associated series of research documents.  (For those not up to speed see this blog post and this report and this report.)  The overly boiled down summary is that traditional media companies are having to reinvent themselves as consumers’ willingness to pay for content nosedives.  Hence 360 deals etc.


But why I like this EMI announcement is that it isn’t just about revenue diversification, it’s about recognizing which of its assets consumers still attach core value to an building around that.  For the music industry, live is one are where consumers still clearly attach a massive amount of value: a ticket for a U2 gig for example can work out more than ten times more expensive per minute than buying the entire back catalogue on CD.  


So in the context of the Media Meltdown, where online availability of content has washed away true scarcity for good, media companies need to coalesce around where consumers retain value (see chart below).


The reason that these events have value is because they are unique – their value comes from the personal experience in the here and now. The EMI Abbey Road Live venture explicitly builds upon this theme by giving consumers the ability to extend that unique experience into their homes and MP3 players.  


Rebuilding the media industries won’t exactly be an easy task, but what is clear is that there are vital assets that can form the basis of new, important revenue streams.  It is not so much a case of media businesses dying as of media companies building new media businesses around their core media assets.


This is a topic I’ll be talking about in much more length at Forrester’s forthcoming EMEA Marketing Forum in London.


I’ll be presenting on the 17th November at 2.00pm on the following topic:

The Digital Transition Of Media: How Media Will Never Be The Same Again

I hope too see you there.