Knowing When To Adjust Your Marketing

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The music industry continues to be a great barometer for understanding when to adjust your Marketing initiatives. There’s no denying that the music industry was built on Marketing, and that there are plenty of lessons Marketers can pull from the current shifts it is experiencing.

This came through blaring like a Marshall stack the other day. While Steve Jobs was presenting his keynote at the MacWorld Conference where everything Apple is celebrated, EMI Music (one of the largest record labels in the world) had this news rolling off the press: EMI’s Hands To Cut Up To 2000 Jobs To Revive Profit, plus this: No More Multi-Million Advances From EMI and then this: Rolling Stones Move New Album From EMI.

What does Steve Jobs think about the music industry? He could not be happier about the growth it is experiencing. Here are the statistics he shared with the MacWorld crowd about iTunes and how the music industry has been to him:

– Since iTunes started over four billion songs have been sold to date.

– On Christmas day, alone, over twenty million songs were sold (their best one-day record to-date).

– Over 125 million TV shows have been purchased.

– Over seven million movies.

– There are over 125,000 Podcasts listed in the iTunes Podcast Directory.

In terms of expanding that thought, we already know that Apple surpassed 100 million iPods sold last April, making it the fastest selling music player in history. If you add the iPhone into the equation (and you should because the iPhone is as much a media player as it is a phone), Apple has sold over four million iPhones since it rolled out the device only two hundred days ago (that’s 20,000 iPhones sold per day).

The most telling line in that keynote from Steve Jobs was when he introduced the new rental component of films for iTunes. Jobs started off by saying: "music is one of our heritages now."

For some perspective, iTunes launched in 2001 but it was not until many versions later when the iTunes Store opened shop and started selling music.

Legacy and success can come fast and hard for some industries, and the shift in the tides can be equally challenging.

Seth Godin has some salient points on the Music Industry here: Seth Godin – Music Lessons.

If music is now part of Apple’s legacy, what will the legacy of the Music Industry be?

This all reminds me of that infamous quote from General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army (that I snipped from Tom Peters‘ book, Re-Imagine): "If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less."