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DIY and Indies now operate in an evolving marketplace that is making everybody’s heads spin. Nobody knows where the business is going, and they certainly do not know how. Still, there is revenue to be made, and competition is fierce for controlling interest in market share.
So how can DIY’s and Indies function when their pockets aren’t so deep? Why, entrepreneurial innovation is the key. DIY’s and Indies can be the very definition of a start-up entrepreneur.
It is a fact: Every growth market must and will mature. The music business is no different. At this time, music lovers’ needs have not really changed in many years. Their needs have been ignored, but that’s another story for another time. To reduce competition, The Bigs are consolidating between themselves and rolling up as many small competitors as they can. Market share percentages have been solid year over year among principal players; and they want more. So pricing, branding, and distribution strategies drive their values.
One thing is clear: where there is a mature market there is a basis for opportunity because the majority of businesses both small and large are content to keep working within an existing system. It’s much easier. Nobody has to think. Decisions to be made are within well-defined industry parameters. If it doesn’t work out, hey, they can blame the big bad system for the failure. Ego saved. Payouts can be huge and worth defending; however, what little innovation The Bigs do bring tops out at much lower dollar levels than ever before. It’s a spiral-down life they are leading now and they don’t know why.
The same thing is happening to them that happens to all industries. Yes, the music business is resting upon its laurels, not realizing those laurels have faded and are falling apart. What’s a DIY and Indie to do in a mature market? The same as other industries, namely:
- Find a profitable niche and work the heck out of it.
- Innovate within sub-markets and create your own space.
- Know why you are different from your competitors.
- Ram that differentiation home often.
- Question why you do anything and confirm it works for your niche.
- Don’t compete with your biggest competitor in their space.
The big take-away here is this: If you’re paying attention, you know the music business is undergoing radical change but that isn’t coming from The Bigs. It’s being driven from The Littles, the do-it-yourselfers, the indies, who are saying “Enough!”