I remember attending a presentation by an ex record company executive a while back. Two things struck me, one was that he made perfect sense (probably because what he said agreed with my personal view on the music industry), the other was that record companies with highly paid directors could not see the future and instead were spending all their time and energy trying to keep things the way they were. Those that embraced the new direction would be way ahead of the pack.
This particular guy (I can’t remember who he is) said that you can’t fight piracy. The future is in adding value so that people are still prepared to pay. Apple added value with iTunes by making it super easy to find and download what you want cheaply. Why go hunting for illegal music when you have what you want right there? There are a bunch of other ways to add value as well, eg. help people find music that suits their taste, provide information about the bands, etc.
Anyway, I don’t want to go into great depth, but I’m very excited about this new development in the music industry. It does what I believe needs to be done, connecting the listener to the artist directly. No middle men, no royalties and what not.
The artists need consistent support, and the users want access to their music and new music when it becomes available. Users are prepared to pay, but not a lot. Airborne puts that all together. I think this is a game changer.
UPDATE (April 2015): Airborne did not survive, it closed down in October 2013. However I see that this year a startup called SupaPass launched in Europe which is exactly the same model. Let’s see if they can make it happen…