“Compare how a mainstream label and an independent label are each targeting music audiences, in light of the current problems faced by the music industry.”
There are a number of problems facing the music industry. A primary one of which was the introduction of convergence technology, which while improving the audience experience also took a lot of control away from the record labels and changed the way audiences will both consume and distribute their music forever. Mainstream and Independent labels are dealing with these problems very differently. For example, mainstream labels like Sony, Warner and Universal (Big 3) are very discouraging and against the idea of convergence technology because it provides their audiences with more control over their music in of consuming, sharing and redistributing. As Marrakesh’s survey findings from 2009 claim, most audiences access their music through illegitimate means so that it they can get it free. Making it apparent that most people don’t want to pay for their music and even prefer to have it in mp3 format over owning physical copies. Independent labels however, like Soul Jazz and Heavenly Recordings, are quite open to the idea and even support it. These labels allow their audiences to listen to their music on their site completely free.
This difference in views affects the audience experience in a wide variety of ways. For example, audiences enjoy sharing and redistributing their music via social medias. Convergence technology like smartphones, tablets, etc are what makes this possible and audiences into prosumers as they can both play and make music with just taps of the finger. These are not heavily supported by the Big 3 because they like to control the distribution of their music, as made apparent by the 80% of control they hold over the music industry. They are however supported by the more Independent labels because they allow their audiences to listen to their music through their site completely free. They do also however offer purchases in multiple formats such as CD, Vinyl and Mp3. Audience experiences benefit greatly from allowing this which is why the independent labels are all for it.
In conclusion, the Big 3 and more Independent labels have a very different audience due to the ways in which each of them approach prosumer and convergence technology. The Big 3 with their 80% of control over the industry are nearing completely against audience sharing and redistribution. Whereas Independent labels see it as a form of marketing and encourage prosumer activity amongst their audiences. In terms of audience experience, the Big 3 use third party applications and companies like Spotify and iTunes to distribute their music. On their websites you can view portions songs, however, if you wish to purchase them, you must also go through a third party. On the Independent sites such as Souljazz Records and Heavenly Recordings, you can view full songs on their website without the need for a third party. They also provide their audiences to purchase straight through their site on both physical copies such as CD, Vinyl and some even on Cassette and Digital formats like Mp3. The Big 3 are set on business and control, whilst Independent records have their minds set on the experience.