Monday, 29 June 2009

What might have been - King of Online

It’s been quite some time since we wrote a post on here, so hoping we haven’t lost our entire readership in the last two months! We’re still here though, we’ve just been busy, so there’s plenty to follow in the coming weeks.

Really sad news last weekend that Michael Jackson died. Like the rest of the world, we’re all big fans here at Mippin, paying our respects in our own inimitable way by attempting a moonwalk around the office. There are obviously lots of theories about what might have contributed to his death, though this in itself isn’t unusual when it comes to Michael Jackson. Still, it’s interesting to think how Michael would have faired now that the music industry has changed so much, requiring most artists to make money from live shows and other businesses instead of from the sale of their music. Michael himself was actually extremely adept at managing copyright, successfully owning much of the Beatles catalogue, so he knew he could potentially earn a fortune from a long residency with the right partner. Sadly it appears as though his personal circumstances required he do this in spite of his health. However if things had been different he couldn’t have chosen a better venue than The O2, a venue synonymous with mobile sponsorship and music merchandising, to help recover his fortune.

With Michael planning on creating new work in an era of social networks and mobile internet, the opportunities a purpose built music venue like The O2 could have offered would have been hugely lucrative, all in addition to the main business of ticket and merchandising sales. As with previous big name shows, Michael Jackson’s would probably have been carefully curated to take full advantage of digital, as well as real world merchandising. In terms of digital there might have been mobile handset & contract launches, content licensing deals for web 2.0 and mobile music services, endless assortments of interactive co-promotional opportunities with major social networks, as well as more traditional digital content sales: video, ringtones, wallpapers etc. With such a long residency, the marketing teams could really have perfected the opportunities, giving Michael the potential to go on earning from the shows long after they’d run their course. Unfortunately, perhaps the downside was that with so many more businesses dependent on the shows success - and profits at stake - it may have added additional pressure to an artist already stressed about a 50 night performance schedule.

The next few weeks will see lots of revelations about Michaels private life made public. Through it all, it shouldn’t be forgotten that to sell 750,000 tickets for his come back tour was an incredible feat. But even more, a host of massive licensing and distribution deals would have been a phenomenal turnaround too and may have shown what he was really capable of. Entering the digital world with a new body of work would have been a foot-tappingly brilllant experience to watch as a consumer of digital music and web services. Sadly, though it’s hard to imagine Michael signing up to more shows than he could perform, perhaps it's possible that planning for these additional revenue opportunities did have an additional, detrimental impact – I cannot say. One thing does seem certain however: had his digital plans been as big as the glory of a sold out stadium residency, then he would have been King of Online too.


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