I remember so clearly back in the day when the internet was just starting to beat its chest and threaten the very existence of trade magazines and newspapers. In those early days many of my cohorts and competitors were scratching their heads, worrying and wondering what to do and how to proceed with this new costly technology. I would have conversations with Tommy Noonan, VP of Billboard, and Robert Dowling, publisher of the Hollywood Reporter and we would kick around our ideas on the subject. Eventually my partner Eric and I decided to publish our magazine online for free and continue to sell subscriptions to the print edition. Plus, at the time, Music Connection was in a rosy position because we had distribution in every Guitar Center in the country! It paid for advertisers to buy ads in our paper edition because at that time there were fewer online readers and so many more print readers.

Jump ahead 30-years and that model has completely flipped. There are far more online readers and far fewer print readers. And almost every major magazine and newspaper has a paywall for the digital version. You’re teased to read an interesting article, then told to subscribe if you want to read the rest of it. Kinda like back in the 80’s when your dealer gave you a taste for free, then when he saw you had a desire for more he charged you up the nose…literally!

The lesson I pulled out of this experience was: quality dictates value and desire dictates distribution. If your art, music, product, or service has value people will buy it. However, if it’s addicting, people will sign on and pay for it ad infinitum.

Important because figure out a way to make what you offer, addicting.

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