Digital Summit Highlights: Retail

One of the more interesting panel discussions of the Leadership Music Digital Summit yesterday was “Digital Retail: What’s The Future?”

On the issue of the future of CD product, UMG Nashville EVP Sales, Marketing & New Media Ben Kline said, “I can’t imagine CD’s ever going away.  I can’t imagine Wal-Mart and Target not selling hard product.  It’s the ones (retailers) in the middle that will be hurt.  I don’t think you’ll be able to walk into a mall and purchase a CD.”  Kline went on to comment, “We still can’t afford to be in the singles business” when asked about the current state of selling digital singles and why labels are not being more singles driven.

One of the major discussions prevailing was how to grow digital sales as CD sales fall.  Each panelist had their own ideas including:

  • Better devices
  • Ubiquitousness
  • Multiple product offerings in one bundle
  • Player compatibility and coordination between platforms
  • Exceed experience of music ownership with consumers
  • Stop narrow focusing on subscription based models

On the subject of future business models within retail, the industry vets responded with:

  • Ben Kline:  “Demand price models (where price is equal to the demand of the music).  Not every song should be .99 cents.”
  • EMI CMG VP Sales & Marketing Mark Adkinson added, “Steve Jobs can’t run our business for us or he will run it right into the ground.  He wants to sell devices, not music.”  Mark also stressed the need for pervasive distribution within the music industry.


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