Copyright in Reverse? How Will THAT Change Marketing?

Interesting story about the success of Guitar Hero, and the music included in Guitar Hero

The use of a sound recording in a video game is not subject to any sort of statutory royalty – the game maker must receive a license negotiated with the copyright holder of the recording – usually the record company. In previous editions of the game, Guitar Hero has paid for music rights. However, now that the game has proved its value in promoting the sale of music, the head of Activision, the company that owns the game, has suggested in a Wall Street Journal interview that it should be the record companies that are paying him to include the music in the game – and no doubt many artists would gladly do so for the promotional value they realize from the game.

A while ago I mentioned something along the lines of "the information you sell today, you might be willing to pay people to consume in a couple years." In some markets there is a lot of strategic value in asymmetrical information distribution, but...

  • the decline of copyright
  • the ease of local substitution
  • the near infinite level of competition online

make keeping secrets hard, and make selling information a difficult practice unless you...

  • keep adding to what you are selling
  • are aggressive at public relations and marketing and/or become synonymous with an information format or type of transaction
  • can build enough exposure to flip the business model around (like Activision's CEO is planning on doing)
  • interact with customers and personalize the experience
  • dig deeper than competing services and invest into infrastructure to provide a barrier to entry

The network quickly changes itself as imitators imitate market leaders and effective marketing strategies, quickly turning what was once a smart technique into dirty spam...constantly burning out and reinventing the field of marketing.

If you have a competitive advantage and/or find that something is particularly effective it is probably in your best interest to either burn it out quickly before competitors can also use it, or share the information publicly and become synonymous with the technique.

If a market seems saturated then pick a different niche or write from the opposite perspective that most the talking heads write from. The best time to buy a great domain, set up a new site, and build competitive search advantages is before the competition is aware of the value of a market or marketing technique.

Published: October 6, 2008 by Aaron Wall in marketing


October 6, 2008 - 12:48pm

dig deeper than competing services and invest into infrastructure to provide a barrier to entry

This is what did today SEOmoz with the introduction of the linkscape tool.

October 6, 2008 - 1:41pm

True. Some bands, also very known, are distributing their music "pay if You like" basis. And money is pouring in...


October 16, 2008 - 7:17am

So many things to consider, but very helpful.

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