The music industry is changing. That statement is probably unnecessary.
Affordable technology has enabled much of the world to connect to each other and share information over the internet. During 9-5 much of the communication is business related, but art dominates at other times. The music industry has established business plans and those plans are just now adjusting to newer technology. I can remember the ’80s. At that time everyone made mixed tapes. The ones that people were most proud of got traded. I don’t remember the music industry making a fuss about this. But along came CDs. CDs were originally hard to copy, ensuring that many more sales of the original product sold. The music industry got fat and happy on this and forgot about the joy of the mixed tape. But what was so joyful about it? It was the artistic representation through music of what the individual enjoyed. It was word of mouth taken to the next level.
Now the music industry is trying to get an understanding of the word of mouth machine. Rick Rubin in a recent NY Times piece talks about how he has a group completely dedicated to fostering word of mouth generation. Malcolm Gladwell did a great job in his book The Tipping Point in establishing how something very simple can quickly spread into something mainstream. Mr. Rubin, and others in the music industry, would love to apply Gladwell’s observations.
So how does this relate to work, the topic of this blog? Who you know is the leading means for getting a job. Creating a good network is based on word of mouth connections. Now, of course technology isn’t only affecting the music industry – it is changing the placement world as well. But even though it is easier to email a resume and do a phone interview from anywhere in the world, nothing beats an endorsement from a respected source. The mixed tape of hiring. Sites like LinkedIn.com are working to try to put a technological catalyst on this process. But so far I would say the results are mixed. Getting word of mouth buzz is still a nontechnological process – there is an art to it.