Pivot is an annual conference in New York that explores the evolution of digital and social media, and the impact it has on brands and business.
Yesterday, Alison Hillhouse, an MTV Millennial researcher in charge of insights and innovation, presented an ethnographic study outlining the new relationship that exists between musical artists and the generation born at the turn of the century.
A verbatim extract from their study:
“Growing up there was always Napster or like Kazaa so we never needed to buy music. So when I want to support an artist that I respect and connect with, I buy their music. When you pay for music it’s a big deal.”
MTV went on to conduct a quantitative study based on the ethnographic research: 68% of millenniums say that music should be free and that they only pay for it to show respect to the artist, and 81% say that the closer they feel to an artist, the more they are willing to support the artist by purchasing their music.
These facts, which are probably intuitively obvious to most readers of this blog, leave no room for doubt. It is often considered that what is occurring in the music industry at a given moment in history is indicative of larger global trends. While this generation may be unwilling to pay for things they can get for free, it is more than ready to pay for things that it respects and feels connected to. The boundary may seem tenuous and conceptual, but it is real.
All designers of products and services should be inspired to approach the question of innovation: if my product or service could be acquired for free, what could I do to entice people to support (pay) me rather than just taking it? This changes the perspective a bit, right? Whatever your business, sooner or later the technology could invent a way to deliver your offering for (almost) free. Anticipate the moment, get respect and connect to your customers.