Here's my guess for the vision behind Ian Rogers going to MOG/Beats/Daisy: much tighter integration between the content business and subscription service. The service will have business deals to heavily promote artists. It’s similar to paying radio stations to play a single, but rather than pay them, the label will own one.
If the Daisy service can break even and attract a reasonably large number of users, it will become a marketing platform. It may even become a profit center for the label if it can avoid giving too much of the revenue to other labels.
What did the MOG acquisition cost? I would guess 20 million or so. I think I’ve seen that number around, but if I’m just making it up I bet I’m within ten million. That's a reasonable budget for a publicity machine with so much potential.
The Daisy service itself will be marketed like a music product. Having a sub will be cultural identity just like those red headphones or the white earbuds before them. Rappers will all have subscriptions. It will be design-forward and style-forward. It will be perky, gym-toned, safely dangerous. Compare to this heinously unhip MOG ad.
Or, that’s Iovine’s vision. I can’t say for Ian or the investors.
Why tech companies can’t succeed at music subscriptions:
I was shocked at how culturally inept most consumer electronics companies are. And what I also learned is that you can build Facebook, you can build YouTube, you can build Twitter — you can be a tech company and do that. But those [sites] program themselves. Subscription needs a programmer. It needs culture. And tech guys can’t do that. They don’t even know who to hire. They’re utilities.
Why Beats/Daisy will be different:
[Other music subscription] companies, these services, all lack curation. They call it curation; there’s no curation. That’s what we did as a record label, we curated. There’s 150 white rappers in America; we served you one. We are heavy on curation, and we believe it’s a combination of human and math. But it’s a give and take.
Right now, somebody’s giving you 12 million songs, and you give them your credit card, and they tell you “good luck.” You need to have some kind of help. I’m going to offer you a guide. You don’t have to use it, but it’s going to be there, and it’s going to be a trusted voice, and it’s going to be really good.