The music business is back; are there clues for news?

The music business has been growing for the last few years after going into a decline in 1999. And it doesn’t have to do with buying MP3s .

The news and music industries have long been compared; they were disrupted by the Internet at about the same time and forever changed.

Are there still lessons to be learned between the two industries. Would a “Spotify model” work for news? Some efforts have been tried and failed from traditional media companies, the tech powers that control the platforms and entrepreneurial startups.

Music Sales by format

Newspaper paywalls by the numbers


The American Press Institute has published a new report on paywalls at U.S. newspapers that finds that “everybody”s doing it.”

It’s a good picture of the landscape if you need the stats, but here’s the short version:

The potential revenue generated by digital subscriptions is still murky at best. It is not clear whether digital subscriptions were mostly a “one-time” cash infusion that simply capitalized on the most loyal digital readers who were always willing to pay or if newspapers will be able to consistently persuade more people to sign up in years to come. Newspaper executives are hesitant to disclose financial details about digital subscriptions.

View from the executive suite: 20-somethings will turn to newspapers

Chicago Tribune

These are trends I’ve never seen.

For a man leading a digital revolution, Tribune Publishing CEO Jack Griffin is surprisingly sanguine about the enduring value of newspapers.

He believes they’re still likely to exist in 10 years, and that 20-somethings will keep picking up the newspaper-reading habit, he said in an interview this week.

Crains Chicago Business

Tribune’s PR folks “clarified” his comments a bit to the Vox Media site re/code.

(Photo by Spacedust2019/

10 keys to newsroom transformation

Digital Leads: 10 keys to newsroom transformationSteve Buttry, a longtime digital pioneer, agent provocateur for newsroom change and currently the Lamar Family Visiting Scholar at Louisiana State University, has done a series of blog posts over the past week on the “Four Platform Newsroom” effort of the former Scripps newspapers.

Working with the Knight Digital Media Center at the University of Southern California at Annenberg, the “Four Platform” program set out to “transform” the newsrooms of the 13 newspapers then owned by E.W. Scripps and now known as the “Baker’s Dozen Newspapers” of  the Journal Media Group.

The effort, underway since 2012 and led by Mizell Stewart III, includes the Knoxville News Sentinel, where I work. A report on the initiative was issued this past Tuesday: Digital Leads: 10 keys to newsroom transformation.

Here’s Buttry’s coverage:

Scripps’ ‘Digital Leads’: a strategy and process for newsroom transformation

Editors explain Four Platform Newsroom details

Silas Lyons explains the Four Platform Newsroom approach in Redding, Calif.

Michelle Rogers shares links showing newsroom transformation

Evolving is a painful process

Tne Tennessean

For many, working at a newspaper doesn’t seem all that fun anymore.

Chas Sisk had had enough.

The Tennessean had just fired Sisk and the entire staff of the paper the day before and asked them to reapply for their jobs. The reorganization was announced in the paper by executive editor Stefanie Murray as a “bold step forward in our evolution.”

The Nashville Scene

The weight of establishment and tradition

A great piece from Om Malik on media. There’s lot of food for thought in this piece.

Among his highlights:

  • No one could’ve predicted FB and Twitter as the boosters for media and this is why we’ve seen so much change and new models.
  • The problem with media is that it’s trying to find a answer within itself and not looking at what readers want.
  • The internet as we know it is at an end. The Chinese and Brazilian internets are developing in their own way and pace.
  • Putting a paywall on a thing people were getting for free is a backward move. You must create a new, compelling, useful experience.
  • My open source tools are a paper and a pen.
  • Journalism schools need to teach journalism for the social media age.
  • Big publishers are in the habit of always ‘taking’ from users, not giving back.
  • We are limited by the industrial definition/model of journalism.
  • It is time for big publications to think of themselves as technology platforms.

The model just went away

“The disruption was fundamental. Knight Ridder saw it earliest, experimented the most, worked the hardest – and it doesn’t exist anymore. Their top budget (for innovation) was $1 million – which doesn’t amount to the sushi budget in Google’s cafeteria.”

– Paul Sagan, executive chairman of Akamai Technologies

Interesting discussion. Find out more at The Wrap or wait until September 9, 2013 and go to