Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Cross-post: Halley Suitt analyzing American Idol through the business lens

Thought Halley's recent American Idol as business who post would also pique my Worker Bees readers' interest. Read it. Her analysis is really quite spot-on: these people are basically presenting their "business plan" a bunch of "VCs" whoa re going to tell them if their vision is marketable.

Her biggest question is also fascinating to me: do the untalented one really not know they're untalented?

It may be too cliche to say that talent is in the eye of the beholder, but sometimes it is. If you've ever taken your life in your hands and gone on the American Idol forums you'll find that each finalist has passionate fans. If you dare to say that this or that performance was off-key, or this or that performer is wooden, well, woe be to you.

How can it be? Don't they see and hear what I see and hear?

Well, they do, but they represent a different kind of customer than I am.

Part of any business or marketing plan is an analysis of market segments and competitive offerings. You can make a case for your product idea or your business focus if you can make the case that a market exists. And in some cases the market doesn't have to be huge, if the cost to product and distribute is huge. You will find people willing to invest in low-volume, high-margin products.

Same can be said for art. It's a highly segmented market, and while we may complain that the ClearChannel world of radio, for example, provides only a very limited window into the diversity of artistic expression out there, technology is providing more and more avenues for artists to distribute their work. If you can find the market, and you can distribute to it profitably, you can see your vision come true.

That's what all those AI contestants are hoping for.

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