Since their inception, record labels have relied on Product Managers, found under the Marketing department umbrella, to handle their product development. These managers act as the liaison from the delivery of assets from the artists (or Artist and Repertoire representative overseeing the production of the album) and the marketing efforts constructed by the marketing department. This has served them well when the product line is limited to a compact disc, vinyl or digital release of the album and single. Delivered assets are edited down to fit the format dictated by these product lines and release schedules are set accordingly. Slight changes are made to fit these product lines when marketing opportunities are made available, such as Coldplay's latest release when 3 additional tracks were added to the CD and made exclusive at Target.
Wikipedia explains new product development as the following
"In business and engineering, new product development (NPD) is the complete process of bringing a new product to market. A product is a set of benefits offered for exchange and can be tangible (that is, something physical you can touch) or intangible (like a service, experience, or belief). There are two parallel paths involved in the NPD process: one involves the idea generation, product design and detail engineering; the other involves market research and marketing analysis. Companies typically see new product development as the first stage in generating and commercializing new product within the overall strategic process of product life cycle management used to maintain or grow their market share."
In a world that has become more intelligent and rich through data, we are now able to research, analyze and breakdown consumer engagement levels and purchasing habits, with the ability to create multiple product lines for each release dependent on the level of engagement and purchasing habits of their fans. As a former A&R representative for over 17 years responsible for many successful releases inside the major labels, I can assure you product development of this sort needs to take place well before the product manager becomes involved. It needs to start at the asset creation point, engaging talent to think beyond the standard product lines of the CD, vinyl and digital release and creating the appropriate product lines with the appropriate assets to not only serve the fan base but to create increased revenue for the labels during these challenging times. Through good product development (which we at Total Box pride ourselves on), product managers will not only receive richer assets and product lines but also important data as to where their marketing efforts are best served to reach their customers.