How far is far enough?
In today’s digitally hyper-connected world it can be extremely difficult to tell when enough is enough, or indeed where the boundary lies for most activities and trends. For example, it is not yet clear where and when the decline of the recording industry will stop but I’ll make some provocative predictions on the outcome.
In the next few years we shall most likely arrive to the following conclusions:
- File sharing was great for the music industry after all!
It just depends on your point of view (e.g. who is sharing what, and who is getting paid for this activity). The early indicators are that music tracks/files are increasingly being used as hooks to other products, services and experiences
- Those lawsuits against ordinary music users / file sharers were a bad idea!
It is always a bad idea to sue potential customers, and it just kept getting worse in the first decade of the 21st century (e.g.: PRS sues workers for listening to radio and RIAA wins legal challenge). However this practice also provides the resistance which proves the rule that true change is unstoppable.
- Record labels are no more!
Not surprisingly, they have either become a ghost of their former selves, or turned into bona fide production companies that fund music related ventures / enterprises. Artistes have become mostly independent and ready to exploit direct-to-consumer channels along the lines of Radiohead, Prince andNine-Inch-Nails.
- Record charts and satellite/digital radio are the new record shops!
And we can initiate music downloads directly from the radio, singles/album charts and even TV programs. (An early indicator of this could be the rumoured planned link up between Apple iTunes/iPod and Satellite Radio)
- DRM is history!
Instead it goes by another name, and no longer brings up an automatic mental association with ‘evil controlling <insert your favourite swear-word here>!’ (Ah well, we live in an age of hope and porcine aviation!).
It would be interesting to watch out for the above or similar headlines within the next 5 – 10 years time (You heard it here first!). So go on, don’t be shy, tell me what you think, and I’d particularly love to hear your own predictions on this topic.