Driving around with my younger brother yesterday looking for a Radio Shack we reminisced about the now irrelevant businesses we’d frequent as children such as record stores. He’s in town visiting for the weekend, and when the two of us get together conversation is guaranteed to be lengthy and will probably get philosophical no matter the subject.
Seth is unashamedly for progress in all shapes and sizes, and I, as a business major, can never forget the axiom, ‘innovate or die.’ We chuckled about a current chain who appear to deal exclusively in CD’s –“I hope they’re investing in something else!” was Seth’s take. I was reminded of the case of the ice companies who took great pains to innovate for better ice harvesting all the way up until the refrigerator was invented. Sadly, they were put out of business by their own inability to ‘see the forest for the trees.’
We chatted about how some in the music industry are trying to induce a resurgence of vinyl. We noted that the distribution of digital music is hard to control and how many in the industry simply want to cling to the ‘good old days’ and the profits associated with their inferior technology. Times are changing; advances in technology march on…
Some would like us to believe this is a terrible evil.
I think they’re simply trying to justify their lazy greed (let’s face it, there’s always a way to make money in an emerging market if you’ll do a little work to figure it out) and something more too…
While we drove on I easily recalled more than one movie in which the main dilemma centered around a little Book Store in danger of going out of business. And apart from the Big Business vs. Little Business conflict, people can get down right religious about paper books and the age-old non-digital newspaper. But is it really an ethical issue, or are some of us non-Millennials simply addicted to the happy chemicals produced in our brain from the nostalgia of print and other familiar mediums?
If we are, there is certainly nothing wrong with that. And absolutely no need to try and induce guilt in others by elevating our nostalgic preferences to the level of an ethical debate. Forward moving progress is simply not an ethical matter.
If you prefer print and vinyl, good for you! Fortunately nostalgia is known to be a powerful marketing tool, so you’ll always find what suits your tastes somewhere on the market.
And if you’ve been in the music industry for a while and you’re still crying over the loss of vinyl, tape and CD profits… Innovate or die my friend! My guess is that as the prices for digital media come down, so will so called ‘pirating’ (to use the industry’s grossly over exaggerated term). And profits? I’d bet money they’ll come up.
So if Hollywood makes another self-serving movie about the evils of technology shutting down small business and dying technology, I won’t buy it. No, I’ll invite my brother over; we’ll dress up like pirates who rape and pillage on the high seas, illegally download it, and then laugh at its absurdity (kidding of course).
Care to join us?