I’d like to pose some questions for discussion. Up ’til the last year or so, we’ve purchased physical media. Vinyl albums, 8-track cassettes, standard cassettes, CDs, VHS, DVDs, etc.
What do the owners/publishers, the production studios, the distribution companies really bank on and hope for and expect? If we are a fan of a particular work, we’ll buy the latest greatest media on which that work is released, so that we may have better quality, more info, new re-mix/re-master, etc. We never owned the content, but we did own the media.
The artists, producers, publishers aren’t offering anything “new” in the way of content, just new media. Minimal cost to them, usually higher cost to the consumer. A great business model, produce once, re-sell to the same consumer many times over with each new “better media” technology that comes along. We’re closer than ever to an “all information and all entertainment is digital” world. As bandwidth increases, and the resolution/quality of digital content offerings subsequently increases, do we continue, as in the past, to “buy” the newest iteration of the same material?
I have lots of AAC files that I got from iTunes music store. Do I want to continue to buy those same files over and over as quality and resolution increase over the next 5 – 10 – 20 years? Is it a new media? Not really.
Is there something to be said for a subscription model that allows, as bandwidth increases, and as higher quality/resolution files are released, our subscription now affords us the
luxury of the newer, better media?
We’re not owning physical media anymore. I’m wondering if we really are owning digital bits? Do we want to own digital bits? Or would we like “access” to the latest, greatest, higher quality, higher resolution content “on demand” (i really didn’t want to use that term, but it’s the most applicable) as the technology and bandwidth improves. I don’t know that I’ve come to a conclusion, yet, and I’m very interested in this angle.
For the record, no pun intended, I have worked in the music industry, in production. I have worked in publishing. The goal of publishing is to “exploit” the work to it’s fullest. Sell it in as many forms, to as many consumers, as much as possible. And do it over and over and over…how much did the estate of Elvis Presley make last year?
But, I’m also a consumer. One with a growing family. One that has spent less and less each year on music and movies because it’s harder and harder to justify buying this CD or DVD now when in a couple of years we’ll have HD-DVD, and Blu-Ray, etc. (I know they are hitting the market now, but the point is next year it’s something else.) And they want to charge a little more for it even though the content is really the same. They’ve already recouped all their cost from the original release most likely.
Maybe subscription is starting to make more sense. What do you think?