If the title confuses you, you’re my target audience. Those who understand the title already know the message. Once you finish reading this, the title will become as clear as a glass of Crystal Pepsi. What? You don’t remember that? Well, grab your bottle of Josta, and get ready for more archaic pop culture references.
Back in the day (which was a Tuesday, by the way), the best way to store recorded sound was in a series of phonic grooves which were pressed into a vinyl disc. We called them “records,” which was the noun form of the verb, “record,” and a homonym (but not a homophone). You may recognise these records as the devices that sit on DJs’ turntables today. The biggest difference, however, is you didn’t want to scratch Billy Joel’s Glass Houses.
As technology progressed, we got a too tremendous total of types of tapes to take our tracks on our travels. That is until the laser disc became small enough, and players became buffered enough, to take those in our cars. And, from an economical perspective, we’ve been frozen here for twenty years, even though technology has actually progressed. And why is that?
In the 1990’s, Sony developed the next format, the mini-disc, an magneto-optical disc that made recording and rerecording easier than that of compact discs, while being smaller and of higher quality and capacity. Why didn’t this obviously superior format succeed? Because Sony made it and Sony has historically never made a successful format, no matter how good it was… Until the Blu-ray, that is. The market used to be prejudiced against them. But, worry not, they repackaged it as the format for their PSP games.
Let’s also be fair here. The stagnation of format progression is pretty much exclusive to music. Videos and video games are resisting progression, but not defying it.
Then came the invention of MP3 when people started ripping their CD’s to their computers. Now we could make digital back-ups of all our music, and even use software to make and play playlists. The digital market was expanding.
Aside from the fact we were sending copies to our friends, family, acquaintances, and complete strangers, which we probably shouldn’t have been doing, this was a great thing. The market for digital music improved when there were portable players, allowing us to carry thousands of songs on a tiny device, making the disc wallet nearly obsolete. Practically speaking, digital music is our current medium of choice. Films and video games aren’t there yet, but that’s mostly due to file sizes and issues with experiencing surround sound on the go.
So, all that said, the market for digital media will never win. Never. Period. I’ll eat my hat if it does, and I’ll do it on a live video broadcast.
And, why is that? First of all, when you buy a CD, you always get a free digital copy with it. Always. No exceptions. Period. End of argument. I’ve already made my point and proven my case, but there’s more to be said anyway.
Aside from getting a free digital copy, you also get album artwork and liner notes. If you buy the digital copy, you have to pay extra for a hard copy and that still doesn’t come with album artwork and liner notes and, more often than not, you’re going to be paying more and getting less.
DRM. Nuff said.
Digital media direct sales is something wanted by the industry so they can control what we listen to and steal our music from us on a whim. The people don’t want it. They’ll never accept it. Of course, the people did finally accept touch screens and tablet computers as if they wanted them after 30 years of having it shoved down their throat by greedy companies, so maybe I will end up eating my hat for all to see.