Another week, another clueless music or TV industry executive speaking out against the future. This time it's NBC Universal president Jeff Zucker who said that “Apple destroyed the music business in terms of pricing”. Never mind the fact that the ease of use of iTunes has meant that people like me have bought more music in the last year than they had in the previous five. Nope, Apple's destroying the industry because they have figured out a price-point that people will be willing to part with their cash for an electronically crippled, lower quality, non-physical version of the CD they used to pay a couple of dollars extra for.
Who allows these morons to speak? Why doesn't some savvy marketing or PR guy take one of these ill informed boobs aside and tell them that “we” aren't the enemy?
I'm so tired of seeing these fossils who just don't “get it” getting all “chicken little” and proclaiming that today is indeed the day in which the sky has fallen.
I used to deal with the small mindedness all the time in my prior life, and I was hauled before the President of the Company once to figure out how we were going to “stop these pirates”, when some kid had figured out how to cobble together a web site that pulled together all of the feeds that several broadcasters were showing. Of course if their feed had commercials embedded in it, this wouldn't have been an issue in terms of lost revenue…but they didn't, so everyone was freaking out about the “theft”, although no money was exchanging hands, and the site was likely attracting a few dozen users at most (and I'd wager the majority of those users were in the very walls of the office I was in).
The video game industry is profiting while the TV, Movie, and Music industries are languishing. I have to think that some of that is because the Video Game industry has figured out that their greatest asset is their customers.
Taste makers are the customers who will evangelize your product and convince others that they NEED to buy it.
Microsoft approached me YEARS ago about this very blog and invited me to X03, one of the first Xbox events. I had a blast with it and I blogged about it the next day. More importantly I pestered the site where I worked to start up a video game section. They eventually did, and I wrote a review of Fight Night Round 3 and Rockstar Table Tennis. Two Xbox 360 games that I absolutely loved. Those reviews were seen by millions of people.
Now let's conservatively say that 200,000 people saw my Fight Night Round 3 review, and of those 200k people, 1% of them were swayed by my review to purchase the game (my review was hella good, so the number was probably closer to 28%, but for argument's sake we'll keep it at 1%).
That's 2000 people. The game was $60.00, so that's $120,000 in revenue that was generated by reaching out to your fan base and getting one person to evangelize your product.
You look at the Video Game industry and you see a wide variety of games that appeal to a wide variety of tastes. Casual games like Guitar Hero, wii Sports, and various arcade titles are there for bite sized pieces of gaming, but there are the big meals like BioShock and Halo there too.
The movie industry is quick to blame outside forces for the lack of people in theatres. The week Halo 3 came out, it was blamed for the poor box office. Never mind the fact that Char and I TRIED to find a movie to go to that weekend and were caught between the horribly reviewed Elizabeth II, or the horribly reviewed Ben Stiller abortion The Heartbreak Kid.
On a totally side-noted rant here, can anyone explain to me why a city like London has five major multiplexes with a minimum of 8 screens each, and yet all five multiplexes show the EXACT SAME GODDAMNED MOVIES?!? The same week that we couldn't find a movie to see in London there were no fewer than SIX movies in Toronto playing that weren't on any of the screens in London.
In the music industry you see dozens of bands that look, sound, and are marketed the same. You have everyone's album coming out between October and December (and a massive void of music during the summer…which from my teen years was the time that I was MOST looking for new music).
You have one company, Clear Channel, ruling the majority of the music airwaves, and creating homogeneous playlists so that whether you're in Alaska or San Diego you're hearing the same processed pap, 12 times a day, 96 times a week.
I read recently some anecdotal reports that “the kids” today are listening to the music of the 70's and 80's rather than the ridiculously overproduced pap of the 2000's. Perhaps video didn't kill the radio star. Maybe it was the corporations which killed the radio star.
What all of these companies need to remember is that they are the middle men.
Record companies don't make records, they distribute the records that artists create.
Movie studios don't make movies. They distribute movies that artists create.
The trouble is that users and artists have unprecedented choice because of the power of the internet. The trouble with all of this power that users and artists have now is that they are beginning to realize that they don't need the middle men. The record industry is reacting much like the “Jump to conclusions” guy in Office Space. They feel angry because they provide a “valuable service”, which nobody can identify with anymore.