Protecting The Present While Building The Future

image from www.malindalo.com Eric Garland, CEO of Big Champagne, argues that the cultural industries must protect the present without forgetting to build the future. In his interview with CNET, Garland had a number of highly insightful things to say about the future of music and movies. One of which is, "You have to put at least as much energy, money, and focus on building the new business as you do into protecting the old business."

In recent years, the record industry certainly has improved their efforts to build the future, but it could be argued either way if they're protecting the old model more. The access over ownership argument has drudged on, but the adoption rates of streaming platforms are far from enough for them to turn their backs on Wal-Mart and Target. It isn't in their best interest. At the core of the responsibility of many in the label system is doing anything and everything they can to ensure that fans buy the plastic disc, not making nice with the new business models.

More often than not, the initiatives behind companies like Spotify, Rdio, and MOG is to challenge fans to rethink their relationship to culture, as well as, their desire to own it. The more music problem is at the heart of this ongoing power struggle.

More music fans want more songs than they could ever possibly afford in more places than currently possible. Zune Pass is very close to solving this, among other services, but they haven't caught on. Then there are the users that don't want to be bothered with all that choice, they just want to have personalized, curated music streams. Both of which, lead to fewer overall music purchases.

Regardless, the online ecosystem of music culture is an essential part of the future of the music industry. If too many resources are spent protecting the present and not nearly enough building the future than when the present goes away there won't be much to look forward to. More disruption is going to come.

Most likely, it will be from a company that we've never even heard of before. Right now, our eyes are fixed on Apple and Spotify, but it's possible that something else big is lurking over the horizon. I hope that we'll try to build it, not just kill it.

"…there are going to be some self-inflicted wounds in terms of having to do some things that do threaten long-held evergreen businesses, but that those wounds have to be self inflicted. They understand that they have to drive this revolution, we have to drive this change, and we have to meet the wants and needs of our customers because saying no is not an option. The audience now is too powerful in the conversation. They have too much leverage. They are going to consume media on their terms. They can't be dictated to the same way as in the past." (Read on.)

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