Luke Crawford of Muxtape presented at last night’s March RefreshPhilly event. Towards the end he spoke to the point that sites like Muxtape are completely incompatible with current structure of the “Recording Industry.” Well, actually I asked if that was the case and was there any hope.
It was a very good talk on the minimalist design approach, both visually and programmatically (using Ruby on Rails). Unfortunately, Mr. Crawford was pressed for time and wasn’t able to get much deeper into the “future” of how things were breaking down. I asked him about the compability of his model with the current structure of the Recording Industry, and that’s when he was able to offer a quick glimpse of how he thought the future might unfold.
As he did, it occurred to me just how much destruction is going on. The current econonic crisis as perceived in the popular press is one of “Well, let’s get heavy industry going,” “Just need to prop the banks up through troubled times,” but that’s not it – or, at least, that’s not all there is.
I Hate Music
Anyone who’s ever listened to music in the last 10 years knows the tribulations and fits the music industry went through when Napster unilaterally decided to Free All Music every where. Clearly that wasn’t fair. But, on the other hand, those Suits in the RIAA were getting their comeuppance! After all those years stealing from artists! Not paying royalties! Claiming undeserved songwriting credits!
So sympathy was a little short in coming. Then when they started suing 12 year olds, well, we really lost interest in their cause then. I know I did.
Setting Aside whether you can give it away for Free (you can’t) or strongarm your way into collecting money (you can, but laywers get expensive), the Music Industry as We Know It is going to collapse. Completely. What, exactly, does this mean:
The Nasty Suits won’t get the Lion’s Share of Unit Sales, because there are no units – CDs.
The people who discover new music will go unemployed.
The people who make the plastic for CDs go unemployed.
The people who make machines to stamp (or whatever you do to a CD) go under.
The trucks that deliver the CDs to retail spaces go unused – the Drive goes unemployed.
The Retail Shelf Space previously devoted to CDs goes unused – Shelfmakers go out of business.
The person stocking the shelves at minimum wage goes unemployed.
Not needing trucks to deliver CDs, Machinery, Shelving, people building trucks go unemployed.
Not getting orders for steel to build trucks or machinery, foundries shut down.
You get the idea.