I read an article the other day that I keep thinking about.
In “The RIAA and MPAA Have Failed To Understand A Cultural Shift,” Navneet Alang explained how the concepts of scarcity and supply and demand, which everyone learned in Economics class, is changing—even being eliminated.
“Limited by physical constraints like materials and labor, you make a certain number of things and then you set the price based on how many people want that thing.
But when you switch to digital, this scarcity often disappears. An MP3 or movie file or eBook is just ones and zeroes. After the initial costs of creation are done with, creating a new copy costs almost nothing. Suddenly, things are abundant – there is no physical limit on how many of something can be made – and this changes things.”
You can have all the guns that you want, and all the butter too.
Within a few years sales of physical media—DVDs, CDs, magazines, and books—will only decline further. It may even disappear completely at some point.
Picture what the entertainment section at Best Buy or Wal-Mart will look like without a DVD section.
It doesn’t make sense that stores like Blockbuster will exist in a few years. Why would I take the time to drive to a store when I can get the same movie for the same price with a few clicks?
In a way this saddens me. I still prefer to buy CDs. I’m very much against the download-one-song-from-each-album-and-ignore-the-rest society that has grown. Even though all my music is on my computer, I like having a physical copy of things just in case. Music from a CD it is of a higher quality, plus all of the special edition features, like artwork, that some bands release is a cool thing to have.
I guess I’ll just have to get over it. In the case of foreign, old, or difficult to find albums I have no issue with going online already.
More importantly, this means there is never a reason for any book to go out of print. Every television show and movie ever made should be available to everyone on the planet at the click of a button.