Crawl Across the Ocean

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Two Small Things

1) Here at CAtO we aspire to someday combine politeness and scathing criticism as well as Josh Marshall does in this post ending with, "I grant you that the blogosphere needs better bloggers. But, as usual, the need for better critics seems even more acute."

2) Andrew Sullivan links to what he terms a 'much praised account' of the rise and fall of the CD.

The subheader of the article in question:
"In recent years, the economics of pop music have been upended. The market for CDs has collapsed, and not even the rise of legal downloading can offset the damage to record companies. Meanwhile, demand for live performances has rocketed"

And here's Paul Krugman, forecasting the 21st century (by pretending to be writing at the end of it and looking back), in a prescient 1996 article:

"While business gurus were proclaiming the new dominance of creativity and innovation over mere production, the growing ease with which information was transmitted and reproduced made it harder for creators to profit from their creations. Nowadays, if you develop a marvelous piece of software, everyone will have downloaded a free copy from the Net the next day. If you record a magnificent concert, bootleg CD's will be sold in Shanghai next week. If you produce a wonderful film, high-quality videos will be available in Mexico City next month.

How, then, could creativity be made to pay? The answer was already becoming apparent a century ago: creations must make money indirectly by promoting sales of something else. Just as auto makers used to sponsor grand prix racers to spice up the image of their cars, computer manufacturers now sponsor hotshot software designers to build brand recognition for their hardware. The same is true for individuals. The royalties that the Four Sopranos earn from their recordings are surprisingly small; the recordings mainly serve as advertisements for their concerts. The fans attend these concerts not to appreciate the music (they can do that far better at home), but for the experience of seeing their idols in person. In short, instead of becoming a knowledge economy we became a celebrity economy.

What? Not every post has a point, you know.


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