Jumping The Dead Shark!


dead_shark.jpgCharge less, sell more.

Seems like a simple solution for both the music industry and film/TV industry looking to regurgitate content into the digital domain.

Yet, I just read that NBC doesn't want to renew its iTunes deal with Apple because they want to increase the costs of the content. Apple doesn't. Stalemate for now.

Forget that P2P is on the rise because media conglomerates charge too much to begin with.

I guess NBC refuses to acknowledge the horrible job the music industry has done trying to fight the natural selection of their intellectual properties. Young people do not want to pay much -- if anything at all -- for music, movies, or television programming. Even books when you can buy them used on Amazon for a fraction of the cost.

Sure, folks will spend their money buying new iPods -- like the Touch or the new Nanos -- and other mobile devices to play their music or programming. But they will not spend more money buying NBC's digital content. And Apple rightfully understands this new paradigm.

So why force a new system? Do these stuffed shirts think that they will attract new viewers because they've lowered the boom on Apple? And do you think Apple cares?

Apple will find new strategic partners who understand this rapidly evolving landscape and will find new innovative ways to migrate that content into new and improved Apple products. And with the new iTunes WiFi store for the iPhone it's even easier to buy content.

And so what if NBC finds a new partner or new mobile device or mobile player for their content? Do you think that will impact the "VIP" world of Apple?

iTunes works. Plain and simple. And their computers -- laptops and desktops -- work really, really well with very few snafus. But Apple does something even better. M-a-r-k-e-t-i-n-g. Their campaigns make you feel like you're not part of the "in crowd" if you don't buy their products. Now everyone doesn't, nor will, drink their kool-aid, but those that do understand the zeitgeist here.

Apple products kick ass.

The iPhone is cool. And Jobs even lowered the price on this revolutionary device. It's sexy and the software is incredibly innovative, even with some apparent flaws. But users will still buy it and know it will only improve with time. Apple will continue to push the envelope to bring people to the easiest and very best operating systems in the world.

I'm no shill for Apple, but there's a reason I use their products. And as much as I want my very own iPhone, I want the new Apple iMac more. Have you seen it? Have you checked one out? Beautiful slick aluminum body and super slim keyboard with a 24" monitor and 2.8Ghz dual-core Intel processor. Form and function all rolled into one.

So while many folks like myself will spend the money on new computers and portable media devices that will depreciate about 100% in 4-5 years, I don't want to spend my hard-earned cash on content. Give me a ton for next to nothing.

Hey, you can use the WireTap software and download just about any digital file without the need to download anything other than play it on your computer to grab a digital file. The media revolution is now. The Internet is bigger than the Gutenberg Press!

How great is it to read about -- heck, watch if you want -- your favorite sports team on-line even if you live thousands of miles away?

I read about the exploits of my beloved Cleveland teams every morning from my desktop computer monitor. I then pick through CNN, New York Times, and NY Post stories, check the weather, watch a video or two, listen to songs recommended by friends...

On occasion, I still might buy a paper if I'm riding the subway, but now you can even grab AM New York for FREE and read the whole thing cover to cover on one short ride.

Sure I miss our local Tower Records and wasting an afternoon browsing the thousands of titles. On occasion I might even visit Virgin Records when I feel like fighting through the throngs of tourists in Times Square.

But most of my new music insight/sampling comes from the Web.

Our website -- like other blogs and websites -- has even become an on-line music distributor. We have an affiliation deal with iTunes -- some sites use Amazon -- and we get pennies on the dollar for hyper link click-throughs from our music reviews or subscribing to our free audio and video podcasts.

It's not perfect, but at least readers/users can sample first to see if they agree or disagree to add the music to their DIGITAL library. And if they do, we make a little something on our recommendations. I know we'd make even more if the labels just collectively lower the price for digital music. Why? Because more content would get purchased.

The new media revolution is here and everyone can be a player.

So why do the media giants continue to swim against the current?

When did they jump the shark? They did that years ago. Even though the shark was already dead.

Lower your prices, already.


Dusty Wright

Subscribe to Culture Catch thru iTunes.

dusty5a.jpgMr. Wright is the former editor-in-chief of Creem and Prince's New Power Generation magazines as well as a writer of films, fiction, and music. He is also a singer/songwriter who has released 3 solo CDs and a member of the folk-rock quartet GIANTfingers. And before all of this he was an agent at the William Morris Agency!