ETA: Look what’s coming…..
That didn’t take long….
Ok. I’ve given it a couple of weeks before I weigh in on the iPhone and its impact. I’ve read numerous blogs and the reviews and the news reports, etc., etc. I have come to the conclusion that the iPhone is one of those inventions that revolutionize and significantly change industries and how certain business is done. Like “talkies” and radio, television and cell phones, the iPhone will push technology into a new sphere.
Steve Jobs and the folks at Apple are the Thomas Edisons of the 21st Century. Twenty years ago, it appeared that Mac might just be a flash in the pan. After the failure to eliminate the Microsoft PC world, Jobs stepped back and re-invented Apple. He re-committed himself to the vision and produced the new line of Mac products like the iBook and of course, iTunes. Jobs didn’t stay locked in convention. Instead, he did his research and he stayed in touch with the market — the users — what they wanted and where they were headed. Then, he executed. Great ideas are 10% innovation and 90% perspiration. Apple put their ideas into action. They made buying music affordable, easy and simple. And now, they’re bringing all of the emerging technology together in one device.
Revolutionary. Paradigm shifter.
While the iPhone is certainly not uncopyable, it’s got a GIANT headstart on the competition. Others will follow but by the time they produce something as easy to use and as integrated, Apple will own the market. Consider this…The first weekend, Apple sells 525,000 units with 95% being the 8 gig $599.99 model. Overall sales for ONE weekend on equipment only = $430,550,000. Initial surveying indicates that 52% of iPhone purchasers are new to AT&T service. Now, THAT is radical movement. While Microsoft sits on $1 Billion in investable captial, Apple has put theirs to work, making it virtually all back in two weeks. The old adage of “you’ve got to spend money to make money” is so applicable when looking at Apple vs. Microsoft.
Do I want an iPhone? Yes.
Will I buy one in the next six months? No.
For now, I have my iPod and my hand-me-down Razor phone from my 16 year old and they serve my communication and entertainment needs. Perhaps when I’m in need of a new phone, I will migrate….or if Mr. D. is looking for something ultra-cool to give me for Christmas, I won’t refuse one, but I’m not moved to act just yet. However, I really didn’t think I NEEDED an iPod until I had one.
Regarding Apple’s impact on industry — it is all SO clear to me that we are on the verge of the extinction of certain older technologies. Like vinyl and eight-tracks, CDs are going to go away. I would bet the proverbial dollars to donuts that CD player production is in steep decline. Once the players go the way of Beta Max and VHS, and alternative technology (mp3 players) takes the forefront, Compact Disc production will plummet into extinction. This, in itself, will certainly change the music business and how artists are compensated.
I think that recorded music’s price point will have no choice but to drop. However, this is not necessarily bad news for the artists. If they can produce and distribute their music for a fraction of the cost, they can sell it to the public for a fraction of the cost and still protect their current profit margins. If they drop the costs and make music easily available, they may be able to stem the tide of free P2P. If not, they are looking at concerts and merchandise as the only revenue stream left.
This sea change will create a different business model and new career paths. It should also eliminate the need for the record labels, A&R guys, and the whole bloated process of the “middle man”. Another casualty will be terrestrial radio, unless some independent stations adopt the old formats of playing music actually dictated by the listeners. If not, the void for music broadcasting, sharing and listening will be filled by those with ingenuity, creativity and understanding of the market.
I would love to see artists create their own alliances like United Artists did back in the ’20s. Chaplin, Fairbanks, Pickford and Griffith desired more control of their own work and future — much like musical artists want today. Almost a century later, musical artists are still basically “owned” by the label with little control over their own works. Isn’t the quality and variety of music produced elevated when artists are free to create what’s in their heads and hearts rather than what’s dictated by some suit in an office who’s main desire is to sell “units”?
I say, change is good. Bring it on.