My next door neighbor Rusty is a music producer.
He has wild, rock-n-roll hair and he wears hip clothing.
His two sons, who are eight and nine years old, are super-cool, long-haired, skateboarder dudes. They are both delightful.
I tease Rusty that he is the human version of the sea turtle dad in Finding Nemo.
[Because he is all "WHOA-AH" and then you are all "WHOA-AH," dude.]
Last weekend I saw them all out at our neighborhood park walking their Great Dane.
I was busy chatting with other neighborhood parents while our kids ran amuck.
We were on the cusp of figuring out who would be in charge of bringing a giant box of coffee to the playground next weekend when Rusty joined the conversation.
Someone must have asked, “How’s business?” because the next thing I knew the normally super-chill Rusty was off on a wild rant about the downfall of the music industry.
“People think music is free these days,” Rusty moaned. “We can’t meet our bottom lines! EMI announced they’re laying off 2,000 people… it’s ridiculous!!!”
Because I know in my heart that there's a conspiracy to track my every move on the internet, I purchase all my music online through iTunes, you know, legitimately.
[Oh, the honest and ethical joys!]
So while Rusty was bemoaning the music industry I was thinking about my little iTunes habit and piped up with,
“What about iTunes, Rusty? Isn’t that business model working?”
He looked totally aggravated and muttered something about "only .99 cents."
“You know who uses iTunes?” he spat with contempt. “The ONLY people who buy music from iTunes are housewives!”
[Okay, so technically I'm a work at home mom, but still!]
The internet has changed human behavior in a way that's bringing an entire industry to its knees.
That's pretty intense.
Personally, I think it’s kind of fascinating.
[Which I recognize is a luxury not afforded to someone whose livelihood depends on the music business.]
What will happen?
How will the industry re-invent itself to respond to the changing environment?