What happened to the music industry? The publishing industry? The television and film industry? The stock photography industry?
Simple: Disrupted by digital technology!
The digitization of creative content that transformed media like music, imagery, text and video has had broad economic consequences:
- The production costs of creating such media in digital formats plunged.
- The distribution costs associated with sharing that media also plunged.
- The combined effect of 1. & 2. has led to an explosion of new content.
Simple economics shows that when the supply of a good rises sharply but the demand does not keep pace, the price falls precipitously. So the price of digital content like music mp3s, video files, images, and eBooks has plunged as well.
Because the duplication and distribution costs are close to zero, consumers of such content assume that the price should be close to zero. [See Chris Anderson’s book, Free.] Unfortunately, while the out-of-pocket production costs of creative media have gone down, the time, energy and skill required to create have not. Thus, the revenue streams and income accruing to creative artists has been hollowed out.
Two of the most disrupted professions has been musicians and writers. A few graphic slides illustrate the problem:
This might seem discouraging, spelling the end of these professions, but we would suggest a more circumspect analysis of the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age. After all, being an artist has always been a challenge in our commercial world. With tuka we propose that as technology has disrupted the past, it will also disrupt the present and help shape an unanticipated future. Stay tuned…