Destroying an industry isn’t the same as destroying the value it enables

Destroying an industry isn’t the same as destroying the value it enables

Interesting piece by Tim Brown on the migration from an economy of consumers to an economy of creators. He mentions a few of the likely casualties that are likely along the way, one of them being the record industry.

This is interesting stuff and is close to research I’ve being doing for a while now. He concludes with a nicely put statement on the nature of value definition:

We get more of what we measure. If we measure consumption we will get more of it. If we measure participation we will get more of that and we might just find we are already far wealthier than we realize, or perhaps far poorer. More importantly if our economy measured different types of value we could focus on designing things that created growth without automatically requiring that we consume more stuff.

I had this to add on the RIAA and fellow conspirators…

Tim, If we could value the increase in the amount of music being listened to, or the social connections that sharing music creates, or the increase in the number of music creators, or the meaning that an individual gets from creating their own music would we find that instead of the destruction of value we had instead experienced a significant creation of value? You've highlighted something I struggle to explain in my everyday consulting. The destruction of an industry doesn't equate to the destruction of the value creation that industry one enabled People have been using music to build tighter bonds, promote happiness and produce babies for millennia. For a few years in the Nineteenth century Ricordi managed to turn Opera publishing into a business and for a respectable chunk of the Twentieth century the record industry managed to leverage talent growth and distribution into a viable industry. But just as the once great Ricordi family business was subsumed into other content-based businesses, just as the extensive Victorian industrial ecosystem surrounding the design, production and maintenance of steam engines shrunk to a niche business in the far reaches of Hunan province the record industry of 1980 must die. Well, it needs to shrink and adapt, but it's late Twentieth century form is obsolete. It will die and be replaced by a different value creation ecosystem focused on making more babies, sharing more music and being happier while supporting the artists who choose to make music their primary income stream. Exactly what the ecosystem will look like I don't know but I do know this. It's nothing to be afraid of :-)