Over the years I have watched the world of media change. I had a dear friend who worked with me on the helpdesk at The Future Now in Cincinnati Ohio (Circa 1992). He and I made every computer on the helpdesk have a unique audio voice. Lots of Ren and Stimpy samples and a lot of Three Stooges (I am trying to think but nothing happens). It was the birth of digital noise. We didn’t mess with the then senior engineer’s workstation. He thought he was the boss and our leader. In the end he was simply someone with a tiny bit of authority and absolutely no power. Towards the end of his reign of terror he no longer even answered escalated calls.
The birth of “ripping” taking your CD’s (of legally purchased music) and pushing them to your computer began the media computer craze. Up to the birth of MP3’s we lived for the most part between radio antennas. Driving for long distances you had to change the radio channel ever 100 miles or less. Or have a CD player with lots of CD’s in it. Then came the portable MP3 player. There were a number of them that had incredible capabilities. But iTunes and the iPod won the war. The birth of the portable mP3 player in the end saw a littered path however to the end of that war.
In the car we had the birth of Satellite radio. Suddenly we changed the channel not because of weak signal but because no one in the car wanted to listen to 12 hours of the 70’s. Well I did but no one else would let me so we changed the channel. Your car suddenly becoming a media device. Inputs and outputs and streaming media became the norm.
It was in the end the high fidelity streaming and the birth of the smart phone world that killed the portable media player. My media library in 1998 was 70% songs ripped from the various CD’s I owned (yes a lot of Neil Young) and 30% videos that were mostly family videos. That percentage stayed the same although the family video portion of the library increased when the kids were little.
Streaming changed that. Yes I still collect Neil Young albums. I do still have an MP3 player filled with his songs. I plug it in from time to time, and listen to the iPod at work (no window = no way to receive live Satellite Radio). But for the most part now its streaming audio. Streaming audio and then suddenly you have the great streaming video ability. Where once you had a library of music and if you liked to watch movies at home a library of DVD’s. Now you simply connect to the Internet and listen to your music. You connect to the Internet to watch movies.
What lies beyond? Where once there was a huge industry that produced DVD’s and CD’s now there is a declining industry. What does the future hold? It is something that is intriguing. I watched the birth of HD Radio and in the end its eventual absorption into radio. I watched the MP3 player rise to huge levels and then reaching its plateau stop growing. Now we move that functionality to the smart phone and tablet.
The economy of digital consumption exists and expands every year. The Google Play and iTunes stores are successful digital markets. There are competitors (Pono is another example of a digital store) but the reality is the challengers aren’t to the model but the delivery vehicle. The next market shift occurred with the release of albums to digital first and CD long after. That will eventually be the same for movies and eventually there won’t be a CD/DVD ever released. The digital release will become the only release.
That smart watch you are wearing will add a projector and becomes your digital media hub of the future…