What has it got in its pocketses?

I return! I’m sure you all enjoyed your winter break. I know I enjoyed mine.

I got some great things for Solstice, and that got me to thinking about where our entertainment comes from, and how that’s changed. The changes have a large effect on our culture.

Not that long ago, things could be hard to find. I remember a story about a young Bob Dylan traveling 30 miles to someone’s house (a ‘friend of a friend’) to hear a Robert Johnson album. The music was hard to find.

Now, if you want to hear the newest, hottest, local band someone from a far away place mentions, you hit their web page. Even if they don’t have EP’s for sale on their website, I’ve never contacted one by email with an offer of 10 bucks and some shipping cash and had them deny my request for a mail order.

Scarcity is a crazy thing, and one that doesn’t exist as much in the digital realm as it does in the real world. You can always make more bits. With a printing press and a load of ink, I could possibly get the words I am writing now to a few hundred people, and it would be a lot of work. With the internet, they can be served up to millions of people (as long as they don’t all arrive at the exact same moment. Moving bits from place to place in the internet is the only real scarcity it has to deal with.) with very little relative work.

As much entertainment is no longer done in person, almost anything you want can be found. When I tell someone about the new ifihadahifi EP, they can go to their website and find out how to get it. The same applies to movies, books, stand up comedy…the list is incredible.

Therefore, cultural movements are no longer strictly geographic. You can’t be interested in something you’ve never heard of, of course, but now you can find anything you’ve heard of at the touch of a few buttons. I think that’s a pretty damned cool thing. I believe it may finally allow talent, and not marketing, to play a larger role in what new media we devour.

So, who should we be paying attention to?

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~ by Benjamin Kenneally on January 11, 2010.

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