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Spencer Ferri

Just a thinker, and a talker!

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Do we really need an entertainment industry any more?

Do we really need the music industry any more? Do we need nation-wide television series’ and Hollywood films? I’m starting to think big media business represents an out-dated way of creating and sharing information. For long decades they’ve held economic power over the entertainment industry, captaining a ‘way of doing entertainment’ which only allowed for a few of the creative to prosper (and many people who’re in the business of supporting those few!).

I’ve been promoting underground metal music for two years now and have done research onto the inner workings of the music industry. I understand it as a constantly shifting world; businesses rise and fall in shot periods of time, workers and entertainers come and go in shining splendour and the rules of the game change on a month-to-month basis. It is a beast within a beast; however complex the business world seems when compared to an individuals life is how complex the music industry looks when compared to the typical business world!

From my experiences I’ve come to believe that many people in many communities want to function as entertainers and may be able to do with varying degrees of competence. Many of the underground musicians I’ve met have music which is equal or superior in quality to many well-paid musical celebrities. But because the infrastructure built to consume the popular music is so easy for people to use, and the infrastructure so difficult for underground musician, the local entertainment industry is not able to compete against the convenience of modern entertainment.

The internet has done much indeed to change this. Bands have a far easier time then ever before building an independent fan base and through the internet it is possible to become globally popular without corporate help. But Big-Entertainment is still a powerhouse and competition it is an incredible challenge. It’s incredibly difficult for alternative artists to affording anything similar to a media businesses ability to advertise

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  • Feb 17 2012: There's one issue with this question. "Do we need an entertainment industry because of the internet" should be asked more in the way of "How is the entertainment industry changing because of the internet?" Just because access has become more immediate and distribution has become easier doesn't mean that the entertainment industry is being negated. The internet is just changing the way that business is being done, albeit in ways that corporations don't necessarily like. However, the key thing is that even if those corporations were to disappear, the industry would still continue, just not with the negative campaign that's been getting done. The industry would still continue, just in a more open way as a means of production.
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      Feb 17 2012: I don't see why the industry can't undergo a transformation, where national or global entertainment businesses collapse in size to serve a smaller region and a number of new competing companies rise to take their place in other regions. Each regional businesses focuses its attention on the development and advertising of artists within the region, to the region. The internet, buffeted by tourism, assumes its appropriate role as a distributor of entertainment between regions and globally.

      You're right, there will always be an industry. I was ambiguous with my title - I should have said "Do we really need a global entertainment industry?"
      • Feb 17 2012: Even that revision to add in global is tricky because unless the government exerts complete control over the internet, the internet is global. I mean I get what you're try to say. I just don't think it's the right way of saying it. Probably the best question that you could ask is "what would be the next and best logical evolution for the global entertainment industry?"
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    Feb 17 2012: Short answer, no. Entertainment has always been a personal, face-to-face transaction, at least for the first few millennia of human existence. It is only in the last century or so that it has become big business. I think technology like the internet, and particularly the social media that has evolved from it, will actually bring us back to a state where the performer performs for the benefit of those who will listen, much like the jesters and buskers of old. We never really needed suits in the middle, taking their cut, and now (give or take a few billion-dollar lawsuits) their days are numbered. There will always be a mass market willing to buy whatever they are told to buy, but the opportunities for people who simply want to make a living doing what they love are growing all the time. Bring it!
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    Mar 15 2012: Not sure if we we ever needed it.
    It is a strong want to be entertained from the trivial to the life changing.
    I quite like the mix of little people now able to entertain (youtube etc) and the bigger industry.
    Illegal downloading aside there certainly seems to be many people interested in the big budget movies and big music acts.
    If the content is good people will watch and listen regardless of the source.
  • Mar 14 2012: (you'll have to forgive my odd way of expressing myself, English isn't my native language)

    There are a few benefits of an industry, but not in the way/manner it operates now.

    I think it all comes down to the intellectual property. I have a hard time to accept the concept of intellectual property, cos I believe everything should be shared. I think that once the industry loosens up and accepts that sharing is in peoples nature we will be getting to a workable situation.

    Napster was revolutionary and I think you could develop a proper busines model on the Napster concept. Just imagine a central portal on the internet where all media could be found. With media I mean music, movies etc.
    All users up- and download stuff (i.e. using a bittorent like protocol), so bandwidth wouldn't have to be n issue.

    Here is the main condition: 'Old' (which is relative) stuff should be shared freely and for the latest releases one should pay. So, for a song/album/movie etc. which is brand new, you pay a few $, but after a period of time (i.e. year) it's free. Same with movies, i.e. one or two years after it's release it's free.

    One could also think about adding a donate possibility for the 'older' stuff. The donation should directly go to the artist (or his representative). It all comes to trusting people and adjusting the copyright laws. However, the biggest problem would be the industry, who won't agree to the adjustment the copyright laws.
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    Mar 9 2012: I used to think that the internet would be able to democratize...give people more of a chance to let the world know about their talents...become famous..but it's clear with the use of algorithms and the prediction of people's desires that people's tastes and behaviours are being funnelled and filtered and directed. People get directed towards the most popular option every time...the newcomers with little money to advertise never get a look-in. I do a search for Paris and instead of receiving info on an ancient and beautiful European capital, I get videos about a false-blonde heiress going down on blokes. Why? Because most people look for that...so i am forced to put up with it. Personally I'm tired of Beyoncé and Rihanna and Lady Gaga and Adele...are they the only entertainers in the world?
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      Mar 9 2012: I agree with you man. But unfortunately we don't have a free internet. We have a controlled internet. It's still a great tool with a lot dark corners and all sorts of potential for the people who want to break away and explore independent media. But you're right, all the direction goes to those useless pop entertainers. If one wants to find independent entertainment one has to find the path themselves.

      I wonder... If it's possible to create some kind of open-source internet. Instead of the 'internet', we could call it the 'openet'. An internet born out of and supported solely by independent servers, with a focus less on high-data information transfers (such as online gaming) and more about communication/information/independence.
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        Mar 9 2012: I read an article recently which said that a bunch of German Hackers with private backing were trying to put a satellite into space with a censorship-free, advertisement-free internet system aboard. Unhackable. Uncontrollable. That's the way to go.
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    Feb 17 2012: There will always be doors and people with the keys to them. I don't think the internet and devices will ever change that. Maybe change how it operates.

    My thoughts are no, we no longer need the music industry as we've known it. I've been playing with my band for over 10 years and I came to the conclusion many years back that, if you can keep the band together, write your own songs and perform before a real, live audience, then you are doing it.

    Just not making money.
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      Feb 17 2012: Exactly though, the money is the issue. We determine the value of a commodity by how it contributes to our life, and we highly value music. I know many people who haven't been able to keep together their bands and a few who've been playing quality, original music together for many years, and even among those groups people have achieved different levels of exposure with little financial success.

      And these bands persist totally out of the love of playing music. It is not their top goal to be a commercially successful entertainment, but an artist with work which is appreciated for its honest nature.

      But I don't see why we shouldn't change the nature of our music industry so such people can have their cake and eat it to. I'm working through some other beliefs which may include the belief that -no- industry should exist behind entertainment and that all artistic endeavors should be personally pursued creations without a financial focus (meaning no one would be a professional artist).