Allow me to speak for the Tortoise
Jon Bischke over at Learn out Loud had a great blog posting on how rapid change in media consumption is creating the need for us media distributors to look at business in a new way. Looking at things in a new way, especially in delivering better and innovative services to our customers is always a good idea. But I want to comment on the rapidity of change.
The press in all forms hypes new technologies, and predicts the imminent demise of the current way of doing things. They’re almost always wrong. This isn’t because they’re stupid – it’s because writing about new things is interesting. It attracts eyeballs. Talking about process improvements and gradual change is boring, even though it’s the reality of nearly all businesses.
In this much-hyped era of online delivery of digital content, much is made of the demise of old school technology like CDs and (shudder) Tapes. Look at the statistics though. 30% of audiobook consumption is still in Tape form, 24 YEARS after the introduction of CDs as a mainstream technology. Spoken Word direct download became commercial either in 1998, or 2003, depending on whether you think iTunes is what kicked it off (vs Audible).
Here’s the real stat – only 3% of the commercial music business is download, even five years after this industry supposedly got decimated by the availability of download. Yes we can make all sorts of arguments about pirating and its effects. But industries and formats just don’t change that fast.
That doesn’t diminish Jon’s point of course that the audiobook industry should be innovative and customer focused. It’s just not because direct download is about to dominate. This past year, CDs had more new customers than download did. And that’ll be true for awhile yet.