Here is a list of some institutions that are about to face hard times or disappear altogether.
It is already half dead. A combination of greed, science and ego has brought rock music to its knees. Greed, because the record labels sought out acts that would sell, not necessarily the best acts.
Science, because radio programmers “researched” superstars out of existence and did not allow new ones to develop. The acts that were successful had short careers. Eventually they lost the support of radio and then the fans. So much of the industry depended on airplay and when that went away, so did their career. Technological improvements obviously have played a huge role in the demise of music in general. Less money coming into the labels, less money going for development and marketing.
Ego’s role was that everyone believed they were right. Unfortunately not enough bands were developed. Hybrids of rock music are equally as relevant. Alternative or Modern Music is no longer the force in music it once was. Only pop and urban music seem to have staying power. Is it a coincidence that this is where the bulk of industry dollars get spent? No one cares about the future, just the next quarter. By the way, we should also throw Eliot Spitzer into the mix. This hypocrite also played a significant role. But that is another blog.
HDTV is to sports, what Napster was to the music industry. People are starting to stay home instead of paying the ridiculous prices for tickets and in some cases Personal Seat Licenses. Why spent $1000 and deal with the crowds, when you can stay home and watch the same game and see it better from your reclining chair. The food is better also and you can slip in a quick nap when things get slow. In the near future, teams will no longer be able to pay the salaries the players are demanding. Who will be the first superstar to sign for $2 million instead of $20 million? Both MLB and the NFL are spending a lot of time trying to figure this problem out. I don’t know if there is a solution? The NHL can’t get out of its own way and the NBA won’t be successful until there is another Michael Jordan.
With a few exceptions the big concert is headlined by a band that broke before many of you were born. Bruce Springsteen is 62, Dylan is over 70 and Mick Jagger can get into the movies for half price. How much longer can these guys still tour? There is no one left to take their place either. Most of the bands from the 80s have not survived and practically no bands from the 90s or beyond can draw enough people. There are lots of reasons for this (See first paragraph). There is also an interesting phenomenon going on at this time. Many of the people willing to pay hundreds of dollars to see these acts are people who are successful now and never saw these acts when they were younger. I overheard a 40 something, female professional, say that she “recently saw Bruce Springsteen and he was really good.” No shit!! What were you doing from 1973-1990, listening to Debbie Gibson and New Kids on the Block records? These are not music fans. They are people who are just looking for something to do.
The network that changed our culture is facing a crisis. People no longer go to MTV to see new videos. I was at MTV when we decided to make it a lifestyle channel instead of a video channel. The reason for the change was because “The Channel” was used like a radio station, but rated like a television station. We needed to improve the quarter hour ratings. It worked, but now things have to change. There are a dozen broadcast networks and cable networks that have better programming, reality and otherwise. Perhaps the answer is to go back to playing only videos. MTV would have to be on the cutting edge and give people all the new music they want in one place. That is the only way to fight Youtube. It would have to be very interactive, but it would work. The convenience of just turning on your TV, as opposed to surfing the net for your new music could work.
A COLLEGE EDUCATION
Does it make sense to spend $200,000 or more on an education and then not be able to find a job? 50% of college grads can’t find work in the field they studied. There are too many Engineering majors working at Whole Foods and Starbucks.
When I was a kid, getting a college education almost guaranteed you a career. This is not even close to being true anymore. The world needs plumbers too. Skilled laborers and craftsman will be a very legitimate career path in the near future. If you are good you can make lots of money. The biggest benefit is that these kids won’t have college loans on which they can default.
TWO PARTY SYSTEM
This was yet another election year that most of us were faced with voting for “the lesser of two evils”. Obama will get the chance to keep some of the promises he made the first time around. He will have a chance to build on his legacy, not fight Jimmy Carter for the least effective administration in the history of the United States. For good reason, many smart people had a hard time getting behind Romney. With Romney’s vision of the future, you also get some of the very conservative views of the Republican Party. Why can’t someone be in favor of Pro-Choice and smaller government? I guess this is why I am an independent. The Republicans must change their direction or get used to coming in second for the next 20 years. The Constitution contains nothing about political parties. It is time for a third. Let’s call it the Reasonable Party. Why can’t you be fiscally conservative and socially compassionate. Why does being a Democrat automatically mean you are in favor of Big Government. It is quickly becoming more about issues than ideology.
Green Energy has taken a big hit in the recent election. No one is talking about it. Instead they are talking about drilling for oil and using the natural gas under our country. What happened to the reality that these are resources that will eventually disappear? Not one mention of this in the debates. The warming of our planet also has seemed to go the way of Al Gore. Think of how many jobs could be created. This is one of the promises that our President did not keep during his first four years.
THE GREATEST COUNTRY
I grew up believing that America was the greatest country in the world. In the HBO series “Newsroom” there is a stirring speech in the first episode. The lead character is on a panel and states that maybe we aren’t the best nation in the world anymore. It makes you think. We don’t have the best economy. We don’t have the best educated population. We don’t have the best healthcare system or the longest life expectancy. Our standard of living has taken a substantial hit as well. There are countries that top us in each of these categories. Why can’t we have it all? We once did and we can again.
Most of the reason for these changes in our lifestyle can be traced back to advances in technology. It makes the Industrial Revolution look like a church picnic.
Billy Beane, Brad Pitt’s character in “Money Ball” told his head scout “adapt or die”. We must embrace these changes and find the way to continue to strive to make our lives better. Often this will not look like the smartest economical move, but it has to be done. For once, our future has to take priority over who will make the most money.