If you want it, you can have it. Right now, anytime anyplace. Streaming
services are all the rage. It’s immediate but it’s not permanent. You get a
bite but no lasting satisfaction. If you want to go back and savor those
feelings again, it’s gonna cost you. Welcome to the real world of streaming.
There was a great article on the Minnpost web site a while back. It was
entitled: Protecting Physical Media in an Age of Streaming written by Joshua
Badroos. I wanted to share some of his thoughts here because it struck me as an
interesting insight into today’s approach to sharing… practically anything.
Joshua writes:” The constant shuffling of online media between major
steaming conglomerates has resulted in physical media’s futility in the eyes of
the general public. We live in the streaming age, but it’s also an age where
the cultural impact of art preservation is needed now more than ever.”
I’ve had books on my shelves for many years. A lot of them came from my
perusing the Better World Books website in their bargain bin and specials
categories. It’s a book library I can go back to and revisit every ten years or
so when my memory bank has finally let them go to dust and rereading them
brings back only happy memories. Picture books are like that; treasures that
never get old.
Joshua continues: “Art preservation is at the forefront of this
streaming puzzle because of the cultural significance of owning physical media.
Much like artifacts, art has been replaced, lost and not protected. Now,
instead of encouraging ownership of your favorite titles, businesses that still
champion the physical media medium are fighting an uphill battle.”
The physical media that Joshua refers to can take on almost any form
and function. My vinyl and CD collection isn’t the greatest but it does hold
numerous memories for me. The same is true of my 8-track tape collection. Of
course, at this stage in the game, the only place I can play them are my record
player and my old Buick back in Palm Springs. But they’re still useable and
enjoyable to use.
Timothy Wilson, owner of Urban Lights Music, spoke on the importance of
connecting to music in today’s streaming era. He said: “People are not in touch
with music as much…music doesn’t have a shelf life anymore. When we used to
open an album, we could see who produced the song and who wrote the song. Now
nobody talks about what came out two weeks ago; they’re wondering what’s coming
out two weeks from now because there’s no physical attachment to it anymore.”
Artists are on the losing end of this equation too. Wilson continues:
“At the end of the day, a physical sale is worth more to an artist than the
stream. Their stream is worth three-tenths of a penny. Whereas I can still buy
an album and it might cost me 20, 30, or 40 bucks, but now the artist actually
makes more for their art.”
Joshua’s conclusions said it best: “Taking the steps now to seek out
and contribute to the resurgence of buying DVDs and records won’t just add to
your bookshelf at home; it’ll play a role in art preservation for future
The same argument could be made for owning a home instead of renting,
leasing something instead of buying it or subscribing instead of an outright
purchase. In the end, it probably comes down to which approach best fits your
lifestyle, income and personal preferences. I like to own physical property so
I can watch it, listen to it, and know that it’s always there, ready to be
taken off the shelf whenever the mood strikes me.
Amen to that.