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Technology Changes, What People Want Doesn’t

I’ve used this cartoon from Hugh before. It’s one of my favourites because it says something which I think is fundamentally important but is sometimes forgotten in the rush to try and make sense of the technology-driven changes in communications and media.

A couple of things I’ve read recently have echoed a similar point. The week that Pavarotti died, Simon Jenkins wrote a great comment piece in the Guardian on how the collapse in recorded music profits is mirrored by a rise in live performance as people seek out the "thrill of the real" and performers can command increasingly higher margins (N.B.the number of recent old-rocker reunions, a point noted by this piece from The Economist…hat-tip to Lee). The point is that the business model may have changed but people’s love of music hasn’t:

internet has not suppressed demand for "old-fashioned" cultural experiences
but liberated it and aided those ready to meet it. The message of this summer
is that technology may propose but people will still dispose."

Similarly, this Millward Brown piece on the Youth Market makes the point that whilst the role of all media is beginning to merge and overlap, technology is enabler for the young, not the end game.

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