Friday, June 19, 2015

Spotify and Amazon may be dying, but I'm eating them up!

Well, I did for my last birthday, anyway. And my kids' birthdays. Everything was ordered from Amazon, and it was great—cheap, delivered quickly, and everything correct in the packages. There's a lot of controls for quality in place, ensuring that people get what they paid for on Amazon.

Could you imagine the PR fiasco that would ensue if there weren't those assurances in place? Imagine getting something in the mail you ordered, only it's not the right thing. You're incredibly far away from the seller. You don't have their number. You have to put effort into sending it back, and then waiting more weeks to maybe get the actual thing you ordered.

Anyway. This is a music blog. I just read this Cracked article by Jason Iannone, entitled, "6 Famous Companies You Had No Clue Were Dying." One of the companies is Amazon. I'm just glad they're here, and that I have access thru mail to basically anything I want!

It's good.
Same with Spotify. Last month I became a paying subscriber, after years of listening with ads. Now that I'm a paying member, the sound, selection, and flow of music is better. It pays to subscribe to Spotify. Who knows, maybe if enough people do it, they'll start to make some money?

It's a tough sell. The more aggressive they get with trying to get people to pay—increasing limits on free listening—the more they risk alienating people. Offering deals on paid subscription? Now that's smart advice—that's what got me to subscribe. Also it was just the right time for me. It felt right.

The cool thing about Spotify is that they don't throw shit in your face as aggressively as cable does. Now cable? That big ass thing can die—I don't care. PR agencies will have to find new strategies to market their clients. Cable's getting them less and less eyeballs as time goes by.

Not to mention that the cable industry is giant, and when it topples it's going to both make a huge BOOM and kick up a lot of dust, and make more room for smarter, more modern versions. The more shows that go straight to Netflix and Hulu (a company too anchored to cable, IMO), the more cable TV's influence decreases, and conversely the more power show creators have to get their work in front of viewers.

Why is cable dying? I blame the ads. They talk to me like I'm a moron. On cable, is it just me, or do the ads talk down to you more than on Hulu or Spotify? It seems like the direction advertising between shows and songs is going is to treat us more like adults. It's evil in its own way—smart people need smarter tricks to be tricked—but companies have to make money.

I haven't subscribed to cable TV in my entire life, and I've never felt like I've been missing out on anything—especially when I broke down, subscribed to Hulu, and saw that everything on cable is still pretty stupid and unwatchable. The suspension of disbelief required just seems like a waste of my time—for the shows, not the ads. For the ads, it's a given—MUTE.

What's good TV for me lately? I dunno, this is a music blog.

Let's get back to Spotify. They totally rule. Great selection. I hope they can come up with a new model to attract sponsors and advertisers, and a new way to advertise. Banner ads are okay, and I don't really mind them. But it's not enough. There needs to be something new, something bigger, something cleaner.

The concept of putting ads inside of and between shows and movies on Hulu or cable, and between songs on Spotify and Pandora, is archaic. It needs to go away. We need a new way to advertise. Internet holds the key. It's going to take some inspired entrepreneurship to design the next big thing. Meanwhile, everyone's waiting, suspending disbelief, grinding their teeth during the ads.

Or worse, people succumb to the ads, actually get tricked by their dumbass trickery, and buy, buy, buy. When ads come on in my house, they get muted. My wife and kids do it now, too. It's so nice. None of us want to hear that shit, not even my 4- and 6-year-olds.

And I feel proud of myself for instilling this in them. It hopefully means they'll be less susceptible to bullshit as they grow and become adults. My older one is already really guarded, and more introverted than her sister. She's more like me than her mom, I think. But my dad always muted the ads when we'd watch cable tv as a family, doing the "TGIF" thing one of those major networks, with shows like "Boy Meets World," and "Family Matters," and that one with Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Somers. Good times, great shows for me as a pre-teen. I ate that shit up.

And I still love eating up great products. The only problem is—they need money to survive! And I'm poor! Maybe some wealth distribution needs to happen? Bernie Sanders, anyone?