Thoughts about Music, Photography and Videos

testMusic is auditory – it is virtually painless to use, requires minimal attention and therefore, with the ease of access which online services provide, it was just a question of breaking down various barriers. And with every device imaginable in the market offering some sort of musical playback, it’s virtually impossible NOT to escape from music and its mesmerizing effect. Think Spotify, iTunes, Grooveshark. On demand and on your fingertips. Except, for the content, there is a small problem of getting noticed. And for this generation, it’s a lot more magnified and amplified than ever.

Photographs are visual, yet at the same time, it has never been easier than before to click photos. With mobile phones doubling up as powerful cameras, anyone can be an amateur photographer. And with the rise of web based photo editing services like Instagram, Flickr, etc. one can eke out professional looking photographs with relative ease. Also memes and LoLCats are the established norm. What is next?

Videos. Oddly enough, even though videos are a combination of visual and audio, they’ve never been a focused market. TV shows and music videos would fall under this category. TV shows have widespread appeal through their audience, which is estimated through TRP, yet only the wildly popular shows are actually bought. And music videos have been used mostly for promotional purposes, rather than an actual means of sales. iTunes offers users to purchase TV shows and music videos, but users would rather hit up YouTube or DailyMotion to stream the video than actually play it. I think that even though videos are underrated, they have been instrumental in promoting today’s culture of wanting free goods, quick access and quality at the same time. The reason why YouTube is so popular is because of the idea that ‘if I wanna see something, I can find it on YouTube.’ Also videos are the new trendsetters and hotspots for viral thought. Gangnam Style? Harlem Shake? Yep, we’re good.

Image courtesy of: mapichai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Quicksand in Book Selling

Bookshops could charge for browsing. Stunned? And then laughter? Or maybe a ‘what the hell’ thing? You’re not alone. That was my first and initial reaction when I read about this idea thrown forward by Victoria Barnsley. And the C.E.O of HarperCollins, one of the Big 5 to boot. Apparently, Victoria Barnsley thinks that the physical bookshop’s existence is the biggest question that publishers feel at the moment. She’s more or less right and I do agree with her to some degree. However, her remedy is not at all correct. You can’t expect a potential buyer to pay up a fee just for browsing. And if in the rare case, pay to browse bookshops did exist, it would mean the true death of bookshops and push the customers towards online retailing.

#FutureFoylesRather, what Ms Barnsley should take notice of, is how Foyles is trying to reinvent itself. The last few weeks have seen Foyles hosting crowd-sourcing workshops to get new ideas and feedback as to how it can survive in an digital world. The problem is how geared books are towards online retailing. They are compact, inexpensive and can be transported relatively quickly. Amazon realised this early on and now it is reaping the results of its foresight, even if we may decry its growing power.

So what can be done? In the near future, a day might come when there are no bookshops in the world, and everything is done digitally. Or there might come a day when publishers choose to put all their eggs in the bookstores basket and cut ties with Amazon. Perhaps they could elect to have a single, uniform platform solely run by themselves, even. Lastly, bookshops reinvent themselves and become centres where both print and digital books can be sold painlessly and hassle free, whilst having the best of both worlds.