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When you read the requirements, the outgoing head of state is undeniably qualified for the job. But in the unlikely event he applies, getting the music industry back to its former strength seems as Herculean a task as the job he’s leaving
Maybe as an insider, Obama can help.
And this week the company responded, posting a job titled President of Playlists.
Data out this week from BuzzAngle is expected to show that subscription music streaming, offered by services that also include Apple Music and the musician-owned Tidal, has exploded in Canada, up more than 300 per cent from 2015.
Joel Blit, a specialist in the economics of innovation at the University of Waterloo, says the golden days for the music industry, back when we bought music in cardboard sleeves and plastic boxes, is gone for good.
For consumers, the new system is fabulous. No expensive stereo equipment. No shelves full of records or CDs. Just a phone. It’s so convenient, music isn’t worth stealing anymore.
“It has created a lot of public benefit, but that benefit hasn’t gone to the people who have been creating it,” says Blit. “If it gets too extreme, you get into a position where no one is going to create the [music] in the first place because there is nothing in it for them.”
The strange thing about the arts, including music, is that the urge to create means that people seem to be willing to keep on creating even though they are not earning a living wage.
Perhaps it’s the Harry Potter effect, where the unknown welfare mom writes a blockbuster novel at her kitchen table that goes on to be rejected by 12 publishers before she eventually becomes a royalty billionaire.
But since the same phenomenon applies to other parts of what might be described as the knowledge and information sector, there may be something else going on in the economics, according to Brian Cozzarin, who studies the management of technology at Waterloo.
Cozzarin says the internet has democratized knowledge.
“It’s actually a very good thing because in the past you used knowledge as power, and power was money,” he says. “And nowadays someone in India can access the same information on Wikipedia as I can, whereas even 20, 30 years ago they couldn’t.”
And even as the number of people using the information climbs into the billions, no one makes a profit from it. He says that repeatedly the economists fail to find the results of that spreading knowledge in statistics like GDP.
Clearly as we create more knowledge, as we create more music and innovation and use computers to share it, we are making the world a richer place.
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