The New Revolution

Approximately five years ago a survey was done of youth in all corners of the world. Teens and twenties were asked what impacted their culture more than anything else. Without exception, all of the surveyed countries had the same response. “MTV.” The media we produce and distribute all over the world truly does impact cultures.


As much as we hear about our media impacting culture, I am still surprised when I see it beyond the areas one normally imagines. Two examples come to mind…


         A few years ago our family supported an inner city family with gifts and food for Christmas. We drove into the core of Seattle. Residents lived in small homes, all badly in need of repair. As we walked in the front door we were greeted by eight excited kids and their day time sitter. The inside of the house was in greater need of repair than the outside. Clothes were old and somewhat tattered. Food was sparse in the cupboards. Even here, the latest video game console, a large TV, and a full stereo system were present. In some ways, these were serving along with the sitter to keep the family entertained while Dad and Mom were off at work.


         I had the opportunity to go to India this April. What I witnessed in India is a culture of middle class and abject poverty living side by side. We walked three blocks from the office building where we were working to a local coffee shop. On the route we passed people sleeping in the dirt on the side of the road. The coffee shop floor had the same red-brown dirt on its floor as had made up the side road we’d walked. A narrow stairway led to the upper floor of “Café Coffee Day” for patrons to sit and enjoy the java and the company of their friends. As we walked up the stairs I heard music. I expected a local group and possibly even traditional Hindu music. After all, the favorite artists of the local team we worked with were Hindi artists unfamiliar to my playlist. What greeted my ears was American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone.” 


Digital media can take us far beyond the normal markets we might think of serving. This can benefit both user and creator.

Negroponte’s “Atoms to bits” – that simple phrase encompasses so much. The change from physical to fully digital offers us hope, opportunity, and challenges. Atoms to bits. We are still at the beginning of this new era. As much as the Renaissance period or the Industrial Revolution changed the world, the digital and “p2pREVOLUTION™” will change ours. Last year, less than one percent of all music bought was purchased digitally. The numbers for digital movie purchases are even lower. In the next few years we will see a transformation of media use, sharing, and consumption beyond anything we have seen in our history to date. Business models that have supported vast media empires are changing so quickly that many of yesterday’s titans will fall. New opportunities, unimagined to date, beckon us. One thing is certain – You can’t stop the music!


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