Op-Ed: The Future Of Digital – By Bob Lefsetz


I would tweet this…

But then almost none of you would see it.

Despite Twitter telling me I've got in excess of 48,000 followers, unless I break news of a tragedy, I don't have the attention/addiction rate of my e-mail list.

So despite being wary of sending you a third e-mail today, I must. Because this slide deck encapsulates everything that's going to happen tomorrow, which you need to know.

1. We're going to mobile.

2. Android might be winning the population war, but most of the surfing and purchasing is being done on the iPhone.

3. Newspaper advertising revenues have plunged so fast that we're nearing a tragedy of the proportion noted above. "The New York Times" and "Wall Street Journal" are not threatened with extinction, but every other newspaper in America is. Because they've lost their business model. Which was delivering eyeballs to advertisers. Newspapers are in a death spiral. Fewer readers beget less advertising begets a smaller news hole which means…people end up getting their news online.

We've been mobile in music long before everybody else. We had dedicated players known as iPods, we've been ahead of the game. Hell, we've even got streaming apps on mobile handsets from Spotify, Rhapsody, MOG, Rdio and…

Storage is suddenly a non-factor. Most people opt for small storage mobile devices, which don't hold their entire music collection, they rely on the cloud. Which augurs well for streaming services. Furthermore, P2P downloading is incredibly inconvenient on the small screen. In other words, if you wait long enough and ignore the hysteria you can see that people are going to pay for music, recorded music revenues will eventually go up, as long as everybody wraps his head around the concept of low access fees that increase the subscriber base generating a giant pool of money. This is how the mobile handset makers profited to begin with. By lowering prices so everybody could afford a handset and service.

The desktop is dying. If you're in tech you must sleep with one eye open.

But if you're in music, nothing's really changed. It all comes down to a great song. Whether that takes you fifteen minutes or fifteen years to compose. The rest is marketing. But unlike the supermarket, you can get on the shelf for free. (You did know there were slotting fees in supermarkets, right? That suppliers paid to have their wares displayed?)

In a crazy, crowded, mixed-up, shook-up world your main weapon is quality. That's how you cut through the b.s.

Not that everybody likes the best thing. But frequently the best is also ear-pleasing.

It might be a wilderness out there, but you've got access to ears.


(And scan through this slide deck while you're at it. Which is almost impossible to do on a mobile handset. You see our medium, music, fits on the handset quite well. But the PowerPoint presentation…not so good.)

P.S. Literally as I wrote this Mary Meeker released her year-end trends report. You can read a summary here: http://tcrn.ch/11uHdh8.

You can scroll down the page and click through all 88 slides of her deck yourself, but the content is not as easily digestible as that of the "Business Insider" deck.

Having said that, here are a few jaw-dropping statistics:

"In India, Mobile Traffic Surpassed Desktop Internet Usage in May, 2012"

"Mobiles + Tablets = 24% of Online Shopping on Black Friday in 2012 (vs. 6% Two Years Ago), iOS 4x greater than Android"

"29%+ of USA Adults Own Tablet/eReader, Up from 2% Less Than Three Years Ago"