Hollywood screenwriter and part-time Eddie Stubbs impersonator John August has blogged in response to my response to his podcast in response to trends in... and I've gone cross-eyed.
Mr. August's blog post can be found here: http://johnaugust.com/2012/ownership-in-a-digital-age
His argument is very persuasive and the benefits of this kind of cloud-style renting scheme are clear. I suspect, as with many technological innovations, the tipping point will be generational. Just the generation of adolescents to follow my own have entered a world in which digital music downloading is a norm and not something they have to adjust to, future generations of kids will ease into a cloud service without reservations.
The biggest hurdle for me is the lack of a transfer of control. The media is controlled by a company, to whom you pay for the privilege of watching it. If your relationship with the company is compromised in any number of ways, you lose that access.
I've been buying DVDs for eleven years now, and my attitudes regarding media ownership have been shaped by my experiences through that period. Were I born today, my adolescent experiences would probably leave me with a very different perspective.
In matters such as these, it's always good to refer to Douglas Adams' rules governing our reactions to technology:
1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;
2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;
3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.
Apply this list to movies, rock music, word processors and mobile phones to work out how old you are.
I'm a little over eight years shy of thirty, but I've often been told I have the mind of an elderly British person.
The last paragraph of Mr. August's blog strikes an optimistic tone:
But that’s me. I rarely re-watch movies. I rarely re-read books. For folks wired the other way — which I suspect is a sizable majority — ownership of atoms makes a lot of sense. I think we’ll continue to have ways to buy physical books and movies. It’s not either/or.
Aside from my surprise that August rarely re-watches movies - I thought addiction of that kind was epidemic among writers and directors - this presents a hopeful picture of the path forward.
I see the points in the plus column on this - I know plenty of, mostly my age, people who'd love to the cloud services reach prominence. I just hope they continue to cater to us old timers who like stacking things on our shelves.
Now that's enough procrastination. Time to get back to writing my Sarah Palin origin story screenplay...