This is it! For the very first time in France, the music streaming earnings have outgrown the cd sales this year. It’s obvious this trend is here to stay. It is also spreading to many other areas. Why is this interesting and what does this tells us about about society?
The defining question
Why would you indulge in music streaming (or film streaming, for that matter) rather than buy the cd?
That question is the key because you will not answer it the same way whether you’re 25 or 50.
Older generations were defined by possessions. Those were a sign of success. The more you had, the more you were worth as a person. Everything was along this line: buy a house, buy a car, settle down, gather stuff. The people who didn’t go down that path were considered “unstable”, and even a bit weird.
Then came along the Millenials
The term Millenials is all but clear. Born around the 80-90’s, they seem to go against what made those decades. They do not seek to possess at all cost. They delay buying a car, getting married, buying a house. It’s partly because they lack cash and because they value experience over things.
When we see the figures of music streaming overtaking the cd sales, we can guess that Millenials are now taking control. They are quietly pushing forward their way of life. And this should be a warning to all companies run by older generations who believe in the phrase “make it and they will buy it”. Because they won’t.
Behaviour dictated my economics
At times when finding a job is almost as hard as keeping it, scarce ressources are sure to impact day to day life. Millenials must do with expensive flats, overpriced petrol, soaring costs.
So what do they do? They share, just as they do on social networks. They share flats (AirB&B), share cars (BlablaCars), share offices (coworking). Why would they bother with accumulating stuff when they’re always on the move?
Millenials value experience. Going to the concert is better than buying the cd. Travelling is better than collecting books on travel. Someone once said “if you have money, buy some time” and this is taken at face value by Millenials.
Wasting time running after a cd that you might not like anymore in a year seems ludicrous to them. Streaming what you want when you want it appears much more sensible. This seems hard to grasp for older generations. The “what if” is so strong. What if I want to listen to that song again? What is I want to watch that movie in 2 years time? What if I need to go somewhere? Yes, the song and the movie will still be online and someone else is probably going there too and can take you along. It’s a total revolution in viewing the world around us. And it impacts all that we are going to invent.
Maybe this will change with the next generation but the oncoming leaders are the Millenials. Therefore, developement must be made with them in mind. Forget goods unless they ease life. Think services rather than ownership. Value experience over possession.
The paradigm shift is here. Get ready. But don’t you worry. Maybe they are the ones who are right. And if you’re anxious about what’s coming, you can always stream a little music.