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  • 10.14.10

Have a Cigar

A parallel has been drawn between travel distribution and music distribution. Specifically, as to how the music distribution business has undergone changes that have decimated many of the industry leaders. This change seemed bad at first–that is, until Apple stamped it with a brand new spin and gee-whizzed some not terribly creative ways to make a buck at it.

A parallel was
drawn by this party between travel distribution and music distribution.
Specifically, as to how the music distribution business recently has undergone
changes that have decimated many of the companies which formerly occupied
strong positions in the business. This change seemed bad at first–that is,
until someone stamped it with a brand new spin and gee-whizzed some not
terribly creative ways to make a buck at it. This company, as you might have
guessed, is that darling of conspicuous technological affluence, Apple.

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I’m not going into
it. Other bloggers more technologically adept than I already have. The long and
the short of it is that a full album costs the same as it used to; listening to
singles is not an “innovation,” nor is selling them. Predictably
enough, when piracy became accepted and iTunes
became the new Virgin Megastore
(content limitations, ditzy staff, et all), fewer records got sold, fewer
people made a living, and less music got made. What does get made is lowest-common-denominator stuff found
packaged with movies, celebrity-approved designer fragrances, and expensive
sweatsuits.

Do you listen to
better music than you did in 1997? I didn’t think so. Do kids save up their
allowances and count down the days until the release of the album they’ve been
waiting for from their favorite band? I don’t think so. Yes, there is a reason for this.

Back to travel.
Where does all of this put us? Luckily or not, try as you might, you cannot
‘pirate’ an airline seat or a hotel night. The type of malfeasance involved in
not paying for travel is pretty widely frowned upon in our society (e.g.,
credit card fraud, email phishing scams, identity theft) and therefore the
logic doesn’t quite stand in the comparison. If one were to argue that Geffen,
DreamWorks, and major music retail chains had it coming to them for some other
reason than the widespread acceptance of music piracy, then one would be flatly
wrong.

So, since the
discussion is ridiculous on its face; let’s continue for fun. Do we as a
traveling public want the outcome of the music industry to befall travel? As in
an outcome in which we have less choice, less competition, and more price
control? Getting fewer choices for the same price? Granted, iTunes gets better
and better, but there’s all kinds of stuff missing, especially classical tunes.
And for what it’s worth, CDs have a higher sampling rate and sound better than
digital files. Vinyl sounds
better–and is way more fun.

If you’d like to
post a comment and disagree, please do so. But don’t bother writing that I work
for a global
distribution system
.

Yes, I work for a
GDS.

Pink Floyd famously
parodied the now-extinct backslapping record executive in their song “Have a Cigar.”
As much as we all enjoy a laugh, let’s not dance on the grave of the record
industry fat cat. Now that Mr. Fatcat is gone, defunct, extinct, there’s
another group of twentysomething forward-thinking musicians like Pink Floyd out
there right now. The difference is, you will never, ever, hear of them.

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Road Warrior • Miami • Madrid • www.amadeus.com

About the author

I travel a lot, like many of us. And I work for Amadeus, the largest transaction processing and IT company in the world serving the travel industry.

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