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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Things that will change--greatly--with the next generations

I've noticed a few things about the preferences of the next, younger generations, that are different--vastly different--from the way America and Americans are now. There will be big changes with the coming younger people. Whole economies will be turned upside down, if not eliminated entirely:

First thing I noticed is that they have vastly, vastly different preferences for ways to spend their time. Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to computers and television.

The younger the person, the less likely they are to watch TV, period. At least, they don't watch it on a television set.  Instead, they spend far more of their time--frequently all their spare time--on their computers.

That's a big change in and of itself.

A second part of that is that they don't need or want "cable TV." They wouldn't even think of paying for a TV subscription, let alone what it costs at present.

Those factors alone will bode hugely in change and changes for TV providers like Cox, Time Warner Cable®, Comcast, AT&T® and the like. They will have to transform themselves greatly in just a few short years. Big changes are going to come.

Second, or, in a way, thirdly, a big change is that younger people want and own fewer cars. As in none, in many cases. That will mean huge changes in transportation for our country, certainly.  Maybe more car poolers?  Mass transportation?  It seems likely.

Third, not only will entire industries be racked by change, with some, lots, maybe, even likely, entire cities and towns will also be racked by change. One city right now is going through such a change, with no optimistic outcome in sight.

That city is Branson, Missouri.

Formerly, millions of dollars were made, rather famously, on the idea of people driving or busing into that city in order to see the various shows, performers, singers and other acts at this Northwest Arkansas hamlet.

No longer.

Last Summer, the again famous "Shepherd of the Hills" show closed after decades of performances.

Branson seems to be next.

The senior citizens that formerly used to stream through the city have either seen enough of the shows or, worse, they're literally dying. From what I understand, the theaters down there are quietly for sale, behind the scenes. It seems they can be bought for fractions of what they were once worth. It stands to reason. The younger people don't want to and will not be going there for their entertainment. It's in no way their style entertainment.

Side note:  If the Walton family, of the Walmart fortune, know what's good for them and Northwest Arkansas, they would step up, pony in some big money---they can easily and well afford---and try to get set up an artist's colony-type arrangement in the town and area, much like Asheville, North Carolina has now. I think it could help the burg and that area transition to a better, newer, functioning, surviving, even thriving area and economy. If they don't or someone doesn't, I'd look for Branson, one day, and possibly, very likely one day very soon, to be a rather hollowed-out, sad and run down place of yesteryear unless they or someone very like them--Tyson Foods? someone--steps in.

We shall see, of course, on all.


Sevesteen said...

I'm old enough to have grandkids in school. I personally wouldn't bother with cable unless it was the best way to get reasonable speed internet.

Owning cars depends on where you live. It isn't practical to be car-less for most people where I am. I also wonder if the complexity of modern cars has something to do with it--Modern cars are more reliable overall, but have a lot more things that cost more to fix than the car is worth, or at least more than a teenager will have immediately available.

Modern music distribution troubles me, but I think it's going to get better. The era around the 70's was a pleasant aberration--It was still possible to be a local artist without a day job, the balance between commercialism and artistic integrity was about right. Full artistic integrity isn't necessarily the best, you wind up with Lou Reed and Miles Davis, talented artists who only musicians love.

The record companies (I think we're down to 3 majors now?) are loosing their stranglehold, artists can gain a following without them. Same thing with books--independent publishing is allowing another channel of books to be published, with some of those authors moving to traditional publishers.

I don't see any way a Walmart founded artists colony would work. Even if it were successful, we'd just get more commercial, sanitary Thomas Kincaid type artists, or their equivalent in music or other formats.

Mo Rage said...

With "cable" getting more and more expensive, I see more and more people eventually bailing on it.

As for cars, you're right, most of America isn't set up for going car-less. That said, some of the kids are doing it. Naturally, they're doing it by depending on others but still, they're doing it and in significant numbers.

Modern music distribution is being taken over by the artists themselves. Some of the best indicators of this right now are Solala, Pentatonix and Lake Street Dive. They create their own music, of course, and then post it on YouTube, as the best example. They seem to be making it. Then, for smaller name groups, there's Kickstarter and other online sites to help them raise funds. It's far from perfect but at least some corporation isn't buying them up, taking all the money and starving the artists.

Lou Reed and Miles Davis? "...talented artists who only musicians love"? They made millions, each, and it wasn't just from other musicians.

Asheville, North Carolina is a great example of one of these artist colonies that both works AND doesn't end up with, like your example, Thomas Kincaid-type artists (God forbid). And it should only be an initial infusion of money to get it started, too, not an ongoing dependency. If it matters to anyone, Branson is going to die as it is. Some, maybe plenty, would cheer. For anyone in that area who either depends on it for a living or who just cares, if it doesn't evolve into something else soon, it's going to collapse in on itself, financially and economically.

Sevesteen said...

"by depending on others"...that's the key. Not just cooperative dependence, but in general having someone else pay the bulk of the costs as well. NYC is one of the American systems where riders pay the largest share of fares, even that leave 45% subsidized.

The Starland Vocal Band (and I'm not claiming that they are better) peaked higher than the highest albums of Miles Davis, Lou Reed or Velvet Underground. Have you listened to Bitches Brew? Almost everyone into jazz who doesn't actually play has a copy that they've listened to once and then put away. The joke of Velvet Underground is that their first album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought one started a band. Lou has some minor hits after VU, but he's always been more cult than anything else.

I didn't say creating an artist's colony was impossible...just not with Walmart.

Mo Rage said...

Is there no benefit to be acknowledged for the "greater good"?

On Miles And Lou Reed and, in fact, on any artist you don't "get", just because we don't get them, doesn't mean it has no value or listening pleasure. What about Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side"?

Why couldn't one or more of the Waltons make a contribution to Branson transforming itself into a successful artists colony? I shouldn't think there's any reason they couldn't. Or even wouldn't.

Sevesteen said...

Walk on the Wild Side is a great song...but also Lou's most pop-influenced despite the content--and I suspect that if people knew what the lyrics were referring to, it wouldn't have gone that far. Have you listened to more than 3 or 4 Lou Reed or Velvet Underground songs in the past 3 or 4 years?

Lots of Miles is great and accessible to mere mortals...but again, have you listened to Bitches Brew? I'm not saying it shouldn't have been released--by that time Miles had more than paid his dues.

The Waltons could easily make a contribution...but what sort of artists would that attract? I think it would get commercial illustrators and jingle writers, not artists and musicians.

Mo Rage said...

On both Lou Reed and Miles, I make your point. I almost singularly only really hear "Walk on the Wild Side" and while I do have a Miles CD, I rarely listen to it, truth be told, and have never once heard "Bitches Brew."

Good artists are desperate, too, you know.