#TBT: 3 Ways You’re Wrong About Live Entertainment, Part I

Happy #TBT! Here’s an oldie-but-goodie post from Jim: 3 Ways You’re Wrong About Live Entertainment, Part I. [Read Part II and III.]

Personally, you may not be wrong about all three or any of these things, but collectively, these are some of the most widely held misconceptions about the live entertainment business, and it’s time to set the record straight.

Below, I’ll dismiss one of these vicious misconceptions and give you the real story, so as to help you avoid tragic perdition on your otherwise uninterrupted path to success …

Misconception No. 1: New technologies are making actually going out a thing of the past. I heard an otherwise super-intelligent venture capitalist say this recently [circa 2009], and when I asked him what his evidence for that was, he said that he didn’t have evidence, but that’s what he believed.

And here I thought people like that based their views of the market on data and actual information. Silly me.

The fact is that all the different technologies that have developed over the past decade have made live entertainment more attractive, as there are more ways than ever to reach people with it, make the content seem appealing and give potential buyers ways to connect to it. I saw a poster for a 1998 poster for a performance at the LA Opera recently and what jumped out at me is that there was no website link.

Think about that: No website link means that if you want to know more about the show, you’d have to … I don’t know … go searching through microfiche in the library to see if an article had been written about it?

I know what you’re saying: “Jim, that’s crazy, and making up words like ‘microfiche’ isn’t going to help.”

But it’s true. All the new information technologies open the doors of information to these shows in ways that would simply have not existed before.

Meanwhile, all the same technologies make digitally distributable products less valuable. (Read Chris Anderson’s outstanding article “Free” to understand this more.) And that, in turn, has the effect of making live entertainment, therefore, more relatively valuable.

Oh, and here’s a nice piece of evidence for the rise of live over recorded. In one of the only studies of this kind of thing, economist Will Page found that in the U.K. last year, live music outearned recorded music in 2008 for the first time.

I very much doubt it’s limited to the U.K. or to live music, but if there are those who want to believe that, they’ll probably be able to live in denial for another few years before it becomes overwhelmingly obvious.

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