On our Podcasting Bootcamp call last week Tim (my guest star for that week) and I were talking about the trends that podcasting and blogging embody. I talked about my background in the hteatre and performing arts and how essentially podcasting is the exact opposite of theatre.
In theatre everyone shows up at the agreed upon location at the agreed upon time and enjoys the same content produced live and on the spot in front of them.
With podcasting anyone can be anywhere at anytime and enjoy their own customized, microsegmented content already produced, piped right into their ears or eyes.
My old classmate Brigitte and I drove home together for the holidays – she lives in La Grange. We were talking about all the things that we wished we’d been told in acting school. I think that encouraging actors and performing artists to embrace the online world is primary to their survival. If you think in terms of a product funnel, the live performance is the at the bottom of the funnel, the most expensive thing. Ron had asked one of my friends how much she got paid for a recent Chicago theatre production in which she was the star. She got paid nothing. Ron was taken aback and I sort of forget how most folks don’t get how economically prohibitive it is to produce theatre in the United States. The ‘problem’ is that people will do it for free. If you look at rates of employment, the stage actors union is probably the worst union in the country. It is a bit like the row about digital rights and music. You have the music and movie industry struggling to hold on to an outmoded distribution system and format, lobbying to cripple all hardware made. There is no constitutionally protected right to profits. No business model is safe. With media productions studio becoming smaller and more portable anyone can produce quality music or movies. And maybe they won’t make a living from it. Maybe they can’t. Really, maybe the music distributors and gatekeepers won’t be able to make as much money as they used to. So much technology these days seems to be about ‘getting out of the way’ of your customers. But can that sustain an economy – especially here in the US with a housing bubble/correction, outlandish prospects for energy, 2 wars draining the country, a massive national debt owned by foreign investors? "Oh Andy, you’re just turning into a socialist again."
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