New Media is Dead
CDs Still King for Music Sales. iTunes Only 19% of Market.Okay, thought we'd have some fun with that headline. Usually we, like everyone else, tout the strength and exponential growth of new media. However, it's worth noting that old media has a way of hanging on well past reports of its demise. Radio didn't put newspapers out of business. TV didn't end radio, and the internet hasn't killed TV. At least not yet.
Recently, Ars Technica reported a landmark achievement for Apple and digital music downloads. As of January, Apple's iTunes service is now the largest single music retailer in the world. Walmart, including online and in-store sales, is now number two.
Like so many other big stories for new media, this one is significant. But we'd like to take this moment to point out what is often missed in the new media hype: traditional media isn't dead.
In fact, in the case of music sales, less than 30% of all music is purchased digitally. Nearly 3/4 of all music is still purchased on CDs. iTunes and MP3s are hyped as the future of media, and that's true. But the future is still--well--in the future.
Of course, the trend has been hugely in favor of new media and you can expect that trend to continue. TV didn't kill radio, but it sure put radio in its place. Still, radio makes a lot of sense for many messages. Probably will for a long time. Same goes for newspapers and snail mail.
And this brings up one last point: different generations consume different types of media in unequal quantities. Youth tend to adopt new media sooner. And that's great if you're marketing or educating young people. But if your audience is older, new media might not be the best choice.
So with that little reality check out of the way, we will subsequently re-join the world in hyping the achievements of new media.