Seems my original post from back in August really should have been “doesn’t anyone own music anymore”
An article from today’s FT says that sales of downloaded music, video and games passed the £1bn mark for the first time last year (2012)
“Digital music sales rose 15.1 per cent over the year to £383.3m, excluding the growth in music streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer.
Data from the Official Charts Company released on Wednesday showed that these services were growing in popularity with 3.7bn tracks streamed in the UK during 2012. The top three streamed tracks reached the equivalent of 140 streams for every household in the UK last year.
Digital downloads accounted for 99.6 per cent of all single sales. Digital album sales rose 14.8 per cent to 30.5m last year with Emeli Sandé’s Our Version of Events the bestseller.
However, physical sales of CD albums fell 19.5 per cent over the year to 69.4m.”
I used to like owning music. Truth be told I still do. I still download songs, albeit mostly now after I’ve listened to the album they originated from on Spotify, and being an ex muso geek I even edit them to get them exactly the way i like – fade-outs, fade-ins eq fixes etc. That’s one of the many reasons why i hate Apple iTunes but that’s not a debate for here. The fact is I spent years building a collection in vinyl, cassette, CD and now digital but through it all it was mine; to do with as I saw fit.
However it seems that music ownership is going the way of the dinosaur. Global revenues from streaming music services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Rdio will grow almost five times faster than revenues from downloads over the course of this year, according to a new forecast from Strategy Analytics. The research firm predicts that streaming will bring in $1.1 billion in 2012 compared to $3.9 billion from downloads, with overall digital revenues expected to overtake those of physical music in 2015.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the whole scarcity and abundance theories and how the recorded music is just becoming a another vehicle through which fans connect with the artist or band but to me its still important. Live performance is indeed the true ”scarcity” and therefore often the most valued experience but I don’t get to see every band I want to play live and in some cases I don’t even want to – I just love the track(s) and that’s enough. I made a choice many years ago to posses the music I loved and despite all the advances in streaming technologies and services, I find it hard to place my enjoyment in the hands of an intermediary – what happens if Spotify falls out with a particular record company and I loose my treasured playlist.
And by the way, there’s a reason the title of this post used the word “buy”. I’m pretty sure I’m also one of a dwindling band of consumers who still buy their music.
Earlier in the year I was interviewed for IMIS magazine by Shirley Redpath on the topic of CIO’s on the Board – a question, as she so eloquently put it that “has has been doing the rounds in the industry Press and IT talking shops for well over a decade.”.
Once again, in my normal understated fashion, I postulated that there were more important things to worry about and that ultimately it was really all down to you and your view of yourself. A great mantra from my old fiend David Taylor – the Naked Leader - is that if the things you are doing arent taking you closer to where you want to be then do something else – and if that doesn’t work then do something else etc etc. The only true insanity is to do the same things and hope for a different outcome. So if you believe the only way to achieve your goals and be effective is to be on the main board and for whatever reason, you’re not there or likely to get there- then go somewhere else.
Here are a few of the more pithy extracts :-
- “I’m pretty sure a lot of CIOs who aspire to be on the main Board don’t know what happens in those meetings,” says Ian Cohen, currently Group CIO of international insurance giant, Jardine Lloyd Thompson. “It can often be quite mundane and procedural, particularly around the sort of governance and compliance activities that the main Boards of regulated businesses have to deal with. A lot of it is actually far less “exciting” than you might expect”.
Cohen’s view is backed up by a 2011 Gartner survey involving CIOs in both the US and the UK. It showed that although many respondents had regular engagement with their main Boards, only 21% actually aspired to a place at that august table.
- Still, according to Cohen, having a seat on the main Board should make little difference to the CIO’s ability to make a value contribution to the organisation. “For me,” he says, “there is no difference between how effective I was in an organisation where I was on the main Board and the effectiveness that I can have in an organisation where I’m not. I have the same conversations, I speak to the same people and we run the same programmes. The point is not whether you sit there or not, the point is how you as a leader focus and enable your function so that the technology capability you build drives your business forward.”
- “The most important question for me going into a role is am I going to be able to build a great relationship with the CEO; am I going to help the CEO deliver his or her vision for the organisation? Will technology be able to evolve, mature or develop to enable, support and underpin the business in its drive to achieve that vision? If I can do that, we will be aligned. You need a good, strong, robust, open, bilateral and challenging relationship with your CEO and executive colleagues so that if they do come up with some hare-brained scheme you can tell them it is hare-brained and they will listen because they respect and trust you,” Cohen says.
- Ronald Blahnik, VP/IT Engineering for Lowe’s Co. in the US is quoted as saying the “I” in CIO now stands for innovation, not information.” That view has Cohen up in arms. “No CIO owns the right to innovation,” he retorts. “At our very best, we are the “enablers of things”. We tell stories and paint pictures about the art of the possible and if they get traction, we create new environments and capabilities that allow great things to happen.
Well it’s what I said so it must must be true …. but like everything its all in the detail.
The quote came from an interview with Silicon.com during this years CloudForce event in London and, overlooking my indignation at being called “veteran CIO”, I stand by it 100% .
The undeniable fact is that in this time of budget pressures, many companies are looking to cut their costs by moving to the cloud and that may well be possible but only if you avoid the inevitable expansion of activity that will come as a result of this move. You see once you create new capacity, demand will always grow to fill it – its as sure as eggs are eggs (though I never quite understood what that phrase actually means).
If you don’t believe me then its worth considering the observation that “Technological progress that increases the efficiency with which a resource is used tend to increase the consumption of that resource”. Ironically its not a quotation from some Cloud guru but is actually called “Jevons paradox”, first postulated by William Stanley Jevons back in 1865. As I blogged earlier – nothing changes, everything stays the same – pretty much.
Anyway here’s an extract from the Silicon interview
Veteran IT chief Ian Cohen has other ideas – telling silicon.com that any company looking at moving to cloud computing purely as a way of saving money should “forget it”.
JLT’s Group CIO Ian Cohen says any company looking at cloud purely as a way of saving money should “forget it”
Cohen is speaking from experience. As group CIO of Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) he is helping the global risk management and insurance broker to make greater use of cloud-based services, such as Salesforce.com’s CRM platform.
When businesses shift to cloud services, the oft-talked-about savings won’t last, Cohen said, as any reduction in cost or overheads is quickly swallowed up by fresh demand for IT services. ”If you go into cloud thinking you will save money, forget it. What invariably happens is that you create more efficiency and headroom. However, demand that previously could not be met can now be enacted and thus your activities simply increase to fill the available resources – be that time, people or infrastructure,” he told silicon.com at Salesforce’s recent Cloudforce conference in London.
“People will be using your systems to do more. That’s the killer sell as to why people should be looking at cloud: the ability to flex your enterprise into a more extensible model at light speed.”
Cohen also cautioned that shifting operations to the cloud is not straightforward for any business – there will always be resistance and challenges, particularly for a heavily regulated business such as JLT.
“It’s early days. We are working around some of the issues with some of the naysayers and a lot of it is around security and audit, all the usual cloud stuff,” Cohen said. “A lot of concerns are still around data location, traceability and auditability. It’s still a challenge if an auditor comes in and simply asks, ‘Where is the data? Let me see it’.
“We are a regulated business so we have to be more prudent than some other organisations but that doesn’t mean we can ignore cloud technologies and the opportunities they offer.”
… originally published in i-CIO based on an interview in mid 2010
“I get somewhat disturbed by the term “cloud.” All the marketing and vendor hype surrounding it is confusing what should be a very important debate about the underpinning technologies and what they can do for your business.
All good CIOs know that they have to be, first and foremost, business leaders. But we are business leaders who have an area of expertise, and we must be able to apply that expertise — which is in how technology enables our businesses. That blend of business and technology acumen is now more important than ever.
The technology that underpins what vendors are calling “cloud computing” is rapidly maturing and does offer some interesting new opportunities, but I believe it’s important not to get carried away here.
It’s not a paradigm shift. It’s not a whole new world. It’s just change. It’s the same kind of change as when we went from the abacus to the mainframe, from mainframe to client/server, and so on. We live in a change industry. Change is what we’re all about, so there’s nothing out of the ordinary in that respect.
I am, however — as we all should be in these tough times — interested in the capex/opex shift that comes from utilizing these technologies, because I think it represents the possibility for a fundamental change to some of our business models.
I am also interested in the potential it has for removing some of the entry barriers to new markets that might otherwise have had a high capital-intensive set-up. And I am very interested in how the technologies will allow us to blend parts of our own infrastructure with the infrastructures of specific partners and public services.
But rather than talking about types of “cloud” — public, private, hybrid, whatever — we should be asking: Do these new models fit with our current sourcing decisions, be they hosting or hosted? And the answer is, in many cases: They absolutely do.
As CIOs — and increasingly this is a truly hybrid role — we need to focus the debate around the economics of our businesses and the appropriateness of the technologies to meet the strategic intent of our companies.
But we must not get wrapped up in the marketing spin and hype. We must focus on the practical aspects. CIOs and the rest of the technology profession have had a hard enough time acquiring sufficient language to engage in business discussions with business customers.
And now our profession — particularly the supply side — comes along and creates some nonsense term for what is actually, underneath, a very valuable and very business-critical technology.
I am worried that the reality of cloud can’t match the hype because it has been hyped out of all proportion. Also, just because it’s “the cloud” does not mean the basic disciplines of technology operations or sourcing can be ignored — they can’t.
So let’s focus on what the technology can do. And, like all new technologies — although in this case the concept is not that new — you need to dip your toe in the water and try it.”
• Follow Ian Cohen on Twitter: @coe62