I was chatting with Matt. Fantastic discussion on all sorts of things, including… “The Future”! I’m sharing some of the things we touched upon below.
The future of 3D printing
The discussion meandered it’s way to 3D printing. Our conclusion in a nutshell: Ikea will move to a pay-for-downloading-your-model model.
If things ever get to this point, yeah, then 3D printing will really work – and it will really have changed society. Of course, maybe not everyone will have a 3D printer – maybe there will be dedicated 3D printshops with bigger, high-quality printers. But this would even work to Ikea’s advantage: higher quality printers + materials equals more happy customers. And they’d save a fortune on not having to build stores, transport the stuff, etc.
So how realistic is this vision from the crystal ball? My guts say a 6 on a scale from 1 (no way, eg. teleportation) to 10 (will eventually happen, eg. moonbase).
The future of music and artists
A few bends further in the conversation, we were noting what many others have noted before: for centuries, musicians earned their living by performing. For a brief 80-100 years, musicians could earn money by performing once and selling the records. In this period, live performances (concerts) were advertisements for the recording. But currently, the trend is shifting back. Most musicians make their living by performing, and recordings (CDs) are nowadays more ads for the concerts than vice versa.
However, the advent of better and more affordable recording equipment means that your current-day home recording enthusiast is on par (if not above) in quality with recording studios from the 80s. In fact, home recording is becoming so affordable, and its quality is becoming sufficiently acceptable – renting a studio can produce better results, but it’s no longer clear it’s worth it.
This, coupled together with the insanity that is the recording “industry” (that is, the folks who do not make music, yet make the most money off of CDs) will lead to a shift in how musicians will earn a living. And yes, the recording industry’s financial model is insane. So any shift away from that is likely for the better.