A celebrated Dutch performer, Trijntje Oosterhuis, announced that she’d give away for free 750,000 CD’s of her new album titles “Sundays in New York”. Wow. Give away physical CD’s – that must cost something!
What do you think the response is of Hans Breukhoven, owner of the largest CD-store in the Netherlands, Free Record Shop?
Next from hilarious, it was downright silly and stupid. What arguments does the man have who just saw a potential profit of a million or so euros (guesstimation) walk past his store?
“I stand for my people’s daily bread and butter. Record company EMI, whose abbreviation I think to mean Every Mistake Imaginable, as well as Trijntje’s management have no idea of the consequences of this decision. A big mistake. An artist needs to be physically present in the stores.
[Translation and emphasis all mine]
It’s a statement that could have been true 20 years ago, but certainly fails to do so now. Of course we needed record stores a few decades ago to be able to listen to music, there was no other way at all. That didn’t change when vinyl changed to CD.
But we don’t need record stores anymore. Heck it’s a drag. Take your car or public transportation into town, find a parking space, pay for it, take a stiff walk to the store, spend time there, you might even have to wait because all the utilities there might be occupied, and then the same on the trip back.
Hans knows all this, as the vast majority of his stores’ content now is made up of games, not music. Still, he’s clearly being confronted with the outside’s world agreement of his own findings – and reacting in a slightly amusing way. A dinosaur’s spasm, much like Rupert Murdoch’s decision of rising a paywall around his online newspaper – last time I checked that was devastatingly unsuccessful.
It is the difference between growth and change I talked about earlier in Growth flows naturally from the inside. You have to grow along with the dynamics of evolution all around you, nothing is fixed, and everything changing. If you don’t, you can be caught off-guard and forced to change, or go bankrupt in the worst case scenario. Next to that, change is a far more costly process than growth, and forced on you from the outside, in stead of naturally flowing from the inside.
I think Trijntje’s brilliant idea forced Hans to be publicly confronted with the fact that his time has come – and that’s the very reason behind his emotional reaction. Then again, if you’re in a business that has lost to add value and contribute to make a difference in people’s lives, 2011 and onwards is the time that you’ll have to pay for that fact.
No one likes to be labeled a dinosaur – even if that very word isn’t used.
(Cross-posted @ Business or Pleasure? - why not both)