Thursday, 25 September 2014

Don't think technology will make you unemployed? Ask a musician how it is going for them.

 This video sums up how technology will affect jobs in the future. Most people think that this won't affect them that their job will either be protected by the government or the business they work for.

Think again.

A lot of areas are going to be affected by how powerful technology is going to get. I always say to people:

Remember that your job can be outsourced to a machine at any given time, for any given reason without warning.

Comparisons are usually drawn to the industrial revolution on how machines will take away jobs but there is a more recent and much more relevant example. The example is of course music. People may argue that the music industry is much better off because of the free downloading from Napster.

For the super stars it hasn't changed but for the everyday musician it has become worse, much worse. Music was never a good career choice for anybody but in the past it was possible to make a good living if you were smart about it. Most of the income would usually come from teaching but if you were motitvated and smart there were other ways to make money.

Technology made the distribution of music free and frictionless which was different from being paid and restrictive. The major difference between the two systems is that record companies use to constantly fund new music. Not everything would make money but they would fund new music. That means more jobs for the production process such as engineers, session musicians and even studio assistents.

With less money coming in the record companies could not fund new music. This new technology changed the way music was consumed. Of course the consumer didn't care at all. Free music, sounds great. What people didn't realize is that this new distribution model would not just simply make music free but completely change the social and business perception of music.

This is what people do not realize when a task becomes outsourced to technology. Not only is the task outsourced but the social perception of the task will change forever. When autonomous cars hit the streets the profession of the taxi driver will not be even considered a job.

With music the biggest fallout of the downloading debacle is the fact that money and music and not even in the same sphere anymore. These two ideas do not mix. In people's mind. Here is the major fallout of what free music did to music's profitability.

Life could be better for musicians. Recently I realized that a lot of musicians reach a ton of people. I was watching a very niche music video and it had 2 million views on YouTube. This amount of views will give you only a few thousand dollars in revenue. Not a lot. If people could make 50k plus from 2 million views then you would see people hiring other musicians and supporting the production chain as it once was.

Now the argument that musicians can "Make their money somewhere else" is usually presented. Well, there are two problems with this. One, the fact that you have to "find a new monitization system" or "sell T shirts" means that the product itself doesn't really have a lot of profitability. Of course you could upload your song to youtube and get 10 million hits and maybe make a few bucks but to the average musician it won't matter.

Two, because music is associated with free people do not want to spend money anywhere, even concerts which is where a lot of money was made. Add to the fact that getting a DJ is cheaper and easier than hiring musicians and you see where this is going.

Your job could look like this very soon.
Free is a great tool to leverage business. Store give out free samples all of the time but they are only samples. What happens when your job can be done by a machine that costs virtually nothing? Well your job becomes outsourced.

How do you deal with this problem? Tune in next time and I will tell you how you can avoid this scenario.

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