What The Entertainment Industry Can Learn From The Fashion Industry

from the worth-reading dept

The entertainment industry and those who support it insist that they must control the output of musicians or there simply is no way to make money. There are plenty of examples of why that’s not true, and here is a great one. The fashion industry is also based on the concept of intellectual creativity – and there are many similarities between the fashion and the entertainment industry. However, the fashion industry, unlike the entertainment industry realizes that locking up creativity is impossible – and even trying to do so only ends up doing much more harm than good. Instead, they understand their marketplace, and are constantly innovating and pushing the boundary to create new and better things. On top of that, they understand the power of brand and marketing – and know that people will pay much more for a brand, not just a design. Even more to the point, they understand that the industry as a whole does much better when their “content” gets spread far and wide – even if not directly by them – and when they continually build off of each others creative works. What a concept! The entire article is worth reading, but here’s a great quote that pulls it all together: “Through fashion we have a ringside seat on the ecology of creativity in a world of networked communication. Ideas arise, evolve through collaboration, gain currency through exposure, mutate in new directions, and diffuse through imitation. The constant borrowing, repurposing, and transformation of prior work are as integral to creativity in music and film as they are to fashion.” Clearly, the entertainment industry could learn a thing or two from all of this – but, instead, they’ll stay closed minded, fighting themselves to the end. In the meantime, we all suffer.


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Comments on “What The Entertainment Industry Can Learn From The Fashion Industry”

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7 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

It's not about "creative industry" or IP at all

I think technology folks tend to misunderstand some underlying fundamentals about the two industries.

First, the Entertainment industry exists in the same realm as software. A modest amount of effort is expended to produce a product that has, essentially, a zero cost of “production” (the word production is in quotes…. maybe I should have worded it “zero cost of replication”). The underlying fact is that there is no physical good being provided to the consumer with the sale of software or music or movies. It’s a friken piece of plastic with ones and zeros, some cardboard and paper (if you’re lucky).

The fashion industry is a little different. They have to actually make something. Not only that, their product has to actually physicall fit the customer.

The way the fashion industry maximises profits is by limiting supply, improving quality, selling to select customer and managing a brand image.

The way the software industry maximises profits is by expanding supply was widely as demand will support, reducing quality to bearable levels, selling to as many people/things (hey cars need software too) as possible and promoting a brand image.

I can’t think of two more diametrically opposed industries actually. The only thing that is similar between the two is the “brand image” thing… and the goals for brand image for fashion and software are diametrically opposed (beyond making the brand desirable).

I guess I could sum it up this way: In the fashion industry sweatshop workers are oppressed (the folks who actually make the product). In the software/entertainment industry the comsumer is oppressed (the folks who actually consume the product).

The thing that the music/movie industry is all wacked about is that demand for software is less elastic than entertainment. The erosion of their economeny of sale (aka their money machine) is far more pronounced than that of software… or even physical goods!

Mark F says:

Re: It's not about

This article is a really poor comparision except consider what would happen if Star Trek type replicators become available. The fashion industry will have the same problem – how can a person design clothes and except to get any compensation for doing this?

To an extent this happens with counterfeit items – which the fashion industry goes after just as much as the RIAA goes after unauthorized music copying.

Anonymous wimp says:

Re: It's not about

not to sound like everyone is bashing on your comments, but I also believe that the software industry is similar to the fashion and entertainment industry.

Firstly, the production of clothing is relatively cheap compared to the actual design and innovation of clothing. If you look at the price of production in asia, the cost of making clothes can costs several cents to a few dollars.

On the other hand, not all software companies maximize profits by selling to a large base of users. If you look at enterprise software, they are restricted to a select few consumers who are willing to pay the price of support and production. The software industry would get nothing by advertising it to everyone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: It's not about

The production of cloathing (consumer level) is cheap because there are places in the world where people will work in absolutely shitty conditions for 10 cents a day. If that cost went up to $1 a day the cloathing industry (a distant relative of the fashion industry) would howl in pain.

Software company that limit themselves to “enterprise software” are picking low hanging fruit and aren’t anywhere nearly as successful as Microsoft and very well may not survive (a disposable company if you will) the test of time.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

really bad comparison between two industries who ‘likeness’ stops at the idea of them being ‘creative’. Do a quick google on lawsuits with a known fashion name (levi strauss, Chanel, etc) and you’ll see numerous hits about how they are suing to defend their image/quality/etc, much like the music industry and also the large drug companies lately.

Mike, the music world is coming around, albeit VERY SLOWLY, to the idea of music downloads. Music Sharing, at least as far as the end user (you/me) isn’t going to become Legal until the industry (artists included) can find a way to make it as profitable as their current business is. Period. End of Story. Done.

And a number of ‘artists’ would have it no other way. Does anyone really think that N’Sync, the Backstreet boys, Jennifer Lopez, would be even marginally successful if they didn’t have the backing and promotional clout/image control that the media companies have ? No way.

–RJD–

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