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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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2003 @ 6:26am

    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!

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