I had to help out the in-laws tonight with the installation of their new DVD/VCR. While it was installed properly by the time we arrived, I had to go over which buttons to press and why. They took notes and all was well.
But while removing their old DVD player from the TV cabinet, they found an old stack of VHS tapes from the early 90s. They wanted us to go through them and see if any were worth keeping. Most of them were unmarked except for the one that had “NKOTB Concert ’89” crawled on the label. (Ann was later disappointed to see that a Reba McEntire concert, originally aired on NBC, had taken its place.) Many also had first-run episodes of The Simpsons which I now own on DVD.
It was also a blast to commercials for defunct things like the Geo Prizm and Hughes Markets, as well as the VHS release of Babe:
(Images taken with phone-cam; hence the crappy quality. But look at that price! I could buy two DVD copies for the same price!)
While scanning through the stack of VHS tapes, which turned out to be a much more tedious chore than I had imagined, I came across a story shown on the local news. The segment was called “Computer Music” and it highlighted a new trend: listening to and purchasing music on the computer rather than traditional methods.
The reporters spoke to two then-representatives from Geffen Records. They explained, while surfing the Web using Netscape Navigator 2.0, that the growing popularity and interest in this thing called “the Internet” could make it possible for music fans from around the world to view videos and listen to their favorite artists online and download the content “onto CD.”
Quite simply, an unlikely notion and wishful thinking for most of us back in 1993.
could would never happen. CDs just hit the shelves 11 years ago! This story is full of it! Music on my what? I don’t even own one! Long live WebTV!”
And then one of the Geffen reps uttered a sentence that actually left me speechless–and also gave me the chills.
“With this technology, it’s likely that it could drive places like Tower Records out of business.”
Holy shit. Holy, holy shit. This guy probably got fired for making such a ridiculous statement as well as receiving death threats from the execs at Tower Records. I mean, can you imagine going out on a limb like that back in 1993? With a dial-up connection?
But in a mere eight years, that’s exactly what happened. When the first iPods hit the stores in 2001, it was the beginning of the end for Tower Records. And last year they closed up all of their bricks-and-mortar locations and now only exist online. Sure, they still sell CDs and vinyl but with the trend of music going digital and the ease of purchasing music online, the stores were pretty much helpless.
So the next time somebody makes a really ridiculous statement about anything related to technology, don’t shrug it off so quickly.
Unless, of course, it’s about a flying car.