The age of not owning: they give us everything, we leave with nothing
Although people are now more than ever making use of online webshops for their purchases and companies are going online to grasp the potential of ecommerce, there is another business model that is becoming even more important in our day-to-day lives. Just like me, you probably use Spotify for your music, watch Youtube videos occasionally and might even have tried Netflix since it launched in the Netherlands. And if you’re creative, you might use Photoshop and noticed that this service moved to a subscription-based system.
What do Spotify, Youtube, Netflix and Adobe have in common? They have all started to rent their goods. The price may not even be high, that’s not the point, but we’ve come to live in an age of not owning. Where is the time when we had shelves from IKEA solely for storing our DVD’s and CD’s? Nowadays nobody has them anymore. Instead, consumers are moving away from buying music and movies towards streaming and everybody seems happy with this convenience. But I think it’s an illusion to view this as the perfect solution, when in fact it is a trap the world has started to embrace, when in the end we get nothing in return.
Just think of Spotify; you think that you have a music collection, with your own music playlists and even your local songs of your computer are imported. In a way you do have a music collection, but what if Spotify decides to increase the monthly subscription amount each month or even worse; decides to stop this service, or goes bankrupt. Then all ‘your’ songs would be gone, you may even have spent 100 euro’s of monthly subscriptions for it, when you do not even own the songs, you merely rented them. Also while paying for it; you were limited to syncing your Spotify account with only three devices. It may seem okay to pay some money for an almost unlimited music library, but the consequences when it ends are disappointing.
Subscribing to digital content is still a fairly new business model, and I think that users are still trying to find out what it means to lease digital content and whether it is an investment that is worth it for what you get in the long term. But as things are going more digital content is moving to this business model; e.g. Oyster is a new application for books, and newspapers are setting up a paywall that let’s you view all content available online when paying a fee.
In other words: Do you think it’s worth it? Or do you prefer ‘the old way’ of buying and owning your digital content? And will this be a trend that is here to stay?
- Meet Oyster, the ‘Netflix of books’ (theweek.com)
- How to Save Money by Ditching All Your Digital Subscriptions (Temporarily) (gizmodo.com)