[Business] Musicians feared the Record Player - Jason Feiffer

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This is the example I think about when people fear for their jobs because of tech
Listen to Build for Tomorrow: https://www.jasonfeifer.com/episode/the-best-ways-to-use-a-crisis/ (40ish mins in)
Today's twitter discussion: https://twitter.com/swyx/status/1599890745200377857


So turn to the century, the phonograph, brand
new innovation, the very first record player, consider how completely insanely
revolutionary this was, for all of human history, before the phonograph. If you wanted
to listen to music, there was only one way to do it. And that was to be in front of a
human being who was playing an instrument. There's no other way. How are you going
to listen to music? And then this machine comes along and can do it for you, can play
music. Unbelievable. Consumers didn't believe it at first. Like they literally, they had to
be shown like, no, there is not a person behind the wall playing music. Like they had to
be shown. And then once they believed it, they loved it. They brought it home. You
 know who hated this?
[00:43:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I don't know. Musicians?
[00:43:46] Jason Feifer: Yeah. Musicians hated it.
[00:43:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:43:49] Jason Feifer: Hated it because they saw themselves being replaced here.
That, you know, they see this new technology doing the thing that they do and they see
change and they equate change with loss and they say, "We got to stop this," right?
They pull a margarine. And the leader of the resistance was this guy named John Philip
Sousa. John Philip Sousa, you may not know his name, but you know his music because
it's still around today. All the military marches, [Dah-dah-dah-dah] John Philip Sousa.
[00:44:12] Jordan Harbinger: You know why we know who he is? Because we have
recordings of the music.
[00:44:15] Jason Feifer: Bingo! That's exactly right. So John Philip Sousa, he at the
time was the leader of the resistance against recorded music. He wrote this amazing
piece, like Google it because it is hilarious. It's called The Menace of Mechanical Music.
It ran in Appleton's Magazine in 1906 and it contains all of these wonderful arguments
against recorded music. And my favorite goes like this. He says, "When you bring
recorded music into the home, it will be the end of all forms of live performance in the
home because why would anybody perform music in the home when now there's a
machine that can do it for them." So now, because we're going to extrapolate loss,
remember I talked about that earlier, right? Like you see changes loss and you
extrapolate the loss. So what's next? Well, he says, "Because people are no longer
performing music at home, mothers will no longer sing to their children."
[00:45:00] Jordan Harbinger: It's quite the jump.
[00:45:01] Jason Feifer: Yeah. Quite the jump. Why would they do that? When a
machine could do it. Here's another jump, "Because children grow up imitating their
mothers, the children will grow up to imitate the machines, and thus, we'll raise a
generation of machine babies." That was his argument, like a real thing that—
[00:45:16] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:45:16] Jason Feifer: —people took it seriously. I feel like it's fun to like laugh at
John Philip Sousa for this, but also—
[00:45:20] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:45:20] Jason Feifer: —I feel like what he's doing is pretty relatable.
[00:45:23] Jordan Harbinger: It is relatable. It's very human.
[00:45:24] Jason Feifer: It's very human. You have something and it works for you.
And then you see some change come along and you feel like this change is existential.
It is going to outmode you. So he tried to stop it.
[00:45:36] And it's worth asking ourselves in this moment, three simple questions.
 Number one, what is this new thing that's happening? Number two, what new habit or
skill are we learning as a result? And then number three, how can that be put to good
use? Because if you do that, it just helps you reframe any moment of change as let's
focus on the gain. Is there some kind of gain that we can extrapolate? Maybe it's not as
easy to see as the loss, but is it there and what would it look like?
[00:46:06] Because if you ran that scenario with John Philip Sousa, what you would see
is, well, okay, what new thing are people doing? Well, what they're doing is they're now
listening to music on these machines whenever they want. What new habit or skill are
we learning as a result? We're learning that we have control or consumers have a lot
more control over the music that they listen to. And therefore, also have access to a lot
more music because before the only music that they could get was whoever happened
to be able to travel to their town and perform for them. How could that be put to good
use? Well, come on guys. Come on, John Philip Sousa. Like this means that you could
record something yourself. And you could sell it and now people can listen to and enjoy
your music. And you can monetize that in ways that are much more scalable than what
you're doing now. Because you're coming from a world in which the only thing that you
do is perform for people that you can get in front of. And that means that you have a
limited number of people that you can get in front of. But if you can change that
dynamic, then man, oh man, suddenly your economic ability skyrockets.
[00:47:02] As it turns out, John Philip Sousa was protecting a system that limited his
own economic ability. And the reason he was doing that was because he was panicking
because of change. And once he figured it out, he changed his tune. That is not meant
to be a pun, but there it is.
[00:47:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I see what you did there. You are a dad, indeed.
[00:47:17] Jason Feifer: There it is. I'm nailing it. I got all the dad jokes. And he started
to record himself and he started to perform on radio and he changed. And this is
something that we all need to be mindful of. There is gain in change and we need to run
ourselves through these things that can just help us focus on it.
[Business] Musicians feared the Record Player - Jason Feiffer
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