Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Reinventing the Wheel

While watching TV with my wife the other day, one of those razor commercials came on. You know what I'm talking about... now with five blades! I'm convinced that in my lifetime we'll see a ten blade razor that vibrates and has a mini vacuum pulling the hairs up off your face. My wife commented, "Instead of just reinventing the wheel, why don't they invest in something different?"

My favorite shave is with my straight edge, which I sharpen on a leather strop. I get the razor so sharp that if you hold a piece of hair between two fingers and let it hang straight down, you can cut the hair by simply passing the blade through it. Gravity creates all the tension you need. You can't beat a blade that sharp. Of course, if you know me, you know I don't shave very often. So on the occasion I need a good shave, I enjoy the ritual of carefully sharpening the blade, getting a warm shave lather on my face, slowly shaving, cleaning the blade, and putting it all away. Disposable razors offer speed and convenience. That's a different audience, with a different need.

My wife had a point. It's really not about how many blades you have, but it's the most obvious way to improve the product. After a certain point it's not going to made a bit of difference.

Think about how this applies to the music industry. Is it really worth the effort trying to get radio play anymore? Is it even worth making physical formats? Will it make sense to keep trying to sell music a few years down the road? The answers are different for everybody, depending on what kind of music you make and who makes up your audience, but maybe it's time to try something totally different.

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