To all those that believe iTunes, video-on-demand, the Internet, DVRs, and other video gadgets and distribution methods will replace traditional TV, TV stations, reruns on cable networks and reruns in syndication, take heart.
History tells a different story (with the exceptions of beta video tape, eight-tracks, and video disks.) Some entertainment forms still thrive, though.
A New York Times article makes the point that real entertainment always survives--especially live entertainment. Consumers still listen to radio, want to see U2 in concert, Broadway plays (record business last year) or Major League baseball games (also a record last year in attendance.).
When it comes to live entertainment, consumers like the risk of things going wrong, the chance that someone might blow a line, sing a bad note, improvise in new ways, or hit a ninth inning grand slam.
We all know the score--radio survived television, movies survived television (though last year witnessed a bump in the road), and yes, even network TV survived cable and the Internet.
The on-demand world takes away the immediacy of entertainment and, of course, watercooler talk. But technology also has ways of making up the difference: e-mails, instant messaging, blogs, and extra -ong cell phone messages.
For U2, pulling in $260 million last year on tour is good news. Record labels never give artists, even really big ones, much of anything anyway from CD and music sale. Illegal downloading has been just a flat tire on the road where musical artists always make their money.
For U2 fans--and most entertainment digestion--there's nothing better than the real thing.