I happened to stumble across the recent broadcast of The Academy of Country Music Awards and two things struck me. First, there was no mention of politics, whatsoever (a pleasant and much welcomed surprise) and second, how mainstream country music has become. It's a far cry from the twangy tunes my mother listened to when I was a kid growing up in Texas and Arkansas.
I thought about when this transformation began to take place and for some reason Linda Ronstadt popped into my head. I read recently she is suffering from Parkinson's Disease and having lost the ability to sing, was relying on the generosity of friends to survive. I wondered how could this be? After all, she had a countless string of hits over a career that spanned decades and had to have amassed a considerable fortune. Something didn't add up. A little checking revealed that Ms. Ronstadt, while an amazing performer, didn't write her own hits. While we associate her with the songs, she didn't actually own them. It turns out the real value is in the lyrics and music—or in other words, the intellectual property.
Today, we are witnessing the transformation of the entertainment industry and intellectual property is driving it. Gone are the days when the television networks had a virtual monopoly on content. First cable and then satellite television changed everything. Netflix, AMC—even the History Channel have gotten into the content business—and the content is good. But the days of cable and satellite television are numbered. The internet is quickly becoming the content delivery vehicle of choice and the Cut-the-Cord Movement is picking up steam.
No longer are we held hostage by cable and satellite television companies who require us to purchase bundles of channels to get the few we actually watch. Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast, Roku and other streaming devices have opened the door to à la carte consumption. There is no going back. In her time, Linda Ronstadt was certainly queen of the stage, but today content is king.