The technology for recording sound and images is advancing so rapidly that those of us who are neither geeks or nerds are struggling to keep up.
In the space of less than 100 years, sound recording has advanced from fragile gramophone records spinning at 78 RPM, through extended play vinyl discs – known as 45’s – to long playing records — LP’s. After a few years of cassette tapes came the CD, and then the DVD. – the latter two also featuring images, both moving and still.
And then came the digital revolution which progressed from desktop computers to laptops to tablets to smart-phones to……….who knows what next?
Most people have become caught up in this frantic scenario; the younger generation for sure is leading the rush for ever more sophisticated digital methods of sound and vision delivery.
Of course, digital is not all bad – there are advantages. As Thorin Klosowski points out on the Lifehacker website, digital is instantly accessible, easy to use and quick to load. It also does not involve going to a bricks-and-mortar store, and neither does it take up any shelf place.
All that’s on the plus side – so what are the minuses?
Thorin complains the problem is not simply missing the thrill of reading the paper liner notes, or the smell of the fresh wrapping around a new LP disc. It’s the fact that he feels unable to control the digital input in the way that he wants it.
Apart from that, we all know that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” – especially on the internet. This means so called “free sites” or sites offering “free downloads” do actually come with a price. And this price is the plethora of pop-up and banner advertising which leaves you searching frantically on the page to find the content you want.
A couple of years ago, the research firm of Edelman Berland carried out a survey of responses to advertising in its various forms. As far as websites were concerned, it discovered that 68% of consumers found online ads “annoying” and “distracting” and 54% said online banner-ads don’t work.
And, in the process of not working, they interfere with both concentration and enjoyment.
A further problem is that digital stores usually organize the material in their own ways, meaning you either accept it, or spend time trying to re-arrange things to suit your own needs and tastes. How much easier it is to have your DVDs on hand to arrange and select as you want.
Nevertheless, there is no escaping the reality that sales of physical media are declining as streaming and subscription services increase their market share.
On the other hand, there will always be a niche market for those looking for a more personal experience than that provided by the internet.
For example, vocal coach Gary Catona will be releasing his new vocal training program this fall on DVD. Karl Talbot, who is Gary’s business partner, says that, while the DVD will be downloadable, the decision to launch Gary Catona’s Ultimate Voice Builder using the DVD medium was made to take into account the need to directly connect to the client.
Talbot says: ” We want people to feel like they can have Gary as a teacher. He has an earlier app, but that’s more of a tool to calibrate measure the voice. The DVD, though, is Gary teaching you. You can see how to open your mouth, can hear him explain how things should feel and sound, and have a more personal connection to the lesson.”
Karl Talbot and Gary Catona both agree that, although this may be a relatively small niche market, it is nonetheless the most effective way for people to derive the maximum benefit from Gary’s expertise. That expertise and experience is considerable as Gary has worked with over 150 celebrities and singers, including Whitney Houston, Robin Thicke, Pharelle Williams, and Andrea Bocelli.
Karl Talbot says: “Our aim is to have Gary Catona giving you a lesson in your house, and while having a mobile aspect is important, it doesn’t have that same feel of direct connection, of personality, of being taught instead of using a tool. An app has its place, and can be a great tool for learning to sing, but can make for an odd experience, especially if you use it somewhere publicly. The DVD offers intimacy.”
In this age of digitization expanding exponentially, it is interesting – and refreshing – to find someone who feels that the “old technology” still has some advantages.
But, if you’re waiting for Gary Catona to launch his Ultimate Voice Builder program on a 78 record or an LP – don’t hold your breath!