First Click: why own a few things when you can borrow everything?
March 26th, 201521
I look forward to the day I can pass down my record collection to my kids. By “records” I mean playlists, and by “pass down” I mean tell them my password.
I’ll be dead when that day comes, but it warms my heart to imagine them deciphering my meticulously prepared tagging system. “What’s ‘grunge,’” they’ll perplex, tears streaming down their middle-aged faces as they remember my fondness for unkempt plaids. I just hope they don’t lapse on the subscription payments else my life’s work will vanish into an ephemeral cloud from which all bits stream.
Music ownership is dead, already. iTunes, the great disrupter of physical CDs, has been disrupted by Spotify streams. Once the vanguard of digital consumption tastes, Apple is now the increasingly frail stalwart of the quaint download-to-own model. TV and movies aren't purchased, they're streamed over Netflix. Instant gratification is the value spawned by pervasive connectivity: why own a few things when you can borrow everything and have it right now?
But it’s not just media — the concept of ownership is dead or dying. Increasingly we lease our cars and rent our homes, and then rent them again as Uber taxis and Airbnbs in a sort of divestment uroboros. Art and even your entire wardrobe can be rented, too. We give away our most personal of information in exchange for the use of “free” services like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Periscope, and Gmail. Our personas are now #brands we must market with the same gusto applied to tacos.
We’re the new reality stars in a Portlandia satire — and I’m ok with that.
Five stories to start your day
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