Among the list of items for why classical music is dying is the ever expanding number of options people have to be entertained at home and the mac daddy heavy-weight in this arena is cable/satellite/fiber optics. I have to admit to being a bit of a cable Luddite as our household has been rock-bottom-basement-analog-subscription plan cable subscriber for decades. But we keep hearing about how great it is and who would want to go to a live event (cultural notwithstanding) with all this great entertainment right at home…
Well, progress finally cornered us into switching to digital cable (albeit not by choice) and even with a hundred plus channels, I still think the majority of home entertainment is nothing more than the entertainment equivalent of processed foods. Granted, I’ve never seen an episode of The Sopranos, or any other premium cable series hit for that matter but I have plenty of programs I love just like most folks. Yet, after living with digital cable for a week, I can’t say there’s anything there to keep me plastered to the couch any more than before.
Nonetheless, I keep hearing about how this gorilla is going to knock live event oriented institutions down for the count. If anything, the latest advancements are going to make it easier than ever before for people to get out of the house and reconnect with everything that makes live events so wonderful. Perhaps the biggest improvement to support this is the abundance of on-demand programming and digital recorders; all of which make sure you don’t miss your granules of gold among tons of silt that is television programming.
And now that I have the ability to watch the programs I do enjoy without as much worry, I honestly don’t care about them as much. It’s as if they don’t have as much value because they aren’t as rare and it’s so darned easy to watch it after the fact. I’ll still watch them, but I’m going to enjoy even more freedom in my schedule to do all of the other things I enjoy.
Consequently, I think the expanded offerings of home entertainment options actually raise the value of live cultural events. Not only does it comparatively highlight the value of a unique and truly singular experience but it provides a new outlet to deliver material in a way that maintains connections with current patrons and reaches those who would otherwise be inaccessible.
So the next time someone purports that digital home entertainment is going to kill live cultural events, don’t you believe it!