March 09, 2012

Music Industry Lessons From The Lorax

Last weekend's number one movie was The Lorax, a story most people probably recall from their childhood in which a boy, Ted in the movie, learns how the world he lives in came to be that way and tries to change it for the better. Change is certainly something the music industry has become incredibly familiar with in the past decade, for better or worse. Some changes, like layoffs and artists getting dropped, are bad but some are great, like the ability to communicate directly with fans. No one knows where the music industry will be in 10, 20, or 50 years but we can work to set strong foundations and you can have a part in making a difference, just like the boy in The Lorax. That story may be fiction, but the lessons from it show us what it takes to create positive change:

Learn About the Past
In the movie, Ted doesn't know anything different from the world he grew up in. To improve the present, you need to understand why things are the way they are so he seeks out information from the Once-ler. Learn how record labels grew and developed, how the music industry existed before that, and how mp3s changed things. 

Learn From the Past
Getting information from the Once-ler isn't enough to help Ted change his society. He had to identify his mistakes and find ways not to repeat them. It's not enough to just study the past, you have to be willing to learn from its mistakes. What was done before that could have been improved? What shouldn't have been done at all? 

Don't Be Afraid To Challenge the Status Quo

Ted couldn't accomplish anything without being willing to question and challenge the way things were. It can be difficult and even scary to step up and ask why or try something new, but overcoming that fear is the basis for nearly all of humanity's great innovations. So, don't be afraid to come up with new ideas, share and discuss them, and even put them into action. You never know what it will lead to. 

Have Passion 
Change isn't easy. There will a lot of obstacles along the way and a lot of people who fight you because they like the way things are. You need a reason not to give up and the courage to keep going when things seem impossible. Change requires passion and as the Once-ler tells Ted, "unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, its' not."  
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