Netography 6 – Some more political economy

Drumeo Cultural Artefact – Excerpt from mass mailshot –

“The way we consume media has changed. Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon Prime have ushered in the age of convenience. You can’t buy an Apple computer with a built-in DVD drive anymore. Thrift stores and recycling depots are filled with DVDs as consumers are emptying their shelves and turning to digital media.

And the reasons are clear:

  1. You can watch anything, anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t need to be on the shelf.
  2. You don’t need to spend time driving to the store or paying for shipping fees.
  3. Your media is safe, forever. You’ll never need to wonder where you placed it, or open the case with nothing inside.

And for us at Drumeo, it’s time to get real. I’ve probably shared with you before: it’s our goal to help EVERY drummer in the world. And because of this, we’ve probably kept our DVDs around for more years than I ever intended.”

(Falk, 2017)

 

There are a lot of beliefs and implications in this short extract. More than I am really prepared to sit down and tease out. The main  contradiction I am most intrigued by is the way Drumeo is trying to orient its business model in a similar manner to TV streaming services. One of the key drivers of the streaming business model is to try and keep  people logged in, with their eyes on screen, for as long as possible. Hence the now common features of “the next video will start in…” countdown at the end of videos.

However, Drumeo is an educational resource. There are different dynamics at play here. If a video drumming lesson is truly successful and a student really deeply engages with the content then they will want to spend a lot of time off-line practicing and experimenting with the material. Ideally the student should be in control of when they move on to more material. Sometimes the most helpful thing to do is not bombard them with other material until they are ready to move on. Although this may be ideal for the student this would be less than ideal for maximising Drumeo’s revenue.

There is a tension here between the goals of commerce and the goals of communication. Drumeo emerges as a cultural artefact from these tensions.