When Amazon Dies

Food for thought regarding digital “purchases.” I was completely unaware that you could download the movie you purchased digitally from Amazon, rather than merely streaming it on demand.

The thing about this is perhaps it’s not so different. Vinyl was the thing for decades and seemed like forever. Notwithstanding its current comeback, you really only “owned” the music on vinyl as long as nothing happened to it – unless you had “backed it up” on tape and could still play that – and as long as a record player was available. And, assuming you weren’t using a wind-up record player and associated sound quality, electricity was available. And replacement parts.

Your VHS tapes were forever. Awesome! Owning a movie! Except if VHS became obsolete, if an individual tape died, if a played could no longer be obtained or fixed, if electricity remained available.

A CD degrades (especially one you have burned). A cassette tape degrades. My box of 8-track tapes sure does me no good without a player, assuming they would even work after decades of sitting around.

What is the actual life of a DVD? Will a player be available in 50 years? For a price you can afford?

So yeah, it’s a good question, but when it comes to intellectual property you license more than own, one could consider it a technological house of cards. I am attached to my Kindle because I can read all kinds of excellent books being published at an acceptable price. Nothing beats a book, though. Long-lasting, if not forever, depending how it’s made and conditions it’s kept in. Sure, if Amazon goes away, any books I have in digital form that have downloaded will still be there… as long as the device they downloaded to exists or they can be extracted from it to other devices and perhaps formats.

If enough of a CME happens, how long are we without any of that stuff? It’s not likely the laws of physics will change to preclude electricity, but hey, that too.

I’ve thought about this often enough, but mostly decided not to worry about it.