Imagine if the pandemic had happened thirty years ago – no email, no internet and definitely no Zoom. In many ways, we’re lucky it happened when it did. We’ve had the technology to carry on communicating, buying, selling and more. What we’ve missing in human interaction has been partly mitigated by endless Zoom, Skype and Teams meetings. And again, whilst we will all enjoy getting together, we’ll still use Zoom and the rest at times.
Digital services make entertainment more convenient
The digital and online world, including the many expanded streaming services have really been saviours during these strange months. And these have led to more and more creativity. Look at Apple’s animated series that were produced by animators using iPhone 11s. And, contrary to fears that 2020’s lockdown boom in streaming was a one-off, digital streams and sales continued to grow through 2021 with music revenues up another 8.7% and video up 13.3%. Interestingly, this growth was independent of new release activity. The vast majority of growth was driven by digital services making entertainment more accessible and convenient than ever before.
The digital world has ushered in a new era of licensing
In terms of licensing, more properties and brands and new sectors emerged from the digital world. And none more talked about than NFTs which are booming with enormous amounts of money involved. The founder of Twitter sold an autographed tweet for just under $3 million. Anything digital can, technically, be sold as an NFT – William Shatner sold Shatner-themed trading cards (one of which was apparently an X-ray of his teeth). NFTs are hard to get your head around but clearly appear to be here to stay for the moment. And the returns can be stratospheric. Artist Digital artist Mike Winkelmann (Beeple) sold ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days’ – a collage – for $69 million. The art now features on housewares, mugs, framed prints, computer accessories and more. The digital ownership log, which is facilitated by Blockchain, keeps track of every previous owner of the NFT – thus at least protecting the owner.
But before you all race out to purchase an NFT, there’s a downside, NFT’s like all cryptocurrencies have a large impact on the environment. NFT transactions must be verified through Blockchain to guarantee the encryption is valid, which consumers enormous amounts of energy. In fact, the creation of an average NFT has a carbon footprint of over 200kg – about the same as driving 500 miles in a standard gasoline-powered car.