Friday, December 08, 2000

The 2001 Challenge

At the end of the 2000, I was among several members of the advertising community asked to submit my thoughts regarding what I thought would be the most important issues affecting the Industry in the coming year. Putting on my magical forecasting hat, and from my studio in the heart of Madison Alley (Madison Ave + Silicon V/Alley, i.e. the ad tech community), here's what this interactive music producer thought at the time–

–Terry O'Gara/ August, 2006

The 2001 Challenge
By Terry O'Gara
Published in Shoot Magazine, Dec 8, 2000

This coming year presents new challenges for producers who provide content and services via the Internet and Television. These, depending on your perspective, are either becoming one technology, or parallel technologies working in tandem. New Media will remain "new" for only so long, before becoming standard operating procedure.

Until then, delivery models multiply. Unlike their peers in television, where protocols have remained stable for years, Internet artisans can't bask in their knowledge of current methodologies. Suppliers must keep abreast of every technological advance to maintain an edge in the online marketplace. The more you know, the more you can do--hence the more clients you can accommodate. Saying, 'No, we can't do it,' is valid regarding creative objections. But not being able to produce a project because your eyes glaze over when you learn that the message will be delivered over a mobile phone is business death.

Is it "Sync-to-Broadcast" or Enhanced TV? Does it work in Netscape and Explorer? The makers of these technologies are in competition with each other; that means we folk who create the stuff that gets broadcast have to understand as many of these technologies as possible. If your business hasn't evolved yet, my advice: Jump in. It's changing on a daily basis, anyway. Immerse yourself in the stream; then figure out which way the current flows.

Remember the first time you started using a PC? Cute folders and trash icon aside, you were still befuddled. But you finally got it. Now it's second nature, Well, you're about to experience growing pains again.

Maybe you've spent the last year focused on print, or television, or you were an Internet specialist. Tomorrow your projects will cross all platforms. It'll be your job to understand how things get done and when they go wrong, to understand if it's a creative issue, an integration issue, a technical issue or all of the above. By "your job," I mean, of course, everybody's job.

As a music producer I've been forced to deal with things I never thought I'd have to deal with as a "creative guy." Once, all I needed to know to produce music--beyond a sonic vision--was a broad understanding of the film production process. Skip one beat ahead and we've entered an age where, for instance, if a composer doesn't understand the technical issues regarding the way audio is delivered, then maybe he's in the wrong business. I'm not advocating a complete out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new. The piano, for instance, is a wonderful technology as it is. But there's more to music today than just tickling ivories.

Storytelling remains paramount. But as the definition of "television" is expanding, it follows that the definition of "composer" is also expanding. Artisans in other broadcast industries will have to broaden their general knowledge, as well. Clients are changing, too. They're not hiring talent that can't speak their language--which is increasingly sounding like jargon to those used to standard American English.

Experimentation yields great advances in science and technology. The same is true of art. I believe the challenge ahead is to make the line between technology and art transparent.

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