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Times, they are a changing! In the world of UK print, there seems to be an ongoing theme of ‘business closed’ with many reasons being cited such as ‘poor payers’, ‘constrained margins’, ‘unmanageable deadlines’ or pressure from trade-printers driving the sales value down. (I’m not sure that I agree with the last one, because, in my opinion, some trade suppliers provide a method of combatting the former!)

The reality is that the market has changed and the way we buy things has changed. We need to embrace the madness.

Rather than spout my own opinions on this, I asked a trusted and very learned friend for his views and he is happy for me to share them.

Cue Mark Stephenson on his vision of ‘the new economy’……what do you think?

The new economy

Had the internet been around hundreds of years ago, we may not have needed Isabella d’Este, Lorenzo de’ Medici, Nikolaus Esterházy and Henry Carey. Among others, they provided start-up funding to Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Joseph Haydn and William Shakespeare respectively.

The modern equivalent of patronage is project funding platforms like http://www.kickstarter.com/ or https://www.patreon.com/. The model is basically the same: people with talent but not money are funded by people with the latter and, probably not the former, to deliver products or services at some time in the future. The only difference is scale. Ownership is not necessarily the end result.

I’m a patron of the arts

I’m a big fan of internet-based radio service soma.fm. Rusty Hodge and his team curate over 20 themed radio stations playing an eclectic mix of non-mainstream music. I fund their efforts by buying horrendously overpriced branded clothing which allows them to stay “on-air”, advert-free, for my enjoyment.

In a similar way I pay spotify.com £10 a month to rent all the on-demand music I need. I sold all my CDs two years ago. Others subscribe to all-you-can-eat services like Amazon Prime or netfix.com for TV and film.

Make then sell, sell then make

An example that’s relevant to the world of print is web-to-print, which has enabled many print service providers to offer products that do not exist until someone orders and then, most often, pays for them. In an ideal world the money is in the bank before production starts.

Moving on a step further, I recently bought some print that I could have obtained for as little one US cent. I bought a poster by artist Joshua Ellingson – joshuaellingson.com. He decided to offer a print of his artwork “Free Wi-Fi” and allowed the purchaser to set the price – anything from 1 cent to around $100. I wouldn’t have looked at buying if the offer had not caught my eye through people talking about it on Twitter. He suggested $20-30 was a good price, I entered my offer (you’ll have to guess how much) and the giclée print made its way to me through the post. It’s hanging on the wall of my office where I’m typing these ramblings.

The new economy is what we make it

Want a sure-fire formula for you and your customers to benefit from ‘the new economy’?

There isn’t one.

Maybe the new economy doesn’t exist, but one thing is very real: people who consume print, order print and produce print are thinking in new ways and if we don’t “get-it” we won’t get it.

If you’re looking for a poorly contrived link to Fujifilm products, there isn’t one of those either (not even a web link). This is a free service with no strings attached although similar content may appear here from time to time https://www.linkedin.com/in/markrstephenson/

soma

 

free wifi

 

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