Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Concerts in a Post Scarcity Society

One argument you might hear or even be motivated to make regarding the feasibility of a post scarcity society is that there will always be something that's scarce.  A common example is that people would still need money to pay for tickets to attend concerts, because the musicians, availability of concerts, and number of seats or space for concerts is limited.  I'd like to provide a different perspective by analyzing the situation and dynamics involved, to show that there might not necessarily be support for this argument with concerts as an example.  It seems to me that in a post scarcity society, the abundance of concerts might actually increase.

Musicians are dependent on ticket sales, just like everyone else is on our trade-based economic system of today, to put roofs over their heads and food on their plates.  For that, they're dependent on and utilize resources and tools relevant to their business, such as marketing, ticket sales, and copyright laws.  Although these kinds of things are necessary for bands and musicians in a scarcity and trade-based economic environment, in a post scarcity society they're obsolete and unnecessary.

The creating and marketing of singer or music personalities and bands - like name brands for products or services - is done by the music industry to generate and maximize record and concert ticket sales.  This kind of thing plays a significant role in attracting demand for entertainment to concerts, which results in concentrations of a large amount of fans and audience members.  Since people need day jobs, it creates a scarcity of audience members for musicians by limiting the days and times that concerts can be scheduled, such as after business hours, weekends, or holidays; so, this also plays a role in contributing to the concentration of audience members at concerts.  In a post scarcity society, people won't need day jobs; so they'll have more availability for attending concerts at any time or day of the week.  This will free up more time and days for musicians to hold concerts, resulting in smaller concentrations of audiences for each concert.

In our present-day economic world, the number of professional or career musicians are relatively few and far between, compared to the overall population.  How many people would rather spend more time practicing and making music instead of having to work at some day job that has nothing to do with making music?  In a post scarcity society, more musicians or people interested in providing this form of entertainment will have more free time to hold concerts, thus increasing the abundance or availability of even more concerts.  There are many people who are either skilled at singing or playing an instrument, but can't play famous songs in concerts because they'd get stonewalled by the issue of copyright infringement.  Some fans are more interested in a song or genre of music rather than the personalities or bands.  In a post scarcity society, where intellectual property protection will no longer be necessary, anyone who enjoys making music will be free to do so.

There might be some people who are big fans of certain musicians or bands, and they might attend them more frequently, but that just means they won't be at any other concert.  People will eventually get bored or tired of attending concerts frequently, or attending the same concert over and over.  It's like listening to a broken record repeat the same segment endlessly; ever know anyone who enjoyed this?  Die-hard fans of a certain band or musician are probably so rare that it's not going to pose a dilemma.

Is there an example, besides concerts, that can be used to make the argument that there are some situations that still require money in a post scarcity society?  Maybe - maybe not.  Even if there are a few obscure situations where there is scarcity of some sort, I don't think there would be enough to prevent a society that's predominantly based on the post scarcity system from being feasible.

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