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    Are Antiques Getting Less Common?

    In this post I return to the topic of virtual goods. I have previously written about virtual goods and how I don’t particularly get them. Clearly there are many reasons why a person would buy such a thing, but I thought that Fantasy7 did the best job making an argument that when you buy a virtual good, such as a gift on Facebook, you are really buying an experience for whomever you are buying it for. Fantasy7 did not look at it so much as a gift of property, but a gift of enjoyment to the gift recipient.

    This does make sense in a lot of ways, but the financial side of me is not yet done kicking. This time I will stay away from video game objects, virtual gifts, and other such things. I will go after a major market: digital music.

    Understand that I don’t have anything against digital music. I love my iPod Shuffle as much as the next person.  I love the ease of use, transfer, and search capabilities of a mp3 library.  My issue is the future.  What happens when you no longer like an artist and you want to get rid of the CD?  There is no garage sale.  Amazon cannot help you. eBay cannot be there for you.  You simply cannot sell the CD when you are done because it is just a file.  Even if you take the money aspect out of this, you cannot share (legally) your music with anybody.  So really when you spend that money, you had better be buying for the experience for the song rather than the song.

    But really this is expanding beyond just the music world.  There are audio books, books for a reader like Kindle, entire video games, movies, pictures, etc.  Basically anything that people can figure out how to get on-line, they are putting on the internet.

    What does this mean to the world of artistic photography?  Can you really justify paying for an digital copy of a piece or artwork when it takes nothing to create the same thing.  There are no numbered prints; I can just print my own.  The artwork is the artist’s brand and with digital distribution they have no control over their brand.  As for DVDs and CDs, whether you like to admit it or not, there is a certain sense of pride to have a DVD filled wall or shelving unit.

    What do you think?  Is the age of Antiques Roadshow dead?  Will there be anything to pass onto the kids for the items I am talking about?  If not, does that say anything about this generation?

    This has been a Thought From The Cake Scraps.

    2 responses to “Are Antiques Getting Less Common?”

    1. Fantasy7 says:

      Again, I would argue that it’s unfair to say that just because something doesn’t have resale value that it doesn’t have value to you personally. The truth is, you do still own that music or those books when you buy them, even if they have to value in the real world. What is difference from having the CD or the book on your shelf, if you don’t intend to resell them? You can legally continue to reuse them as much as you want, reread the book whenever you choose. That certainly has value. As for passing on to your kids, digital goods can be passed on just as easily, albeit in smaller packaging (a USB drive for example).

      As to the disappearing of antiques, it seems to me that there will always be the romantics out there who want the first edition of such and such book or those that value the cover art on their record case or CD case (more of a stretch, but you get the point). The digitalizing of everything may in fact make those things more rare, reducing demand, perhaps, but decreasing supply as well, and keeping the price constant (perhaps). I would contend that antiques won’t disappear.

    2. @Fantasy7 I think you and I are on different pages on this one. I speak of market value, you speak of personal value. The art you made in 3rd grade may have lots of value to you (or your mother) but almost none to anybody else. So yes, an object is worth whatever value you assign to it but it also has a value on the open market, the area of my interest.

      Since there is no way to tell a copied good from the original (mp3s, pictures, etc.) the digital good has almost no market value. How many burned CDs do you see on eBay that claim “these are the original tracks to the CD, I no longer have them” None. Can you really see someone passing on their music library to their kids, or will they just make a copy of it? Who knows, these sorts of things have yet to be decided. It will be interesting for sure.

      I would still continue to argue that a physical item will always have more worth on re-sale than its virtual counterpart.

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