Digital Typhoon Hits Korea

South Korea is undergoing amazing changes brought on by endless waves of new technologies and trends.  This New Zealand News article provides a good glimpse of what is going on in Korea:

The country has become a hot-bed of free music downloading as fans take advantage of MP3 file-sharing services, including Soribada, South Korea's version of Napster.

In a country of 48 million people, Soribada ("sea of sound") has drawn more than six million users since it launched in 2000.
…Since the launch of these sites, domestic CD sales have nose-dived nearly 50 per cent.
…There were 8000 CD stores in South Korea five years ago, but now we have only 400 left.
…Although the advent of free MP3 files has also devastated music publishers and other retailers, the future of music retailers looks particularly bleak since they also face cut-throat competition from online shopping.
…Sales of music for cellphones alone have outpaced traditional CD sales since 2002.
…"It seems like brick-and-wood music stores like us are nearly doomed, unless the Government comes up with some financial measures to help us stay alive. It may soon be the end of an era for us."

Unfortunately, I don't see a workable solution emerging yet.  If the Lawrence Lessig's so called Free Culture folks have some ideas, I would like to hear them.  Note that people running these businesses in Korea are not idealists nor technologists but people buried neck deep in the new reality trying to stay afloat.


p dir=”ltr”>Some are adapting fairly well to these changes though.  For example, book publishers hit hard by rampant booksharing online are publishing books written by amateur online serial writers.  As I mentioned before, decent amateur writers receive publishing offers even before their serial reach the halfway point.  This is because the serial itself is the primary marketing vehicle for these types of books.