Over the past 20 years, the way we consume media has completely changed.
For most, the days of DVDs and CDs are over with the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Spotify. However, despite the rapidly changing landscape, physical media formats are still far more important than many people will ever realize, in the form of media preservation.
Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) has been making headlines lately with their high-profile cancellations of in-development HBO Max projects like “Batgirl” and “Scoob!: Holiday Haunt,” but what’s slipped under the radar are the movies. Originals and TV shows that had already been on the service for a while were removed, like Seth Rogen’s dual-role comedy “An American Pickle” or pandemic heist comedy “Locked Down.”
These movies are now almost inaccessible because when it comes to streaming, you own NOTHING.
You pay a fee each month for a license and nothing else. If a streaming service decides to pull something, there’s a good chance it’ll be gone forever, like Olan Rogers’ “Final Space,” an animated comedy series that ran for three seasons and has now been canceled by WBD, and as such cannot legally be distributed anymore. “Final Space”, functionally, only exists on the physical DVD release.
This is why physical media are still so important. This is the only way to truly preserve art when the corporations that own it refuse to do so.
Films like “Dogma”, which are personally owned by Harvey Weinstein, will never see the light of day on streaming unless Weinstein relinquishes the rights or dies, and as such the only way to view this film is if you own a physical copy.
This also goes for music. Albums like De La Soul’s thrilling debut “Three Feet High and Rising” can’t be found on services like Apple Music or Spotify, and famously, Taylor Swift once released “1989” and, later, her entire discography from Spotify. because of his sentiment the artists were not compensated fairly. And, sadly, I feel compelled to mention that Kanye West released his album “Donda 2” exclusively through his Stem Player to combat the same issues.
Physical media also offers more than streaming.
As well as a range of gorgeous DVDs or vinyl records when lined up on a shelf, the physical releases simply offer more content, in the form of special features on the DVDs and liner notes on the CD releases and vinyl, which go further. depth on creating your favorite movies and music that Spotify or Disney+ could never hope for. And technically, streaming is much more compressed, and the version of a movie or song on disc will be higher quality and more consistent than on a streaming service.
All of this isn’t to say that streaming is inherently awful – truth be told, it’s one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century. In many ways, these art forms have now democratized, with pieces that were previously overlooked now getting a second chance at Netflix’s Top 10.
Streaming also gives artists more flexibility to fix things that fall through the cracks, as Lizzo recently tweaked the lyrics to her song “Grrrlz” after discovering that one of the terms she used is in doing an ability insult, or Elliot Page’s dead name being removed and replaced. in the opening credits of “The Umbrella Academy”.
This same flexibility, however, is also used for censoring older films so companies can avoid accountability. “Toy Story 2” was quietly censored at the Disney+ launch, removing a joke about the blooper reel’s sexual misconduct during the credits.
The joke was tasteless, even in 1999, and is even worse with the knowledge of director John Lasseter. own misconductbut it is not right to simply wipe it off the face of the earth without acknowledging the changing times and expiating the sins, rather than sweeping them under the rug.
All in all, streaming will always be an amazing way to experience new art, but if you really love that art, you better get your hands on a physical copy before some executive decides you can’t anymore.