Piano maker Kemble & Co is closing after nearly 100 years producing over 350,000 pianos. They were the UK’s last large scale piano manufacturer.
It’s a reflection of yesteryear when a piano was a central asset in the home. Mum and dad would teach their kids the odd tune in the hope of lighting their musical spark. Much more likely now to see a Playstation and laptop alongside the Sky box. Even if it were still fashionable, I doubt many modern living rooms are large enough to house a piano. I’m sure Kemble is a wonderful manufacturer but they belong to a sunshine industry that is clearly setting.
Another sign of the times is the UK release of Amazon’s e-reader, the Kindle. If I were a newspaper boss I’d be doing everything in my power to have my subscription service available to e-readers and smart phones. If I want eyeballs, I need to be where they are.
So why on earth are only four titles available via Amazon? The Evening Standard and Metro are free in London, but not so here. Hello! Amazon’s profits were up 68% in Q3 with the Kindle now their largest selling item by value and by volume (that’s staggering!). The music industry was far too slow to realise digital was a game changer, you’ve got to ask will the publishing and newspaper guys have learnt their lesson?
I can’t help but think of the Royal Mail strikes in the same (dimming) light. With the CWU seemingly taking glee at delaying some 50 to 60 million items, surely they’re speeding up their own inevitable death march.
Right or wrong as the union’s position may be, letters are in the same ‘sunshine industry’ as pianos and newspapers. No picket line will change that.