I went to see Made of Stone this week.
It’s brilliant, and despite not being a huge Stone Roses fan myself, it gave me real insight into the band, gave me a new appreciation for their music and their skills as musicians (even Ian Brown’s vocals) and a snapshot of just how big they got and how much they meant to people at that time.
What I didnt know was that their career was cut short, they were crippled by legal wranglings with their label and once they lost the momentum they’d generated following their debut, it was only a matter of time before they imploded. An implosion which left thousands of people longing for more of their favourite band.
Whilst they are all still alive, and as the film shows, they have been able to reform a decade or so after their split – they have benefited from the same hero making process as people such as Kurt Cobain, James Dean, Bill Hicks…. Cut down in their prime, their body of work was never sullied by third or fourth album, they never had to deal with the slow descent into mediocrity.
Their scarcity is their advantage. People have missed them. When the reunion was announced grown men went weak at the knees. Women swooned. People left work, palmed off their kids. They beg, stole and borrowed, all to get a ticket.
It was amazing to see that sort of devotion stirred in people. People who you’d think would behave more responsibly. It was like gravity for them, an inescapable force.
So whilst we’ve had Netflix CCO Ted Sarantos waxing lyrical in the last couple of weeks about why having to wait for TV shows to air week on week is a dead model, lets just remember the power of scarcity, and just how powerful withholding content from people can be. Let’s remember that the removal of friction from the user journey may not always be best, that maybe delayed gratification can still have a role to play in a world where information, content and pleasure is instant and ubiquitous.