What the Music Industry Can Teach us About the Future of Court Reporting
The music industry is dead.
Technology has killed it!
Some artists work incredibly hard learning to play instruments and perfecting their craft, but most of the time, the people getting the most attention have a MacBook and synthesized sounds. Or they coat everything in autotune to get by.
Not that it really matters. Not even the most popular DJ can make money when record sales are dwindling due to rampant piracy. Who’s going to pay for music when they can get it for free from so many sources?
If this type of fear resonates with you in your career, it shouldn’t. The music industry is doing just fine, and despite some people claiming that court reporting is dying, it’s doing just fine too.
We’ve already debunked the technology takeover of court reporting here and here, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t changes to be aware of or that you shouldn’t be thinking of alternative ways to make money from your hard work.
The way the music industry has adapted over the last several years can teach court reporters a lot.
Work With Changes in Tech, Not Against Them
Record sales used to be the gold standard to measure how an album performs. And there was a time when a big artist could go multi-platinum in the first few weeks or even days of releasing something new.
Times have changed.
Almost no one buys physical CDs and few people want to spend the same price on a digital product, especially when they can buy one song for a few cents on iTunes or stream the whole CD for free.
But major recording artists and their managers are still millionaires…at least the ones who have learned to adapt to the changing landscape. Anyone still trying to figure out how to make CD sales go back up isn’t doing so well.
It’s the same with court reporters. Of course, the job doesn’t look like it did 20 years ago; the world is changing at lightning speed and the court reporters who are still making good money are the ones learning to change with it.
Even though you don’t have to worry about tech replacing you, you do have to worry about becoming a relic. New technologies can simplify your daily tasks and provide better optics to the people looking to hire you.
In an interview with Lifehacker, Cassandra Caldarella answered, “I stay current on all technology. I have the latest software, hardware, tech gadgets, and gizmos,” in response to a question about how she makes her job easier.
Beware of Pirates
There’s no way around it: hundreds of sites make pirated music available to the masses. While trying to take them all down is like playing an unwinnable game of whack-a-mole, taking out a few of the most egregious offenders can help stem the tides and show that labels are willing to act.
Similarly, keeping an eye out for listservs that provide illegal copies of your depositions can help you keep the money you deserve for your work in your pocket.
Simply ask these sources to remove your property. Since they likely also work in the legal field, they probably know it’s in their best interest to do so when you request it.
Additionally, depositions are not meant to be public record. Maintaining control over them will help you protect the privacy of the individuals you’ve worked with.
Offer the Best Service
Sure, there are a lot of people illegally downloading music from the internet. Probably most people. But there are also a lot of people with paid, monthly memberships to services like Spotify.
Because in addition to providing virus-free music, Spotify offers a service that people enjoy.
They have a massive online music library that you can access from anywhere, you can download music when you don’t want to stream, and you can create your own playlists to share online or listen to hundreds of pre-made playlists.
Essentially, the extra benefits make it more convenient to pay for music than to steal it.
As a court reporter, you own your depositions. And ensuring they remain profitable after the initial creation means that accessing them through you has to be the most convenient option. Luckily, the internet makes this easier than ever.
Help attorneys find you and the depositions they need by creating a solid online presence. It will help to also explicitly state what you can offer. And of course, you can take advantage of the Expert Depos platform to simplify the process even further.
The added benefit of having the proper certification requirements to be able to use the deposition in court to help them win a case will outweigh the temptation to get the deposition from other sources.
And you get to decide what you want to charge for your new and improved service!
We hope this has made you think about how you can keep adapting to changes in your job and even use those changes to your financial advantage.
If you have any stories about the changes you’ve made, please let us know.
Let’s take this conversation to Twitter!
You can tweet us @expertdepos and/or use the hashtag #expertdepostech