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The Times They Are A Changin'

For those of you that are not hip to one of the greatest musical and song-writing legends of all time, Bob Dylan wrote these famous words as the title track to his 1964 album, “The Time’s They Are A Changing,” as an attempt to create an anthem for the change that was coming in the 1960’s.

The sixties saw some of the most transcendent changes in the history of our country. We saw the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War, Cuban Missile Crisis, an assassination of a sitting U.S President, and the landing on the moon, just to name a few. As I sat down to do some research for writing this piece, I was taken back by how significant some of the events that took place during this time period really were, and I began to draw comparisons to the types of change we are seeing today.

The same goes for listening to Dylan's song, in which he vividly describes the changes that are unfolding around him, and how the world is perceiving them. I believe this to be the most remarkable trait of Bob Dylan's writing.

Although the song was written 56 years ago, I have found uncanny comparisons to the world today. I'd like to break down the writing directly as it relates to what we are seeing in today's society across business, media, and life in general.


Come gather 'round people

Wherever you roam

And admit that the waters

Around you have grown

And accept it that soon

You'll be drenched to the bone.

If your time to you

Is worth savin'

Then you better start swimmin'

Or you'll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin'.

Dylan opens the song with a powerful call to gain your attention, to accept the inevitable change that is coming around you. He also calls out those that are hesitant to accept the change will "sink like a stone" and have the waters of change rush over them. I find this imagery to relatable to many industries today, especially the media landscape.

A great example of recognizing the "waters around you have grown," can be seen from the actions that Disney CEO Bob Iger took when deciding to go all-in on streaming and digital content with the investment of Disney+. Disney had long been a cash-cow from their licensing deals in the traditional media landscape, raking in billions of dollars from their legacy cable business partnerships and ownership of ABC news and ESPN.

However, the Times Were A Changin', and the internet was just beginning to show its potential in the streaming and online content space. While it could have been easy to turn a blind-eye to this rapid and disruptive change, Iger made the bold decision to spend treasure troves of cash on acquiring some of the most recognizable and storied brands like Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, and 20th Century Fox. At the time, these acquisitions worried investors and made them question Iger's vision of the company, due to what seemed to be extremely over-valued price tags that came with the acquisitions.

While all of these acquisitions were taking place, Iger and his team at Disney were building the infrastructure of the Disney+ streaming service, which would essentially purge their own traditional business of licensing and cable agreements of their legacy brands. As the launch date arrived on November 19, 2019, Iger set out a goal of reaching 60-90 Million Subscribers by the year 2024. However, just 4 months later the world would come to a screeching halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and would ultimately create an acceleration in the trend of online streaming. Just 16 months after launching, Disney+ would reach 100 MILLION subscribers, shattering their goal of 90 million by 2024. Disney stock would reach record highs on the exit of Iger's tenure as CEO, and current estimates show Disney potentially reaching upwards of 250 million subscribers by 2024. (To put this in perspective, Netflix has 207 million at the writing of this blog post.)

Oh and how about that $4 Billion Price Tag on Star Wars? Disney recouped their entire investment within SIX years of the deal, after the release of their smash hit (and grossly over-ridiculed) sequel trilogy series. I mean seriously, how is there so much hate for the Last Jedi? I thought that movie was AWESOME. Come at me Star Wars fans!!! And that is just the beginning, with much more Baby Yoda on the way, and more awesome Disney+ exclusive TV shows centered around a Galaxy Far, Far, Away arriving in the near future.

I wrote more about Iger and his journey on my first edition of The Bonker BookShelf, check it out if you haven't yet!


Come writers and critics

Who prophesize with your pen

And keep your eyes wide

The chance won't come again

And don't speak too soon

For the wheel's still in spin

And there's no tellin' who

That it's namin'.

For the loser now

Will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin'.

There is a theme in this verse that speaks to the way we see information and opinions today. With the advent of social media, every single person's opinion can be seen on the internet. There are more talking heads on TV, radio shows, podcasts, blogs, and video channels than ever before. There will always be an abundance of writers and critics, many of who will have egg on their face as the wheels of change spin in front of them.

Also side note- I love the line, "For the loser now, will be later to win." I think this can be related to SO many walks of life, whether it be in investing in stocks that look to beaten up losers (like the airlines back in March of 2020, how do they look now?), or fashion (denim is back, right?... idk actually - maybe I should stick to stocks?), or even sports, (The Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks, and Phoenix Suns, were the last teams standing in the NBA playoffs this season. Who remembers making fun of them being the bottom of the barrel teams in the league like 3 years ago!? **


Come senators, congressmen

Please heed the call

Don't stand in the doorway

Don't block up the hall

For he that gets hurt

Will be he who has stalled

There's a battle outside ragin'.

It'll soon shake your windows

And rattle your walls

For the times they are a-changin'.

I don't delve into politics here on the BonkerBeat because I believe that they have become far too divisive in our society today. So I won't spend to much time on this verse, but I do see a eerie connection to these lines and the events of last year as they related to our voted officials navigating the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was absolutely essential that Congress moved swiftly and strongly with their government stimulus plans to aid U.S. citizens through our "battle that was outside rangin,'" the Covid-19 pandemic last year. We pleaded with them to "heed the call," and thankfully, for the most part, they did. This verse has an important message that discusses the need for our politicians to act together, and not let ourselves get in our own way when it comes to working towards progress in our country. Although I know it can be easy to point fingers and criticize our leadership, I believe it is far more important to focus on how we can work together and make progress towards tackling the challenges that face our country.

Verse 4:

Come mothers and fathers

Throughout the land

And don't criticize

What you can't understand

Your sons and your daughters

Are beyond your command

Your old road is rapidly agin'

Please get out of the new one