Two excellent rants on the subject of the end of media (content) scarcity recently, one from Fake Steve Jobs and one from Rick Rubin (music production guru and now, bizarrely, co-CEO of Columbia Records). I mentioned the former in my catch-up earlier today but I think both deserve more comprehensive citation. Here's Rick Rubin from NYT (via Mathew Ingram):
"Until very recently...there were a handful of
channels in the music business that the gatekeepers controlled. They
were radio, Tower Records, MTV, certain mainstream press like Rolling
Stone. That's how people found out about new things. Every record
company in the industry was built to work that model. There was a time
when if you had something that wasn't so good, through muscle and lack
of other choices, you could push that not very good product through
those channels. And that's how the music business functioned for 50
years. Well, the world has changed. And the industry has not."
And here's FSJ (via Adrian Monck):
"What the fuck is a television
network? It's a system of affiliates designed to help carry a broadcast
signal across the wide continent of America on airwaves and into
television sets owned by millions of people. In essence, you are in the
distribution business. In the second half of the twentieth century you
had the great good fortune to be granted a kind of limited monopoly
over the distribution of a very valuable commodity. There were only so
many airwaves, hence only so many networks. There were way more
advertisers than there were channels to carry their advertising. So you
sat there with your choke-hold on the garden hose, controlling the flow
of programming and getting fatter and fatter and fatter.
It was a wonderful system. For you anyway. Except that it had one huge flaw. Which is that for you guys, the middlemen, to get rich, you needed to fuck over the people at both ends of the value chain -- the consumers who had no choice in what they watched and spent years being fed mountains of dog shit, and the producers of content who were at your mercy and had to negotiate with this tiny number of networks who operated, let's be honest here, as a kind of cartel.
It's over now. Your business model was a historical anomaly built on scarcity of a valuable resource and the willingness of a small group of network operators to not slit each other's throats and to collaborate in exploiting the content producers."