Can’t Beat Free

September 13, 2003 at 8:20 pm | Posted in Politics, Rants | Leave a comment

Shirky: Fame vs Fortune: Micropayments and Free Content

Many think that free content is economically not sustainable. This article explains why free content is the only sustainable model for textual information online.

I believe that it will be a matter of time before what is happening in the content world will happen in the music business. In fact, the music buiness more differentiated than textual content and has a barrier to entry (musical talent) — any idiot can publish a weblog (heck, look at me :-), but not everyone can make music, and even less can make music of a specific genre. Therefore, artists should be able to make money — I’m talking about real artists rather than the corporate crap sung by Britney Spears or NSync.

Artists will realize that they are better off bypassing the rapacious RIAA middleman and going directly to their audience. The results will be interesting, as the distribution advantages of the RIAA no longer apply online. Like all paradigm shifts, it will be a painful but necessary process.

"There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this
country the notion that because a man or a corporation has
made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the
government and the courts are charged with the duty of
guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face
of changing circumstances and contrary public interest.
This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor
common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any
right to come into court and ask that the clock of history
be stopped, or turned back, for their private benefit."
               -- Robert A. Heinlein

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