Mood swings against free?

Funny how the mood has changed regarding the concept of free content on the net. The Camper Van Beethoven interview has shed light in more detail on how difficult it is for bands to make any money with recorded music on the web (and off it) and the recent news about Andrew Zolli changing his tune: “the idea that we internet visionaries sold is a total load of crap. …companies were supposed to make back the money by… “monetizing the attention economy”…”

Without the product being forced with a physical item, it’s almost impossible to hold the same leverage to make a sale… So the IT industry holds the leverage: the music industry shrinks while Apple and Google get richer…

But it does seem ridiculously unfair: the world expects content creators to produce, whether it’s music, writing, reporting, photography or video -it all requires time, effort, training, skills and expertise… What would the internet be without creative content? It would probably be limited to merely a platform for business transactions -banking, travel, shopping etc… Imagine how much less people would go online if there was no creative content. The ad revenue would be vastly reduced as well.

But the rules are changing. It’s as simple as that.

90% of my news-reading is done online. I buy the Sydney Morning Herald occasionally, but generally go online. And if it wasn’t free online, I’d read another newspaper anyway, it wouldn’t force me to buy atom copies.

And I read newspapers from Asia (有的时候看中文报纸-。。。练习一些), and I access a few articles and blogs relevant to the music industry -including Billboard. It would’ve been a lot harder to access those 15 years ago.

A simple fact is that physical newspapers can’t delivery up-to-date news like the online network and blogs anyway…

And further worse news for content creators of all kinds -as the barriers of entry lower more people are doing it for free. I don’t suppose what the futurists preach would make a huge difference. The transformation from a passive consumer society to a ‘prosumer’ society is taking place. From a global perspective, information and culture has become more far-reaching, freely available and communication more efficient -it’s just that the techies will be the ones making all the money.


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