My last post was about the merits of decentralization and I thought it would be fun to explore why it’s not such a good thing. Keep in mind that I feel decentrilization on the whole is an excellent thing despite its drawbacks.
Decentralization will disrupt power and profits. The movie industry, the book publishing industry, the tv industry and the music industry all specialize in selling entertainment on a large scale. They make their living and massive profits by more or less being the only game in town. All four are mature industries which exhibit oligopolical traits (that is: a small group control most or all of the market). They will not like competition which is cheap and/or entertaining. They would be idiots not to realize the potential that the internet has to completely dwarf their way of doing things. There are more people watching videos from some kid with a 40 dollar webcam than movies or tv shows that have had millions of dollars spent on them. Technology is making these giants obsolete so they must do something. Some of them have taken to using legal action as a way of delaying their ultimate fall (forgive me for being a little dramatic). Others, more nimble companies are already sidestepping them to reach a wider audience themselves. I recently found the small recording label that the Stars and Broken Social Scene are signed to has been putting the videos of its artists on youtube. The recording label is posting them under the nickname of artscrafts and I would highly recommend people check out the Stars – Your Ex-Lover is Dead video here: http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=artscrafts&page=1
I believe what happened with Amazon will happen to the other mediums on the Internet (and I bet it’s already happening and we just have to wait for the evidence to come in). I cannot recall the exact details about this matter but I will summerize the main points. Traditional bookstores make the majority (80-90%) of their sales from a small number of best sellers. On Amazon, however, a curious thing happened. They make the majority of their profits on a very large number of random books and music cds.
We have alreday seen something similar on iTunes. A large number of small artists account for the majority of sales, so the music industry is coming along nicely. The TV world will likely soon follow as iTunes is integrating a larger and larger number of television shows and I’m sure the movie industry will eventually follow suit in a similar manner.
There’s a lot of crap out there. There will be news blogs that will be post very biased material. Some will even lie. Most of what’s on youtube and google video and all those sites is ridiculously bad. A lot of it was posted by someone for the benefit of their friends.Often times, it’s not only the content that’s completely uninteresting; the production quality is crap, too. Keep in mind one though, though. The internet is a community and some laws of Darwinian evolution do apply here. It’s like survival of the fiittest in some ways. If a website, video or story has inherently interesting qualities, then people will send it to their friends whom will share it with their friends. This helps to explain why things like the numa numa kid or the star wars kids become huge almost over night. If, however, the item in question isn’t entertaining or interesting (not good or high-quality, just interesting), then it will simply die off in the obscure corners of the Internet.