I haven’t written much of late. Instead I have just been following news waiting for something inspiring. I am increasingly convinced that for content owners the fight against digital piracy is a legal one. Software, film and music companies need to come together and pick off their targets one by one – personal storage sites, Bit Torrent indexes, blogs – in amenable legal jurisdictions. Drive out the VCs, drive out the advertisers and make it harder to build a business based on infringement.
The consumer is ever resourceful and follows the path of least resistance. In the music industry people are being bombarded by stories about Radiohead’s tip jar album release (to see what people paid sign up here), announcements about required cultural change at EMI from Guy Hands and the news that Facebook is working on a music platform. There are some pointers here to what is needed on the consumer access side – different consumption models, music everywhere, a range of price points from zero (like ad funded) to premium – what has been described as music like water. Unfortunately shoring up CD sales seems to be slowing the key players down.
In this context the fact that Jupiter will be publishing a report soon showing that “a large proportion of European regular Social Networkers buy music they discover on networks” is very interesting and may surprise some music industry insiders. (Read the rest of Mark Mulligan’s blog entry on Facebook here).
The idea that you might want to buy or somehow “own” music that you discover at the point of discovery applies to all sorts of contexts, not just online. I want to add a new song that I hear on the radio to my library at that moment rather than remember to look for it later- more and more radio dates are synchronised with digital release dates of singles. But what about releasing digitally as soon as an album leaks to the internet? What about releasing straight from the studio, and with footage from the recording?
For those cynical about why social networks are anything new, and I have had my doubts at times, Marc Andreson takes some time to draw comparisons between the feature set of Geocities and Facebook (and Ning). Those of us who were involved in Web pre-2.0 will remember SixDegrees.com whose feature set is described in an article here – it’s more than pmarca’s feature set for Geocities but nothing compared to the Web 2.0 generation of social networking sites.