SOPA & The Third Stage of Grief

Fred posted on the SOPA defeat; this post is an edited version of my comment there.

I’ve been thinking about the transformation of the creative industry since I walked from my record deal in 1994 to start a computer company.

Things have changed dramatically since then. I remember bitterly saying to them “you’re not getting another record out of me”, then sat out the rest of my contract, which had 3 years remaining on it.

So here’s where I am with the SOPA b.s. and the plaintive music and film industries: The content industry needs to ditch its scarcity mentality and move to an abundance mentality; if it doesn’t it will continue to die it’s slow, grueling death. 

And I bet because they’ve pissed us off so much, someone will figure out a way to accelerate that.

Part of the problem is that the music and film giants are, well,  a big part of the problem: the old school, top-down control model with many middlemen, concentration of capital and resources at the top, trying to hold onto every.last.dime. 

For years they squeezed the life out of most of their creators, taking the bulk of the profits, and now they’re unhappy they’ve been disrupted? 

This isn’t about piracy–that’s a red herring.  It’s about the direct model. They’ve been cut out of the relationship between the artist and the fan, and you know what? Good riddance.

10 points on an album I took 6 months to write and 4 weeks to record? For what? If I’m lucky they might throw a release party, but the reality is unless I win special favor with the execs, or my rep does, nothing’s happening because the company did something. 

It’s up to me anyway. So why work for them anymore? We don’t need them anymore. 

Most people don’t steal; most people who used to grab stuff off LimeWire moved to iTunes because 1) it just worked and 2) the price was right. 

Creators can create without them now. They can sell direct. 10,000 great fans can easily float a songwriter at $5/album. Make the album at home. The tools are amazing now. 

A friend in NY is working on his first film. Skipping most distribution, going direct and through iTunes, Video on Demand, Netflix. Screw retail distribution. We don’t need atoms to move these bits. 

They’re in the 3 stage of grief: bargaining. Good luck with that.

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