I demand to see the long form death certificate

These are a couple of notes on the disintermediation of the content supply chain. There are victors and losers and disruption all around.

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If you’ve been to the Amazon home page today, this is what you saw: a letter from Jeff Bezos telling you the story of Jessica Park – an author who, after getting rejection letters left and right by the mainstream publishing industry, finally published her book through Kindle Direct Publishing and now claims Amazon saved her life. Bezos dropped an interesting data point: almost a quarter of the top 100 best selling Kindle books come through the Kindle Direct Publishing.

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Emily White, an NPR intern and General Manager of her college radio station, wrote a post at the All Songs Considered blog in which she recalled buying at most 15 CDs in her lifetime. At the same time, she has 11,000 song MP3 collection. How does she explain this disparity between what she paid for and what she ended up owning? Well, silly, she pirated the shit out of it. David Lowery at The Tricordist wrote an open letter to Ms. White, which basically amounts to a 4,000 word “WTF, girl”. While Mr. Lowery starts out by saying he doesn’t want to shame or expose Ms. White, he doesn’t hesitate to break out the big guns to make his point, which is can be summarized as “musicians are being driven to poverty, addiction and suicide because of you, you heartless bitch”. The “new” model (if there is one) is driving artists revenues to the ground. Meanwhile, “Spotify’s CEO is the 10th richest man in the UK music industry ahead of all but one artist on his service.”

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A couple of weeks ago, much was discussed about HBO’s refusal to  go to a direct sales model with the HBO GO product. This correspondent thought that the two examples above align nicely with it and show how the same conversation happens regarding different media. Basically trying to solve a single problem – getting part B (the receiver) to pay part A (the source) in a way parts A and B agree it’s fair. A problem that sounds so simple when reduced to its most basic parts, but as usual, the devil is in the details.

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