The Internet has “spread the wealth” in many industries. Of that there is no doubt. That has been great in terms of exposure but bad in terms of slicing up the profits pie into ever smaller pieces. What caught my eye about the story below was this quote from Microsoft’s Jaron Lanier; “We discovered in Silicon Valley if you apply information systems … you can shrink an industry but grow yourself. It happened to the music business, and it’s a huge problem.”
If you think about it isn’t that really a very succinct way to express what has happened in the entertainment industry since the dawn of the Internet age? The record industry sees the IT people as web based Robber Barons who have forced their way into the industry as brand new players and demanded a lion’s share of the revenue.
Indie artists on the other hand have actually had a better outcome on one hand because they have access to a world market (if they know how to reach it) but on the other hand the sheer numbers of the competition from other indies as well as major label artists has made it far harder to get noticed by this potential market than all of the DIY success salespeople would have had them believe it would be.
So, while it is still the wild west in terms of what is possible for small players in the entertainment industry, the doors of opportunity are slowly closing as the music and film industries reestablish their ivory towers by taking front and center positions in all of the popular destinations and moving indie artists to the cheap seats in the back. Only artists who stay aware of the ever changing world of digital entertainment and take advantage of the opportunities as they become available will be successful.
The 4A’s Transformation Conference kicked off Tuesday morning with a disagreement between Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO at WPP, andMicrosoft Research Partner Architect Jaron Lanier about about whether technology has destroyed or created value for industry.
In the panel “Technology, Data and Social Media: Does it make us all different or the same?” moderator Rob Norman, CEO of Group M North America, tossed the first grenade, asking if technology has destroyed the equivalent of the value it has created during the past 20 years.
“We probably destroyed more than we created,” said Mr. Lanier, who in a baggy T-shirt and dreadlocks could not have looked more the opposite of the impeccably groomed Mr. Sorrell. “We discovered in Silicon Valley if you apply information systems to an industry you can shrink an industry but grow yourself. It happened to the music business, and it’s a huge problem.”
Mr. Sorrell swung back: “[We’ve got] the internet … and you’ve narrowed it down to [the notion that] data and data analytics have destroyed more than they’ve created. I think that’s palpable nonsense. Clearly there’s a change in the balance of power to consumers … [but] the political benefits, social benefits and economic benefits outweigh the disadvantages.”