Clay Shirky recently wrote a great article on Cato Unbound. What he describes in the news industry is a mirror of what has happened in music. However, my take is that the “established,” which has consolidated over the last 30 years and bloated upon itself, is now decentralizing again.
30 years ago there were thousands of newspapers, individually owned in each community, just like radio. The internet also gives us a glimpse of what people have done all along – word of mouth. No doubt the tools are great, but fundamental behavior has not changed. It has simply adapted to the new channel.
There is another interesting emergence. All businesses carry a certain amount of “overhead” that is not part of the profit center. Unfortunately, businesses now evaluate all activity only through the profit lens. I believe we are going to see a return to this and the “green” movement as one beginning of realization.
Interestingly, over the years artists, writers, journalists, musicians, etc. have acquiesced to the systems and allowed them to be co-opted, consolidated into larger corporations. These were run by management that believed the channel or the pipeline “was the thing” instead of the creative (content) that it delivered.
During this period they relied on a false sense of truth that anything they delivered would be consumed. They continued to cut and squeeze out the creators to increase profits creating slowly diminishing environment. The collapse we are experiencing is the bloated entities unable to maintain their girth and the rebellion of the masses to look elsewhere.
This article, Not an Upgrade – an Upheaval, is correct that “programming” is going to be the central element in the new media space, and that current institutions are failing to adapt to the models required to make or allow that to happen. Read more…