Content creators are copying the music industry, again.
Yesterday, Andrew Sullivan turned his blog into a subscription service with the option to buy individual articles via micro-payments. Similarly, iTunes has sold .99 singles for years and Spotify offers an ad-free subscription monthly service,
Everyone raved when comedian Louis CK sold a DRM-free downloadable video on his website for $5. The direct to fan music model has been a well-established music model for years. I worked with one at Topspin.
The only reason the book business hasn’t successfully built a revolutionary and combinatorial pricing, packaging, and distribution model is because the ebook format is not universalized. Music has the MP3; books are split between the ePub format for Barnes and Noble and iTunes and the Kindle format for Amazon, all with the DRM option.
Consumers scoff the music industry for being anti-consumer and behind the times. The reality is that the music file revolutionized the way we consume and swap content on the Internet, from downloads to streams. As the first business to be hit by Internet piracy, it was forced to come up with a means of survival that retrained the buying habit.
When people or brands look for new distribution strategies, they are subconsciously consulting the music business which has already gone through a lot of this digital transformation.