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What happened to “P2P?”

People don’t even mention P2P (peer-to-peer) sharing anymore as they did in the days of Napster. Now, sharing is just a natural extension of the web.

P2P used to be a pejorative term fraught with perceptions of theft and piracy of downloads. It’s true that illegal downloads are still rampant all over of the world. But streams have replaced downloads for the most part and legitimate content networks (Spotify, Hulu, YouTube) have sprouted up to give people that free experience with the support of advertising.

“P2P” as a term has virtually disappeared. If you’re not sharing content you’re not partitipating in what the web was built for. As an artist, you’re able to spread your content across the web and convert your biggest fans. As a user, you’re able to discover all types of new stuff. P2P birthed an online niche for everybody. Sharing is still an imperfect balance, especially when it comes to paid content, but new models are emerging simplify consumption and encourage word of mouth.

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The Sharing Economy

It makes no sense to steal from someone else’s cart at the grocery; you’re still responsible for paying for it at checkout. There’s also plenty of inventory available on that same item.

Similar ridiculous theft happens online. You may own a piece of content that someone rips from your computer on Bittorent before you’ve even finished downloading the entire file yourself.

It’s free to pluck items in the sharing economy and create an inconvenience for
someone else. Stealing may be a shortcut to get what you want faster but at the cost of morality.

It’s amazing that we still fight over free items with infinite inventory knowing that we still have to checkout. Do yourself a favor, get it yourself and wait in line.

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“When people start stealing shit, you know there’s a market out there.”

Theft is an estimation of demand.

Despite the fact that content providers have made it easier and more affordable to consume content online, primarily through streaming, people still steal stuff on the Internet because it’s easy and it feels free. “Everyone is doing it.”

But mass consumption means a lot of the stuff that gets stolen also gets trashed or ignored.

Value resides in the stuff worth keeping.

The paradox of free is a devaluation of the product. The product is just the marketing vehicle for upselling other stuff (events, tickets, merchandise, etc); basically the stuff that’s tangible and much harder to steal.

Free is a large market that creates other sales opportunities. The paid market is much harder to convert.