Corante.com have a great interview with Hank Barry, formerly CEO of Napster, about the state of copyright, investment and the new media sphere as a whole. It’s well worth a read, but let me pull out two quotes:
We are in the early days of payments systems other than advertising in what you might call the “self expression market.” That is changing, as we get into payment structures for RSS (subscriptions), digital object marketplaces like Bitpass, etc. But there is no eBay for digital objects, where an individual can choose to, say, offer one work on a Creative Commons license and another for many dollars. That will happen.
I’ve noticed a few people speaking in recent weeks about “micropayments”, and I think this is healthy. Although it sounds like a return to old canards, it’s actually quite fundamental; as the blogosphere encroaches into the lives of the 90 per cent or so of the population who currently couldn’t care less, an economic model that runs on more than ego is going to be essential.
Barry also says:
But the reasons that people group into firms – risk reduction, accumulating capital and allocating costs across a number of projects (not to mention the social aspects) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ have not changed (see, e.g., Gawker, Corante).
So, some of the people and firms who are at the edge of todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s innovations will join more traditional media, and thereby change what “traditional media” means. Some will stay independent.
I think that’s interesting. The idea that the massively distributed blogosphere might coalesce for reasons other than plain old consolidation (for which read big fish swallow small fish) is new to me. Nick Denton might be innovating more profoundly than we think; the “blog umbrella” under which shelter dozens of bloggers could be an interesting model going forward. And maybe one which legacy media firms should look at.