TITLE: A Couple of Passages on Disintermediation AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: July 26, 2015 10:03 AM DESC: ----- BODY: "Disintermediation" is just a fancy word for getting other people out of the space between the people who create things and the people who read or listen to those things. 1. In What If Authors Were Paid Every Time Someone Turned a Page?, Peter Wayner writes:
One latter-day Medici posted a review of my (short) book on Amazon complaining that even 99 cents was too expensive for what was just a "blog post". I've often wondered if he was writing that comment in a Starbucks, sipping a $6 cup of coffee that took two minutes to prepare.
Even in the flatter world of ebooks, Amazon has the power to shape the interactions of creators and consumers and to influence strongly who makes money and what kind of books we read. 2. Late last year, Steve Albini spoke on the surprisingly sturdy state of the music industry:
So there's no reason to insist that other obsolete bureaux and offices of the lapsed era be brought along into the new one. The music industry has shrunk. In shrinking it has rung out the middle, leaving the bands and the audiences to work out their relationship from the ends. I see this as both healthy and exciting. If we've learned anything over the past 30 years it's that left to its own devices bands and their audiences can get along fine: the bands can figure out how to get their music out in front of an audience and the audience will figure out how to reward them.
Most of the authors and bands who aren't making a lot of money these days weren't making a lot of money -- or any money at all -- in the old days, either. They had few effective ways to distribute their writings or their music. Yes, there are still people in between bands and their fans, and writers and their readers, but Albini reminds us how much things have improved for creators and audiences alike. I especially like his takedown of the common lament, "We need to figure out how to make this work for everyone." That sentence has always struck me as the reactionary sentiment of middlemen who no longer control the space between creators and audiences and thus no longer get their cut of the transaction. I still think often about what this means for universities. We need to figure out how to make this internet thing work for everyone... -----