57 posts categorized "Control Fights"
June 21, 2012
April 12, 2012
From a new eMarketer post (and related report), here are some interesting snippets:
"In a sign of how important online streaming and subscription music services have become to the recording industry, trade publication Billboard recently updated its weekly Hot 100 song chart to include data from Spotify, Slacker, Rhapsody, Cricket/Muve, Rdio and MOG. The revamped methodology went live in March 2012, after several months of testing that showed a rising curve for audio streams, from 320.5 million in the first week of 2012 to 494 million during the week of March 4, 2012. By comparison, digital track sales during that period decreased from 46.4 million to 27.1 million, according to Nielsen..."
This is, of course, totally obvious: as good as it is, iTunes is essentially an inadvertent punishment for being interested in more music, since every desire to listen to aka 'consume' new music results in having to spend another dollar on downloading the track. Cloud-based services don't have that problem - and clearly I won't pay $ 20.000 to fill up my iPod with Apple's music, while I have no problem saving 2000 Spotify tracks on my iPhone anytime I want to (and for $10 / month). I have been talking about this for the past 10 years, but here it is again: access is replacing ownership, like it or not (and I don't see a reason not to like it, as user or as creator). We can wish for this to be different, but it's not. End of story. Participate or become insignificant.
"Another indicator of the popularity of cloud-based streaming was a 50.5% increase in online music listening hours in 2011. According to a February 2012 report from AccuStream Research, US consumers spent 1.3 billion hours listening to music through internet radio and other streaming services in 2011, up from 865 million hours in 2010. The media spend associated with US internet radio and on-demand streaming services amounted to $293.7 million in 2011, according to AccuStream Research. This compares with $171.7 million spent on subscriptions to those services. AccuStream forecast that the total market would grow by 78% in 2012... Ad monetization is expected to grow at a healthy clip on the mobile side as well. eMarketer expects US mobile music advertising revenues to hit $591.5 million in 2015, more than doubling 2012’s total of $264.5 million. According to eMarketer estimates, the advertising component of mobile revenue is much higher with music than with gaming or video, largely because of the popularity of Pandora and Spotify on mobile devices..."
Yes, of course, streaming music currently makes much less money for the content owners and rights holders than downloading does - but the key to making this work is to get EVERYONE involved in streaming legally via one of the existing or future services and platforms, just like radio, i.e. starting with a more or less free / feels-like-free or freemium offering. The math is simple: if 200 Million people use Spotify or Simfy or Rdio - whether they pay 'with attention' aka advertising, via telco bundles, or with their own cash - then the rightsholders will see some serious money coming their way. If they can't allow this market to grow, then it won't be created (at least not in a legal way)
The bottom line is: the music industry has to monetize AROUND the music, not just WITH the music. Think advertising, bundling, added values... new generatives. There is no sense whatsoever in fighting the obvious trend of access replacing ownership.
April 09, 2012
"...turning the mobile Web into something more like TV.
Meanwhile, back on the book and music front, publishers already have the Amazon and Apple content sphincters in place, on the iPads, iPhones and Kindles that are gradually marginalizing our dull old all-purpose desktop and laptop computers.What used to be radio is gradually turning into a rights-clearing mess. You like Spotify? Read Michael Robertson on how hard it is for Spotify and other radio-like music services to make money, or for the artists to make much either.
You like to hear music on the radio, either over the air or over streams? Read David Oxenford’s report on how complicated that’s getting. Stopping SOPA was indeed an achievement by advocates of a free and open Internet. But that was like stopping one goal in a football game after the other side already built up a 100-to-0 lead...."
Some very good thoughts here. If this continues, will there be anything left that is a actually COMMON good, based on a PUBLIC License... something that is not behind some wall?
Jeff Jarvis said in 2005 (!): "In fact, the act of consumption is now an act of creation. There are so many examples. When I search on Google, I am finding stuff for me but when I click, I am adding to the wisdom of the crowd that makes Google more effective for every searcher who follows me. When I create my iTunes playlist I am also programming my personal iTunes radio station, which I can share; that’s still individual. But when my listening habits join in at LastFM, I’ve now contributed to a collective and that collective pays me back with recommendations (hear Fred on this). When I consume content and want to save it on Del.icio.us or other such services, that’s an individual act. But the tags we create together yield amazing wisdom of the crowd that can be useful in helping people discover content, in organizing the web around topics again, in improving search results, and even in improving ad performance....
very good points, here, and so true, today: look at Facebook, Google, Twitter: their value is not (just) in owning the data but in aggregating, mining, filtering and repurposing it.
February 09, 2012
There are many good points in this really excellently researched piece - pretty embarrassing for the 'land of the free' I might add. Quite worrisome, in fact.
"The most frustrating part of the discussion around SOPA has been watching politicians and commentators fail to acknowledge the vast resources we already devote to protecting copyright in the United States. Over the past two decades, the United States has established one of the harshest systems of copyright enforcement in the world. Our domestic copyright law has become broader (it covers more topics), deeper (it lasts for a longer time), and more severe (the punishments for infringement have been getting worse). These standards were established through an alphabet soup of legislation: the No Electronic Theft (NET) Act of 1997, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, and the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO-IP) Act of 2008. And every few years, there’s a call for more..."
January 01, 2012
In this very insightful Authors-at-Google-video Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, aptly summarizes several key topics such as the reasons for the economic crisis, the increasing inequality in America, and the consequences of globalization.
Watch the whole thing and you'll understand what the world - and in particular, America - is up against in 2012. And check out his book "The price of Civilization" - I just got it for my Kindle and will share my public bookmarks soon, here.
If you own a Kindle you can follow my Kindle note-sharing here.
From Youtube: "As he has done in dozens of countries around the world in the midst of economic crises, Sachs turns his unique diagnostic skills to what ails the American economy. He finds that both political parties—and many leading economists—have missed the big picture, offering shortsighted solutions such as stimulus spending or tax cuts to address complex economic problems that require deeper solutions. Sachs argues that we have profoundly underestimated globalization's long-term effects on our country, which create deep and largely unmet challenges with regard to jobs, incomes, poverty, and the environment. America's single biggest economic failure, Sachs argues, is its inability to come to grips with the new global economic realities.
Yet Sachs goes deeper than an economic diagnosis. By taking a broad, holistic approach—looking at domestic politics, geopolitics, social psychology, and the natural environment as well—Sachs reveals the larger fissures underlying our country's current crisis. He shows how Washington has consistently failed to address America's economic needs. He describes a political system that has lost its ethical moorings, in which ever-rising campaign contributions and lobbying outlays overpower the voice of the citizenry. He also looks at the crisis in our culture, in which an overstimulated and consumption-driven populace in a ferocious quest for wealth now suffers shortfalls of social trust, honesty, and compassion. Finally, Sachs offers a plan to turn the crisis around. He argues persuasively that the problem is not America's abiding values, which remain generous and pragmatic, but the ease with which political spin and consumerism run circles around those values. He bids the reader to reclaim the virtues of good citizenship and mindfulness toward the economy and one another. Most important, he bids each of us to accept the price of civilization, so that together we can restore America to its great promise...."
October 28, 2011
Below is a 10-minute video excerpt from a really interesting session at ITU Teleworld 2011 in Geneva yesterday, October 26, 2011. http://forum.world2011.itu.int/sessions/f17-storytelling-2-visions-of-a-netwo... has further details and the complete 86 minute video.
This Quickfire Storytelling session brings together some of the world's leading futurists (see below) to share bold ideas and conflicting predictions of how the world might look in 10 years' time. This video (which we shot ourselves using a Kodak HDCam and Sony bluetooth mic) shows the first 10 minutes i.e. Gerd's introduction, the 5 minute talk and brief discussion with the other speakers and the audience. Twitter buzz is here
You can download the 10MB PDF of my presentation (unfortunately, the slides are not visible in the video), here.
More details on the other panelists
Gerd Leonhard, CEO, The Futures Agency
Rachel Armstrong, Senior TED Fellow, Senior Lecturer, University of Greenwich
Simon Torrance, Founder 2.0 Initiative, and Chief Executice Officer, STL Partners
Juliana Rotich, CEO, Ushahidi Inc.
Rohit Talwar, CEO, Fast Future
This is the audio-only version (right-click to save the MP3)
August 02, 2011
Here is another episode from a series of videos I made with my friend and fellow futurist Ross Dawson, in Sydney, last month. Read his entire post here, and check out Ross's video channel here. And be sure to visit GerdTube:)
Via Ross's post: "Here are a few of the points we make in the video:
* Many executives want to know whether and why they need to open up their business models and customer interactions
* Open systems are faster, more viral, have more innovation, and are more fun to work in
* Apple is the only prominent example of a closed system that is working well
* There is a long and gradual trend to open systems, but progress is rarely linear and it hasn’t shifted as fast as we may have expected
* Platforms and open source have been significant wins for open systems
* There is a battle between ecosystems – you want to be open within the space but compete with other ecosystems
* Android within the platform is open – arguably too open – yet it competes with other mobile platforms it in fact so has boundaries
* Being too open can make things slower to progress, for example with quality assurance issues
* The development of a highly interconnected world creates more need for open systems
* APIs have provided a huge boost to the Internet economy
* Google’s early move to expose APIs to many of its products provided the impetus for this to become standard practice across the net
* A key issue is the pace at which commercial organizations should open out their models
* Facebook has become more open over time due to customer pressure, however now that Google+ has provided a ready way to export personal profiles that changes the competitive landscape in social networks
May 12, 2011
MIDEM just published an exclusive video with me: check it out below. "In this exclusive video post for MIDEMBlog, media futurist & CEO of The Futures Agency cites Guy Kawasaki's notion that we should be "bakers, not eaters," or contributors to an "ecosystem", i.e. a collaborative economy, as opposed to an each-to-his-own "ego system". Food for thought!
March 30, 2011
From today's event in London, my latest slideshow on the future of 'monetizing' content - hopefully we will have a video soon, as well. In the meantime, check out my list of recommended videos in my last newsletter.
March 09, 2011
CNET's Rafe Needleman and Greg Sandoval (2 people whom I follow closely and whose work I really like) have cooked up a smashing 33 minute roundtable (video) with the notoriously tenacious music-business disruptor Michael Robertson (MP3.com founder, MP3tunes creator, now CEO of the very interesting music / radio cloud-recorder service Dar.fm).
The video covers just about all angles of the music industry and provides a great overview of everything that's wrong (and could be righted, I guess) in digital music, and Michael sure has all the right answers to some pretty tough questions. In fact, for most of it, I couldn't have said it better myself:). Check it out. Michael and me do have a few things in common, as far as the message goes, I guess...
December 30, 2010
Recently, I have been thinking a lot about what my position on Wikileaks i.e. Cablegate should be. Some of the best - and also most thought-provoking - insights have come from a recent, hotly contested piece on TheAtlantic.com, written by computer scientist, virtual reality pioneer and musician Jaron Lanier (who I have met once or twice in the past).
I am not sure I agree with everything that Jaron says (in fact, I don't - I hope to publish my own take on these issues soon) but he makes some very valid points about openness and the future of the Internet that I think really merit our consideration and made me think, so I figured I should share them with you (all snippets are quotes from his piece, highlights are mine):
- "The Internet can and must be redesigned to reflect a more moderate and realistically human-centered philosophy...openness in itself, as the prime driver of events, doesn't lead to achievement or creativity.
- A sufficiently copious flood of data creates an illusion of omniscience, and that illusion can make you stupid. Another way to put this is that a lot of information made available over the internet encourages players to think as if they had a God's eye view, looking down on the whole system.
- To me, both right wing extremist leaks and Wikileaks are for the most part resurrections of old-fashioned vigilantism...vigilantism has always eroded trust and civility, but what's new online is the sterile imprimatur of a digital ideology that claims to offer automatic betterment. But if there's one lesson of history, it is that seeking power doesn't change the world. You need to change yourself along with the world. Civil disobedience is a spiritual discipline as much as anything else.
- You need to have a private sphere to be a person, or for that matter for anything creative to happen in any domain. This is the principle I described as "encapsulation" in You Are Not a Gadget.
- Imagine openness extrapolated to an extreme. What if we come to be able to read each other's thoughts? Then there would be no thoughts. Your head has to be different from mine if you are to be a person with something to say to me.
- I used to think that an open world would favor the honest and the true, and disfavor the schemers and the scammers. In moderation this idea has some value, but if privacy were to be vanquished, people would initially become dull, then incompetent, and then cease to exist. Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people.
- I bring this up to say that asking whether secrets in the abstract are good or bad is ridiculous. A huge flow of data that one doesn't know how to interpret in context is either useless or worse than useless, if you let it impress you too much. A contextualized flow of data that answers a question you know how to ask can be invaluable. If we want to understand all the sides of an argument, we have to do more than copy files.
- Random leaking is no substitute for focused digging. The "everything must be free and open" ideal has nearly bankrupted the overseas news bureaus.
- Anarchy and dictatorship are entwined in eternal resonance. One never exists for long without turning to the other, and then back again. The only way out is structure, also known as democracy.
- We sanction secretive spheres in order to have our civilian sphere. We furthermore structure democracy so that the secretive spheres are contained and accountable to the civilian sphere, though that's not easy.
- There is certainly an ever-present danger of betrayal. Too much power can accrue to those we have sanctioned to hold confidences, and thus we find that keeping a democracy alive is hard, imperfect, and infuriating work. The flip side of responsibly held secrets, however, is trust.
- A perfectly open world, without secrets, would be a world without the need for trust, and therefore a world without trust. What a sad sterile place that would be: A perfect world for machines"
- "Lanier thus conflates the right to privacy of persons with the privilege of non-disclosure that states may sometimes exercise. Raising personhood in this context is irrelevant and dangerous.
- "I give you private information about corporations for free," SNL's Assange quipped, "And I'm a villain. Mark Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money and he's the Man of the Year."
- In my talk about Wikileaks at the Personal Democracy Forum recently, I emphasized that we should not see information by itself as a change agent and that a glut of information, especially without context and political leverage, may not result in meaningful change. That, however, is not an argument for less information.
- During these past weeks, rather than a nerd takeover, I saw the crumbling of the facade of a flat, equal, open Internet and the revelation of an Internet which has corporate power occupying its key crossroads, ever-so-sensitive to any whiff of displeasure by the state. I saw an Internet in danger of becoming merely an interactive version of the television in terms of effective freedom of speech. Remember, the Internet did not create freedom of speech; in theory, we always had freedom of speech--it's just that it often went along with the freedom to be ignored. People had no access to the infrastructure to be heard. Until the Internet, the right to be heard was in most cases reserved to the governments, deep pockets, and corporate media. Before the Internet, trees fell in lonely forests.
- The real cause for concern is the emergence of an Internet in which arbitrary Terms-of-Service can be selectively employed by large corporations to boot content they dislike. What is worrisome is an Internet in which it is very easy to marginalize and choke information.
- What the Wikileaks furor shows us is that a dissent tax is emerging on the Internet.
- We don't have sufficiently-developed laws protecting us as our commons have moved to privately-owned spaces on the Internet. Lanier misses the fact that this is an issue of design, motive and choice.
- I reiterate that one does not need to be a fan of Wikileaks to reject the notion that rather than demand increased transparency and disclosure from institutions with power, we should trust them because trust is a human value. Going back to my starting point, it appears that Lanier is once again conflating human-to-human relations and human-institution relations and suggesting that the same principles should apply to them. A world in which humans don't trust each other is indeed cold and inhumane. A world in which we trust powerful institutions merely on principle is one where we abdicate our responsibilities as citizens and human beings..."
So what do you think? Please comment below.
Update: check out this video: journalist John Pilger in conversation with Julian Assange
December 28, 2010
It seems like every single day I read about how Internet and mobile companies are struggling to obtain the rights for what they want to do, whether it's about music, videos, TV shows, films, articles, text and images.
Here are some quick examples:
- GoogleTV just can't seem to get the TV studios seriously interested in allowing them to even search their online offerings, while...
- Netflix seems to have been more successful at tackling this wicked problem of content licensing, at least to some degree, by - as cnet aptly puts it - 'building relationships in traditional means' (I guess this means playing nice with Hollywood? Read the article - those are good, old-fashioned golf-club paradigms I'd say)
- Spotify is a fantastic music service, no doubt; very much along the lines of what Dave Kusek and me envisioned as 'music like water' in our 2005 book 'The Future of Music', and subsequently expanded on in my follow -up book, Music 2.0 (free PDF here). Spotify is not officially available in Switzerland but I have been successfully using it via a UK paypal account (after trying simfy.de and not getting anywhere with their really awkward and crash-prone iPhone app). Unfortunately, Spotify just can't seem to get the music labels and national rights organizations to bless their launch in many other territories, including the U.S. (read this Slashgear piece for more details ). All of this - you guessed it - because the record companies and the music publishers have not agreed on the licensing and deal terms for those countries, yet, and despite the fact that Spotify is already spending most of its VC money on paying for the music licenses. The fact is that there are no compulsory licenses available for on-demand streaming and flat-rate access services so unless these deals are negotiated nobody can touch it. Read about it here, or here (my Spotify-related blog posts), or via my July 2009 blog post on specifically why I think Spotify is unlikely to survive, or peruse the Zemanta-enabled links below for more enlightenment by some smart people
So here is the point I am trying to make: I don't think a purely free-market-driven and unregulated approach will work, in the future. Many large, incumbent media companies, publishers, record labels and other traditional intermediaries (i.e. the 'industry' as opposed to the actual creators) have every reason NOT to be flexible or even slightly forthcoming with their licensing terms and thereby support the deployment of new cloud-based, access-on-demand and flat-rated services. This is simply because their very existence may quickly and irreversibly change the entire playing-field, and may make it very hard for the incumbent rights-conglomerates to continue to effectively control distribution (and by extension, advertising prices) in the same way as before. These changes aren't for the better when you currently run the entire show, so why should you agree?
This is why Warner Music Group's Edgar Bronfman has said many times that he will not license any unlimited streaming-on-demand service, why Netflix - despite of (or because?) its vast growth - has been back and forth with the Hollywood studios on getting more content deals done, and why Hulu is losing steam because of the studios' concerns over future cable-TV revenue streams. Clearly, this is all about controlling and milking the market (i.e. the 'people formerly known as consumers') as long as possible. Yes, sure, just like the big telcos used to do before they had to let competition in. This is not about 'getting the artists / creators paid' or about fighting digital piracy - it's about maintaining a comfortable and lucrative monopoly position for the longest possible time. Which is OK, too - if it wasn't for the criminalizing effect it has on every single Internet user.
Most large, international media companies (disclosure: many of which are or have been my clients in some way or the other) and almost all major TV, film and music rightsholders are used to absolute control over the distribution of the works (and artists / producers) that they own or represent, and this simple fact used to result in getting much higher license fees - the other party had no choice but to take it or leave it; no license simply meant no (legal) business. This may sound somewhat reasonable in a mostly offline world (i.e. until just recently, when the mobile Internet started to take of), but on the Net, in a truly networked society, this kind of thinking plays out quite differently: refusal to license at a price that is affordable (and / or financially viable for a new, potentially huge but legally unprecedented player) simply encourages and produces piracy, because the desired content will become available anyway, legal or not, one way or the other. The reality is that there is no real control of distribution of digital content, any longer, and all models based on re-achieving that control will fail miserably. Witness the 100s of illegal movie sites that now stream pretty much any movie on-demand, or the many new IP-cloaking and re-routing services (commonly used to access locally restricted content services) that are currently flooding the market. Not licensing content to new players on actually survivable terms simply lets other, parasitic entities prosper by offering it without permission. Everyone loses.
My thesis is that - just like telecom deregulation - we urgently need new, open and public mechanisms that first significantly encourage and then possibly even enforce the licensing of copyrighted works for new services that require a new and more experimental approach, and that may end up serving the consumers much better than the traditional services. A 'use it or lose it' rule may be useful to that end; and as far as music is concerned I have been proposing a new, public digital music license for a long time.
In any case, I think that a system that continues to be based on deriving future benefits ONLY for the largest and most powerful rightsholders (again, by that I do not mean the actual creators, but the industries that represent them) is, in my view, simply unsustainable and socially indefensible in this dawning broadband-culture and in a connected, networked and interdependent society. We need better and more transparent EcoSystems and less EgoSystems; less empires and more Open Networks.
Let me have your feedback please!
December 01, 2010
I am delighted to be able to share this brand-new translation with all my friends, tweeps and colleagues that speak Portuguese. The essay was kindly translated by Paula Neves, Analista de Marketing Digital at Approach (Brazil); be sure to visit her blog or Linkedin profile.
Gerd Leonhard: Conteúdo 2.0: ‘proteção’ está no modelo de negócio e não na tecnologia (pensamentos sobre o futuro da venda de conteúdo).
Excerpt (download the PDF to read the whole thing, ie 6 pages):
Image by gleonhard via Flickr
Abastecido pelas agitações na indústria da música e, finalmente, com a transformação muito rápida dos livros para o formato digital, há bastante debate em torno do fato das pessoas compartilharem habitualmente isto é, redistribuírem conteúdo digital sem que os usuários paguem por isso. Como se pode monetizar o conteúdo se a cópia é gratuita? Essa pergunta é uma questão chave em todos os sentidos, seja com a música, com livros digitais, noticiários, editoração, TV ou filmes. Há o medo, claro, de que a partir do momento que um item digital foi comprado por uma pessoa, ele pode ser facilmente encaminhado para qualquer um se estiver num formato aberto, assim reduzindo significantemente a possibilidade de que outra pessoa pague dinheiro real por ele também (claro que o mesmo também é verídico para conteúdo digital supostamente trancado ou protegido – só demora um pouco mais). Não ter mais controle sobre a distribuição = não ter mais dinheiro. Certo?
Apesar do simples fato da GDD (Gestão de Direitos Digitais, ou Digital Rights Management em inglês) já ter se mostrado desastrosa no mundo da música digital (e agora já é praticamente o passado), medidas técnicas de proteção ainda vêm sendo investigadas como um método plausível de se garantir o pagamento, especialmente no efervescente setor dos eBooks. Isso me preocupa muito porque medidas técnicas de proteção são caras, atrapalham ou previnem a adoção em massa, encurtam ou matam o compartilhamento social, o que derrota o marketing usuário-usuário, normalmente limitam drasticamente o uso honesto, e são geralmente inúteis no combate aos piratas reais, isto é, os que têm intenções maldosas e criminosas de roubar conteúdo e vendê-lo para outros.
Não somente conteúdo – Contexto! A meu ver, o pensamento de que a distribuição de conteúdo tem de ser controlada para que haja qualquer forma razoável de pagamento é fundamentalmente equivocado por causa dessa percepção não-tão-futurista: numa economia aberta e enredada (nota: estou falando sobre hoje e não amanhã!) editores de conteúdo têm de oferecer seus bens de uma forma que não mais considere a distribuição como o fator central. Não deve-se vender (somente) o conteúdo (ou seja, meros 0s e 1s) e sim também o contexto, os valores agregados, os vários outros itens em torno do conteúdo. Venda o que não pode ser copiado.
A tendência irrefutável é que a janela de oportunidade de se ‘vender cópias’ (isto é, iTunes, música digital, Kindle, etc) está rapidamente fechando, pelo menos na maior parte dos países desenvolvidos. A próxima oportunidade, e já muito presente, está na venda do acesso e serviços de valor agregado, e no fornecimento de experiências ligadas ao conteúdo.
Image by gleonhard via Flickr
A partir do momento que abarcarmos que os usuários – as pessoas dantes conhecidas como consumidores – não podem ser reduzidas a meros ‘compradores de cópias’, poderemos investigar como eles gostariam de pagar por todo o resto também. Por exemplo, ao comprar um eBook os usuários não deveriam pagar meramente pela autorização da distribuição, ou seja, a cópia legítima das palavras, e sim também poderiam ganhar acesso a comentários altamente especializados, amigos e colegas que possam ler esse livro, avaliações, explicações, apresentações de slides, imagens, links, vídeos, referências cruzadas, conexões diretas com o autor ou o editor e assim por diante. Sim: conectar com fãs + motivos para comprar (como o Mike Masnich do Techdirt já resumiu sucintamente diversas vezes)....
October 16, 2010
It was a great pleasure to speak at TedX New Street in London yesterday (tweet flow is here, btw) I was allotted the usual 18 Ted-minutes to speak about the future of intellectual property and copyright - a piece of cake! Here is my presentation, below - let me know how you like it. Hopefully we will have a video on Ted.com pretty soon, as well. If you want a quicky download (rather than the high-res slideshare version, below), you can try this low-res PDF: Future of IP and Copyright Gerd Leonhard Tedx London LOW RES