The Internet makes it possible to publish and distribute work for free, but
the resulting noissome media ecology is one in which audience-acquisition is
nearly infinitely expensive. infinite cash reserves can be successfully
marketed. The media ecology is denuded, vulnerable homogeniety replaces
Technological problems beget technological solutions: peer-to-peer
file-sharing combined with reputation managment makes networks where media
is "relevance-switched," migrating towards the users most likely to
appreciate it. Peer-to-peer replaces billion-dollar hype with nearly free,
nearly instantaneous word-of-mouth memes, automated and seamless.
The consequences are disruptive and breathtaking: where freedom of the press
once belonged to the man with the press, and then to the man with the
distribution mechanism, now it belongs to the man with an audience.
Levelling the audience-acquisition playing field is the single most
interesting thing to happen to publishing since Gutenberg.
This fundamentally changes the relationship between audiences, publishers
and artists. It increases the importance of artist-development by
publishers, but diminishes marketing and PR roles; it tightens the feedback
loop between audience and artist; it loosens the hold that publishers have
on their stable of creator.