...nobody knows what to do right now, me included. The music business model is broken right now. That means every single job position in the music industry has to re-educate itself and learn / discover / adapt a new way. Change can be painful and hard and scary. —Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails, July 9, 2009
Chris Anderson’s latest book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price, set off a fevered discussion earlier this year among many in the entertainment and investment sectors. When this all erupted, I collected the book's most cogent replies into one long file and pored over them during a few hourlong jaunts to the gym. I don’t remember too many of those workouts because my mind was racing to imagine how any business could possibly function in a world of free products, especially films.
I’ve already reached some conclusions about piracy and I have some other thoughts the ‘free’ debate as well. However, it seems... well, incomplete to state my own opinion without quoting all the other amazing articles so pivotal in forming that opinion. So I’ll dedicate a series of posts to each of these authors’ articles with links back to their original web sites.
Articles I’ll be listing in the timeline:
- Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson—The book that kicked off the debate.
- Priced to Sell: Is free the Future by Malcolm Gladwell—Malcolm’s review about Free.
- Dear Malcolm: Why so threatened by Chris Anderson—Chris’ reply to Malcolm.
- Malcolm is wrong by Seth Godin—Notable blogger picks a side.
- Free vs. Freely Distributed by Mark Cuban—Owner of HDNet and Landmark theatres weighs in.
- Chris Anderson, Malcolm Gladwell And A Look At Free by Michael Masnick—A superb overview of the debate.
- Freemium and Freeconomics by Fred Wilson—VC guy, referenced in the final article by Burnam.
- Chris and Malcolm are Both Wrong by Brad Burham—Great piece about the whole debate, Fred Wilson’s article, and the free economy.
At the end, I’ll list my own thoughts in nine sections over nine days:
- OK, it's wrong... so what?
- The Moral Issue
- Feedback from Pirates: A Case Study
- Digital Theft, Oxymoron
- It's all Fixed
- Creating Value
- The Way Out
- The Key is Generatives
- Acknowledgments & Further Reading