Creating value when copies are free

In +1/-1, drm, Miraverse, music industry by Michael Tiemann

Kevin Kelly is a technology, brand, and design maven, not to mention Senior Maverick at WIRED magazine. He is in the process of writing a new book, and he’s collecting his ideas online in an area he calls The Technium. I just read his latest installment, and it reads like a manifesto for The Miraverse. To wit, he asks the question

If reproductions of our best efforts are free, how can we keep going? To put it simply, how does one make money selling free copies?

The answers he gives are eight-fold, and they tie back to the basic premise that when copies are free, one must center and create value on what cannot be copied:

  1. Immediacy
  2. Personalization
  3. Interpretation
  4. Authenticity
  5. Accessibility
  6. Embodiment
  7. Patronage
  8. Findability

In the Miraverse, the first seven are manifest: the immediacy of a live performance, the personalization that is possible by making every participant a co-producer, the interpretation of the artists connecting–in that moment, in that space, at that time–and the producers deciding how to interpret the artist’s interpretation, the authenticity of being present at the creation/realization, the accessibility of being able to not only hear, but to see, to smell, to feel the energy, the ability to use the recording studio to produce an embodiment of the authentic experience, and, no doubt, the opportunity for patronage to make all of this possible.

The eighth aspect, findability, is contemplated by the information infrastructure being designed right now.  With an anticipated 100TB of spinning disk on premises, and Lord Only Knows how much additional space represented by various internet archives, we will capture all the audio and video we can afford.  And with new projects like this one for Ardour, we will have the metadata needed to find our assets with both hands.

What a great time to be building a facility that leverages all eight mechanisms!  And what a terrible time for those who believe that DRM (or TPM) is going to save their bacon.