by Mike Masnick
Thu, Sep 2nd 2010 11:31am
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jun 11th 2010 6:41am
from the partly-right dept
He's absolutely right that people have paid for access (a scarce good) and that getting people to pay for access is a business model that works (though, hardly the only content-based business model). However, the problem is that I think he underplays the difference between access and content, such that many people will hear his talk and assume that "paying for access" really means "putting up an artificial paywall that forces people to pay." The mistake there is in not realizing where the real separation is between access and content.
People pay for their broadband connections. That's access. People pay for their mobile phone data plans. That's access. Those are scarcities. Putting up a paywall or a micropayment system is not paying for access. It's trying to set an arbitrary limit on content. Unfortunately, McQuivey's "example" of paying for access is a bit misleading. He talks about Netflix's streaming offering. But he ignores that most of those subscribers were originally paying for DVDs, and the streaming is a throw-in. Where the real "access" that Netflix has tapped into lies in its ability to easily and conveniently get movies onto your TV. That's what people are paying for. It used to be DVDs (and still is for many Netflix customers), and more recently it includes integrated streaming. But that could come under pressure from other forms of easy and convenient access to the same content, so Netflix will need to continue upping its game.
So while I agree with McQuivey, and have said similar things in the past, I think he underplays how difficult it is to be in a position where you really can charge for "access." There really aren't that many players who can do so legitimately. I worry that many people will view this video and jump to the wrong conclusion, and try to artificially block access in order to get people to pay.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Mar 3rd 2010 6:55pm
from the but-separate-from-the-lawsuit dept
Soon after that lawsuit was filed, the police backed down anyway and granted those journalists access, making the lawsuit somewhat meaningless, though it continued. Separately, however, a lawsuit in California proved the point that being a journalist does not give you the right to unfettered access, such as at crime scenes.
So, when one of the journalists involved in the original lawsuit, David Wallis, sent in a submission this week declaring Masnick was wrong!!!!, I thought I'd check it out -- since everything had indicated that I was not wrong. However, it appears that Wallis also seems confused about the difference between what the NYC Police should do and what they're legally required to do. The reason for the email is that NYC has smartly put in place rules and procedures for credentialing online journalists as part of the agreement to settle the lawsuit.
I think this is an absolute good thing -- and a smart move. If anything, I'm sort of surprised that such a policy didn't already exist. But, unlike Wallis' claim, this does not change my stance on the original lawsuit. While it may have pressured NYC into putting in place a policy, that doesn't mean there was any legal leg to stand on in the lawsuit. As I said, I always thought that the police should have given credentials to these journalists -- and should have had a policy in place for giving credentials to journalists who meet certain criteria, even if they're not employed by the traditional media. But that does not mean that the police have to give access to anyone who declares themselves a journalist. So I'm happy for Wallis and the other journalists that NY has changed its policy and made it more reasonable in response to the lawsuit, but that doesn't change the likelihood that the original lawsuit was not going anywhere on a legal basis.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 8th 2010 6:41am
from the hoarding-mentality dept
Of course, you can see what the IEEE is thinking. It wants to hoard the information in order to build up its membership ranks, fearing that if it made that information available, people would be less interested in becoming an IEEE member. I would argue that's rather short-sighted, and there are plenty of other ways the IEEE could make membership more valuable (member-only gathering, access to other members online, discounts on events/publications/etc.) while still making the papers it publishes free. In fact, by freeing up the content, and highlighting those other benefits, it could even make membership more valuable.
from the free-press-means-something-different dept
by Mike Masnick
Tue, May 12th 2009 8:48pm
from the it's-about-the-story dept
However, as some are noticing, that isn't necessarily the case with community-driven journalism where the story is more important than the access. It's discussed in this writeup of how Condoleeza Rice was asked a series of detailed questions that the big name newspaper journalists had avoided (found via Jay Rose):
Why is citizen journalism like this so powerful? I think one answer is that citizen journalists don't have to worry about their future careers as journalists nearly as much as the professional journalists do. In other words, professional journalists frequently have to worry about access. They don't want to anger public officials and powerful people too much by being too aggressive, because they know that if they cross certain lines these people will stop talking to them. For instance, I saw Andrea Mitchell on Hardball the other night, and she was making a very implausible argument that Rice's statement was not a "Frost/Nixon" moment. It seemed pretty clear to me that Mitchell was trying to stay on Rice's good side. But citizen journalists don't have this problem because we're not worried about future access. We have the opportunity to be as aggressive as we want. After all, there probably isn't going to be any possibility of future access anyway.Now, it's fair to say that the opposite point may be true too. I'm sure professional journalists will point out that "amateurs" who are given access for the first time may be so in awe that they are tamed and fail to follow through on a story. And, that's possible as well. But the idea that the "amateurs" can't chase down a story is being proven untrue over and over and over again.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Mar 24th 2009 10:10am
from the let's-wait-and-see... dept
Caraeff, however, seems focused on all the right things. He talked about how access to music is more important than possession. He talks about how it's the experience that has always made music valuable, noting "you can't steal experience." In fact, he points out that the concept of the album is dead, but that UMG (and others) need to build a true "living album" that goes beyond the music: adding a full experience that can update over time, that allows fans to access the music however they want, and that enables interaction with that music -- including fan participation and user-generated content associated with the music. And he wants it all built on open standards, to avoid a situation like the Blu-ray consortium where only a few companies have control of the system.
"How do we compete with piracy? It's creating a unique experience that can't be easily replicated through file sharing."He then goes on to say that the business of "licensing music" is a dead end because it's just not scalable (whoo hoo!) noting that it's killing innovation. Even saying that they need to acknowledge that they need to enable letting a thousand innovators bloom.
He did admit that the team at UMG is still struggling to figure out the best way to make money in this new world -- but he recognizes this is where things are going:
"I'd rather have access to all my music, tv shows and movies anywhere on any device, rather than "own" 100 files. This is going to be a swift transition. It's taken us less than 10 years to go from plastic discs to digital files. It will take 5 years or less to go from digital files to cloud-based services, which will make the music even more valuable."This is all good news. It's someone who clearly recognizes the shift that needs to be made by a major record label. But, the real question is how much influence he actually has at Universal Music Group. We've seen similar recognition among employees at other record labels, including Warner Music and EMI -- but the "top management" at both of those firms has continued to go in the opposite direction, focusing on stomping out innovation, rather than encouraging it.
Unfortunately, this may be a real issue. He did admit:
"Universal Music is a big company and not everyone there is on the same page, but I was put into this job to make these changes. Turning a big ship around is slow. It's not a lack of desire, but it's a question of when not if. A lot of what I do is talk and evangelize to others within UMG to try to raise the consciousness level about where our business is going, to bring us to a path to growth again. It's not about how do we stop the decline of our business, but to find another billion dollar business for us. I'm not interested in how to I sell more MP3s on Amazon or to create new competitors to iTunes. That's important, but that's not going to transform our business. It's difficult in the day-to-day grind to turn a big company around, but it starts with passion. Passion sells. This is how it works."It's great to see some optimism coming from within one of the major labels, recognizing all of the opportunities out there. Hopefully, it actually leads to something useful.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Oct 27th 2008 2:09pm
from the a-reminder dept
- Anything: Good karma, knowledge that sometimes merit is rewarded. If not in this particular case.
- Over $10: A personal thank-you email (please include your email in "instructions for seller")
- Over $50: A personal thank-you phone call (please include your phone number in "instructions for seller")
- Over $100: My instant message screen name, regular personal updates via email and/or instant messages on election night
- Over $250: I will ask a senior McCain adviser the question of your choosing and send you the MP3 audio of the exchange
- Over $500: Phone call from McCain headquarters on election night, detailing hilarious antics sure to ensue
- Over $1000: One-on-one post-election dinner debrief