This might be interesting if it works. I just read that MySpace is setting up a system where their users can directly sell original music to their fans right on their MySpace pages- without any gatekeepers. Distributor free distribution? As with all things like this the dreck will pile high, but there will be success stories to come from this. I don’t think it will displace the current big media comglomerate driven market system, but it’s a window for a different way to function. And alternatives are good to have, even if small and limited compared to the larger systems in place. I still think the need for indy’s is to give away their content in some form to generate a demand for a personalized copy in a higher quality format. But it’s good to know that should the demand be sufficiently created for purchasable copies that demand can be met outside of the current gatekeeper system. This isn’t too far from the current independent path of setting up your own site and driving traffic to it to create a following. A daunting task indeed- one that takes years. But the thing that makes the MySpace idea intriguing is that the whole MySpace system has an inherent referencing and recommendation infrastructure built right into the portal. So instead of using Google to find your music, now you see what your “friends” have linked in their profiles. It’s a much more powerful referencing system for finding independent content because it has the inferred approval and value assignment of a human being with whom you ostensibly share common interests. This is always going to end up being more effective than asking the Google Robot what it thinks you will like.
Read this Reuters article and think for yourselves what this might mean if the format were expanded to include selling of other downloadable content. Say, oh, I dunno. Animated films? Hmmm.
And while we’re talking about gatekeepers and animation, this little news item came and went without much discussion by the animation crowd. It appears that Apple’s iTunes is partnering with distributor Shorts International to expand its animated short film offerings to include more thann just the Pixar & Disney vaults and TV shows. Now award winning independent short animated films will find some distribution on iTunes Store. It will be interesting to see which of these two distribution paradigms ends up being more useful to the independent content creator- the MySpace solution or the iTunes solution? Perhaps neither? Perhaps both? Like all things for the independent I believe that the mosaic approach is going to be the winner, not the “all your eggs in one basket” approach.
Update: after just a little bit of clicking around I see that Shorts International is promoting their iTunes hosted animated film offerings on… yup, you guessed it- MySpace.