Friday, July 03, 2009

The Music May Not Want to Be Free

In the upcoming July 6, 2009 issue of The New Yorker, reviewer Malcolm Gladwell takes on the technological utopian assumptions of WIRED editor Chris Anderson's book, Free.

Malcolm Gladwell reviews Free by Chris Anderson: Books: The New Yorker

BOOKS review of “Free: The Future of a Radical Price” (Hyperion; $26.99) by Chris Anderson. ... READ MORE in THE NEW YORKER

[This post also appears in my own EarRelevant blog.]


Darren Nelsen said...

Very good review by Gladwell of what seems to be an overly simplistic and overreaching view by Anderson.

However, I do believe that free is where music will eventually go. Simply on the basis of competition to be heard, everyone will offer some portion of their music for free. How else to initiate and establish a relationship with listeners?

I believe that a major model that will emerge for the next era will be to give away that which is infinite (digital goods) and charge for that which is scarce (concert seats, material goods, opportunity to be up close and personal with the artist, etc.) Infinite goods will be used (by those adept enough to channel them in the right ways) to drive sales of scarce goods.

For contemporary classical composers, who have the built in challenge of "the world doesn't know we exist", it's worth a shot.

Why not try it? You only have obscurity to lose. :)

Alex said...

Seems to me that Gladwell's review is a bit on the snarky side. The fact that newspapers and magazines such as The Atlantic, where his review is published (or music labels, for that matter) may not be able to make (as much) money in the future as they did in the past doesn't mean there's a flaw in Anderson's basic premise. For a lot of goods, free is where the economy is going and there's no changing it. As you say, however, scarce goods (with high demand) which cannot be obtained any other way will always be marketable.