While reading Anderson’s article ‘The Long Tail’ I was reminded of how complicated issues surrounding new media can be. Although the ‘niche markets’ are now an important feature of the web media marketplace Anderson highlights the dark side when discussing one ‘Long Tail’ company:
Putting aside the fact that many people actually used the service to illegally upload and share commercial tracks, leading the labels to sue MP3.com, the model failed at its intended purpose, too. Struggling bands did not, as a rule, find new audiences, and independent music was not transformed. Indeed, MP3.com got a reputation for being exactly what it was: an undifferentiated mass of mostly bad music that deserved its obscurity.
Throughout most of the article Anderson paints these niche markets, such as Amazon.com, Rhadsody, and NetFlix in a positive light but I think it is very important to remember that while many of these companies operate under an extremely ‘we’re here for you’, ‘may we suggest’, and ‘others think you would like..’ guise, they are still markets with one bottom line….this bottom line is profit and profit for them, not the artist. I was also surprised that Lister only dedicated a paragraph to the ‘all kinds of disarray’, as he calls it, of Intellectual Property. I know that we discussed that there have always been problems with piracy (way before new media created more) but it’s interesting how none of our authors address this problem as worthy of remedy. How would we remedy it? And is it easier to say ‘we have to take the good with the bad’ and ‘it’s not that big of a deal’, ‘everything should be shared’, when we are not the ones trying to make a living off of selling our song?