Undoubtedly, file sharing has wreaked havoc on the music industry; an entire generation now believes music should be free; and this is a genie that’s not easy to put back into the bottle.
What if it turned out that the technology that helped destroy the music industry is the same technology that could help to rebuild it?
As the price of music approaches zero, to maintain the highest possible margins on the remaining revenue sources (advertising, merchandise, tickets), the marginal cost to deliver the media (videos, MP3s, streams, etc.) that connects fans to artists, has to also approach zero, and (important) all middlemen have to be cut out of the revenue-sharing equation.
The question we should be asking ourselves is: If a popular artist in the near future wants to (needs to) go truly direct-to-fan with a multi-definition (handheld to HD), immersive, interactive, multi-media, brand-supported (performance or scripted) presentation to 1,000,000 fans in a day – under the following essential requirements:
- Use a zero-cost delivery mechanism
- Cut out all middlemen including YouTube (if video)
- Maximize gross revenue
- Own the relationship with the fan
- Be environmentally friendly (no energy sucking data centers)
- Be free to, or attractively priced for, fans
Then, the logical platform for enabling all this to happen is the same hardened, battle-tested, sharing-technology that currently and reliably transports a majority of all Internet traffic. That technology is p2p.
Before we ever let lawmakers or ISPs regulate or squash p2p traffic, think about this: Peer-to-peer is the only platform technology on earth that can (directly and indirectly) satisfy all the requirements above; bandwidth is NOT free; and entertainers are about to exchange one master (labels) for another (big technology).
Media is the lure that enables artists to acquire fans; the marginal cost of delivering the lure has to be zero; otherwise artists will remain strapped to entities that can burden the incremental and often explosive cost of delivering the lure. Peer-to-peer is no longer the enemy; it should become our new best friend.