Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Milena Popova on Why Content Is a Public Good. The basic analysis - that technology has made digital content, such as music, TV, and movies, both non-rival and non-excludable, and hence a classic example of what economists term a public good - is blindingly obvious when you think about it, and I'm surprised no-one has said it earlier. But what it means is that the content industry as we know it is dead, their business model deprecated.

The problem then is how we get that content in future. As the Wiki article points out, there are other ways (subscription and government funding being the two obvious ones). But neither is consistent with the survival of the present content industry. All those leeching music industry middlemen are going to be looking for new jobs in the long term.