Guest post by Adam Steele, co-founder of Merge.fm, an online platform for musicians to offer their music to fans as engaging online events. Adam shared with us this clever piece that presents a concrete analogy between musicians and the Internet.
Picture an enormous concert stadium that is so big it can hold everyone. Literally there is a seat for every single person in the world. Now imagine this stadium is made entirely of glass and it also happens to have an open-roof.
There you are, up on stage with your band performing your most mind-blowing songs. When you look out, you see countless empty seats, behind which is an endless sea of people goofing around outside your stadium’s glass walls. Once in a while someone glances at you and maybe even listens for a bit. But then they quickly go back to texting their friends or stuffing that sandwich back in their mouth as they disappear into the crowd.
After a couple songs, someone from your crew walks over to you and says, “Look at all those people! You should sell them digital photos of your concerts.”
“That’s a ridiculous idea,” you reply. “Everyone has a hi-def camera phone connected to Facebook.”
But you trust this person, so you do it anyway. Sure one or two people who really like you buy some. But you soon realize that you can’t sell very many.
Then this same person says, “Okay… well, let’s add artistic effects to the photos so more people will buy them.”
So you give it a shot and sell one or two more to people with crappy cameras. But in the end you can’t sell very many no matter what other fancy features you add. Your point of value is the photos and once they are out there, everyone just shares them with the world instantly. Not many people think they’re worth anything.
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