This is another of the LongNow seminar series, from May 02006.
This was a very interesting talk - the Internet allows completely new distribution channels and thereby relieves from channel/shelf/... scarcity. That allows to see a long tail of things outside of the usual hits and mainstream products and offerings.
Old style companies: Barnes&Nobles, Borders, Blockbuster, ...
New style companies: Amazon, Netflix, ...
In music: famous hits might sell very strong early, but some albums can make a substantial over the many years when still more and more people want to buy it.
Older long tail items are also proven things, time tested - in general people are more satisfied with old DVDs than new hits!
In movies: DVDs are expensive first, Walmart looses money on the hits in the first weeks - but prize is coming down quickly and earnings happen later, or through sales of other items.
Compare Netflix: Netflix is in sweet spot: cheaper DVDs as they are older, and people are even more satisfied, as there are the recommendations of other people clarifying what it is about, whether it is good etc.
Key problems of old companies: 1. limited shelf-space, channel capacity etc and 2. not easy to find
'DVDStation': TByte device in store, burning DVDs on demand -> shelf space & findability addressed
Amazon and print on demand - not much more expensive (well, 50%) and solves shelf-space problem, and books are nearly indistinguashable!
Archives are growing in worth, but use of archives is largely a rights question! (e.g. TV show with background music - copyright nightmare)
Should rights be changed? Maybe have to pay (low amount) to keep the right?
Books: imprisoned with current rights: rights are transferred to book company, when out of print, nothing can be done anymore. Authors not always in favor of print on demand, as it is more expensive, they would rather get the rights back.
Used book market: great for availability, but bad for authors, as they don't get anything here anymore
Interesting point: Google is not concerned with new stuff, rather with older and proven (in form of linked to content)!
What is the role of an editor in the future? Think in terms of pre- vs post filtering - the role of a gatekeeper (pre-filter) is over, but role remains in recommendations and for coaching of authors.