The trouble with applying offline rules to online business is that you fail to account for new models. The music industry has fought perhaps the longest, and most misguided, battle of this sort.
In an effort to protect what has historically been its cash cow (the album) the industry has vigorously gone after illegal downloaders, sharers, rippers and burners. Legally and morally, it’s not difficult to side with the musicians and their masters. But logically?
Look what can happen when someone illegal rips a tune. Take the amazingly popular – and funny – JK Wedding Entrance Dance.
Featuring Chris Brown’s Forever, the video has now been watched more than 22 million times. By the middle of the summer, Brown’s single reached number four on the iTunes singles chart and number three on Amazon’s best selling MP3 list – and it has continued to sell steadily ever since. That’s over a year since its official release.
It is arguable whether either the music industry or the artist deserve this kind of luck, but luck they have had.
As the media industry obsesses over paywalls and micropayments, it would do well to look at the story of Chris Brown and the JK Wedding Entrance Dance.
(UPDATE: Some interesting analysis of the JK Wedding Entrance Dance phenomenon from the Official Google Blog. Clearly Google – owner of YouTube – has an agenda but it’s interesting stuff nonetheless: I now pronounce you monetized)
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– What Chris Brown’s YouTube Apology Tells Us About New Media
– What if the business model for news ain’t broke?