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January 18, 2013

You no what’s getting increasingly obsolete these days?


Middle Men.


The internet (and I will always resist efforts to capitalize that word) is changing the world of publishing. Authors, musicians, artists, creators in general, all have a free method of distributing their work. They can reach a global audience with the click of an “upload” button, and the online world is a fostering environment for creativity. If what you put out is of quality, eventually you’ll build a base of fans who will be willing to support you. But there is one group of people, publishers, who would very much disagree with the statement that publishing is changing.


To them, it is dying.


To be fair, from their perspective, it is. They built a world around consolidating and communicating the work content creators put out. And they made a ton of cash doing it. The internet took their world behind the barn and shot them in the head. It’s bleeding out, in desperate need of medical attention, but the nearest hospital is two hours away. Publishers are performing ultimately fruitless first aid on a wound that can’t be closed.


Alright, that analogy is going to some weird places. Let’s get back on track. Too often, I see companies (its always companies) desperately trying to convince governments, judges, and consumers that they are required elements of an industry when really, they stopped being needed when Google launched in 1999. I know that might not be technically accurate, with pure text like books being able to be transferred via internet far earlier than something video content. but bear with me.


As soon as people gained the ability to search out things for themselves, quickly and easily, the death clock on publishers started counting down. Why should content creators sign away their intellectual property in exchange for getting their product to markets in today’s day and age, as we still see in the video game and film industries? What possible reason exists for a musician to sign a contract for distribution, when they don’t even make money off CD sales? Who the hell wants to hit a pay-wall when searching through academic research papers?

Publishers once served a useful purpose. Now, they are nothing more than parasites, actively slowing the technological growth of our world. Media companies like FOX and NBC wanted to sue Dish Network for building a DVR that automatically cuts commercials out of its recordings. Why? Because they want to keep the gravy train of ad money chugging along. Music congloms sue people for hundreds of thousands of dollars because of “lost sales” when they download music. I don’t know anyone who has bought a CD in the past five years.


I know I might sound a little crazy when I’m railing against “the man,” but this is important. We aren’t living in the 1980’s anymore. Its time for the suits to recognize that. You can’t put the genie back in its bottle.


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One Comment
  1. Publishers know how to do it right, and professionally, do they not? They have connections in the game, and know what people like, and what sells. That’s their job. The ‘suits’ aren’t the middlemen any more. They’ve adapted. They are now the top dogs.

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