We thought we could make money on the Internet, but while the Internet is new and exciting for creative people, it hasn't matured as a distribution mechanism to the extent that lets you trade real and immediate opportunities of income for the promise of online revenue. It will be a few years before digital distribution of media on the Internet can be monetised to an extent that necessitates content producers to forego their fair value in more traditional media.

-- Kyle Broflovski to Stan Marsh, Canada On Strike
So, thought for the day: If a fictional nine year old can explain, in a nutshell, why the Internet doesn't work as a distribution mechanism, why can't the music and movie industries seem to understand that we're still only really playing in the sandpit when it comes to legal digital content? Once the traditional industry heavyweights let the technology organically progress and develop into a ubiquitous distribution channel, letting things like broadband availability and speed, format support and hardware plateau, then they can monetise it. No sooner. We'll look back in five/ten years and see how iTunes was nothing more than a brief (and well-marketed) flash in the pan.

Moving on now - well, hasn't this past week been eyebrow-raising? MySpace officially announcing their (expected) music offering, with three of the four majors on board and the fourth expected to join suit shortly. A hooray! for DRMless downloads, but a booooo! for going with MP3. Another hooray! for (like Amazon) forcing the music labels' hand though on the DRM issue, the fight between AmazonMP3 and MySpace Music is going to a good one if they both continue apace. Though, all that aside, when you have some record labels forging ahead of the curve and going / already offering FLAC or WAV lossless audio for only a little more than MP3s, it makes you wonder why we're still paying so much for digital music - and we're putting up with it!

I know a little about this: for the past nine months I've been on work placement at a small indie label. Our primary revenue stream is iTunes thanks to our 30-year back catalogue, but we still get a pittance in terms of money we actually see from sales. People would be surprised if they found out how little we get from each sale. Only the dominant vendor is the real winner in any online distribution scenario, as they have little overheads, instant content for monetisation, and in this case iTunes also has the closed - and somewhat captive - userbase (for the moment).

TheNextWeb 2008 looked like a big success - a shame the web streaming completely gave up when Diggnation was being filmed. Still, we had a Dutchman telling post-watershed jokes on a live webstream at 5pm, Jim Louderback (bless him) not dropping or breaking something on-stage for once (watch near enough any DL.TV episode he's featured in to see what I mean). And if that wasn't enough, Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht turned up half an hour late, got ludicrously drunk on stage, were accosted at various points by a kilt-adorned Scotsman and a cheeky PR guy - and to top it off, there was a girl wearing a moustache. I also didn't have to pay $1,000 to watch the live stream. That, and no cost of plane ticket and accommodation to get there... I class that as a win.

In the UK, Ofcom announced their decision and their initial roadmap for digital terrestrial TV's migration to HD [free registration required], and not everybody's happy with them... likewise, the Freeview Consortium's relative inaction (or inability) to wrangle a good solution for the future of digital terrestrial broadcasts, combined with their apparent hatred for good programming and worthwhile use of the available spectrum has irked quite a few people (myself included). My housemate even wrote an open letter to them.

Oh, and in other news, I'm putting together a brand new design for ITU. The current look (Glossy Blue by Nick La, found via BlogCrowds) worked well as a placeholder while I gathered my ideas together, but I hate basing sites on templates (however good they are)... Any designer will know what I mean when I say "It just doesn't feel 'mine' 'til I've done the design." (A poet and I don't know-et.)

Until next time, stay classy.


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