The most obvious comparison between these two giants of intellectual property distribution is the digital connection: the music industry had a boom in the last couple of years that petered out, which relied on iTunes and streaming services, while pay-for-access still had trouble, and access through free channels is still the way to go. The widespread supposition is that live shows and higher amounts of participation in music is the way of the future, less than passive consumption. When all of the hoopla about “Millennials” came out, how they demanded more active participation in their classrooms, their culture, and in their society, this seems to mesh well. In my mind, this seems to have some connection with the diversification of music outside of the major labels, and the rise of independent labels and musicians.
Could the same thing happen to the publishing industry? Over at the comments section of a blog post about the total failure of libraries hearkening in a “Digital Underclass” (as if there wasn’t one already), one commenter posted:
Today, authors use publishers for distribution but that may change. They may start publishing their works themselves – just as some musicians do.
The reply was: “Never happen.” Looks like someone hadn’t been paying attention. In addition to self publishing sites, and Amazon getting in trouble after a really bad PR job about pedophile handbooks for the Kindle, it’s clear that self-publishing, along with the rise of small and successful publishing houses, that people are actively participating in the creation and wider distribution of content.