Perhaps Time Magazine's Lev Grossman put it best when he said:
"When Amazon.com announced its plan to open a digital music store to sell MP3s, you had to really work to get excited about it. It's hard to think of a press release that would be less surprising. At this rate, my 3-year-old daughter will be opening a digital music store pretty soon."
I've seen the future of retailing, and it is us. Or, put another way:
STORES 'R' US
Mix the reach of the Web with tools like PayPal and the social graphing spirit of Facebook and you've got the new paradigm--we are all shopkeepers.
Never mind Social Networking, the big bucks are gonna be in Social Retailing.
"The key element
to music retailing
He went onto paint a picture where fans would not only submit and vote on poster design, but edit raw material into tracks and videos (the best of which would be selected by the artist for release). The coup-de-grace though, was the way in which this new musical content would all be sold. "Who's opinion are you going to trust more?" he asked. "Some store, or one of your influential, cool friends?"
This guy was ahead of the game by months (which is eons in Web 2.0 time, which is moving so fast it's now being called Web 2.5 or 3.0 depending on your timezone), a span that has brought us innovations like Justin Timberlake's Burnlounge ("The World's First Fan-Driven Digital Download Community") and Seattle's MOD Systems, which offers a kiosk that lets people burn music and movies while they wait...anywhere.
"Entertainment content is a $35 billion business," says MOD's Chairman Anthony Bay, "and there isn't enough shelf space to support the breadth of catalog."
Unless, of course, it's virtual. So now your basement, your kitchen, your carwash, your drycleaner can all be superstores like the late Tower Records, Sam Goodys or Sam The Record Man (ask your parents).
Ironically, the Time quote above came from an article entitled "The Battle Over Music Piracy." And perhaps, inadvertently, Lev Grossman's three-year-old daughter holds the solution to the battle in her teeny hands.
The best way to combat piracy, it seems, is to make entrepreneurs, not crooks, out of us all.