Spent the weekend amongst some of the most fervent and knowledgeable film fans on the planet at the Toronto International Film Festival.
And as I eavesdropped on their knowing banter about movies, directors, actors, even poster designers, and the interlocking of all their previous work, I started to understand the tenuous, yet necessary relationship between new and old media.
The most passionate fan-boys and fan-girls I saw and heard were all under 35, and obvious in their experience at downloading--okay, pirating--some copyrighted work. In the privacy of their dens, bedrooms or dorm rooms, they have all ripped off an artist and/or a media conglomerate. Or hundreds of 'em.
But in the process, they have gained knowledge. And fueled passion. And in turn, converted what they have stolen individually into a collective financial transaction when they gather in cinemas with each other at events like TIFF.
In essence, they are feeding the hand that they have bitten.
Same thing goes for music. I've seen my sons, particularly my eldest, download for years. But I've also seen him become a ravenous expert in indie music, spreading the gospel on the most obscure bands and spending a disproportionate amount of his income catching 'em in concert.
So there's the rub--the answer, my friends, is to convert individual piracy into collective commerce. The payoff is in the collective.
Strange world. But that's where I see the biz going.
The future of media belongs to the large-scale, shared experience magnets for singular passion.
The future of media belongs to the event makers.