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Your Audience Is Your Patron · Monday September 24, 2007 by Crosbie Fitch

A long, long time ago, even before the Caxtons of this world, there was another business model.

It was called patronage.

It doesn’t hold much favour today because people find it difficult to disassociate from plutocracy.

But as easily as the Internet enables diffusion of intellectual work, so it enables the diffusion of the wealthy patron – aka ‘the audience’.

It was difficult 300 years ago to collect an advance from a large readership, but then it was difficult to distribute copies without permission, so the idea of selling copies (under monopoly) was born (whether discretely or by subscription).

Today, you cannot sell copies. The illusion that you can is simply the business model’s momentum – the good will of its passengers pushing it along with the tank having long run dry.

Has anyone wondered if you can now collect an advance from a large readership?

Don’t forget the volte face though. It’s not the author’s publisher charging the customer for production, but the customers commissioning the author to produce a publication.

Of course, a nimble publisher could offer their services once again as intermediary, especially for audiences who don’t particularly care about the specific authors, e.g. newspapers.

In the case of a newspaper things would appear very similar to the subscription model. After all, the demand and supply sides are still the same. However, it’s not a newspaper that is published to sell (under monopoly) to readers, but readers who commission a newspaper to be published (without monopoly).

vaspers aka steven e. streight said 4299 days ago :

A crowdsourced art commission? A populist-dictated music recording?

Why have an aloof elite, controlled by mammonists, create what we are capable of creating ourselves?

Take the phenomenon Post Secret: 100% user generated content, then sold to the public who created it.

I think it’s all becoming We Media, as in We Average People are now The Media, we entertain ourselves with ourselves, correction: with our digital surrogates.

We make videos, podcasts, blogs, Twitters, music, with mostly free online tools, and distribute the DIY product via free socnets and file sharing status updaters.

Connectivity is King, then Presentation,, and thirdly: Content.

Smart companies will provide more types, and better reliability, of social media with networking tools, and let the audience create their own content, share it, remix and refactor it, in a Creative Commons environment, and it’s the End of Stardom, Rise of Everyone.

I think.



 

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