Posts Tagged 'DRM'

Broken on Purpose


Rebates fall in the category of things that communicate an intention to try to get one over on people. You have to jump through hoops to eventually get some check or gift card, or whatever…way after the fact. They could be given at the point of purchase. The process is absolutely broken on purpose, and conveys disingenuous intent. (Whether or not it is actually disingenuous isn’t the point. It conveys it.)

Of course many people never bother to collect the money. Or if they try and something goes wrong, many give up quickly. Meanwhile there are those who diligently work to claim them every time. This is all calculated and statistically known up front and designed into the model of profitability.

It sets up a scenario with winners and losers. You get a better deal because the vendor knows about how many will forfeit it, based in part on the mechanics of how each one is implemented.

In the process the vendor mildly irritates the very customers he would probably like to have the loyalty of the most.

Deals and circumstances where someone has to lose for another to win can be destructive. Of course we do it routinely. Take Gambling for example. It’s fun up to a point. There’s some seduction born out of the possibility of a payoff. But most who gamble are willing to lose to be entertained. It’s just a lot less fun when we lose a lot. And when we win we don’t worry about taking from the house because that’s “them” and they can afford it. However, when we take from individuals it feels a little different. We gamble for more than money.

We have competition for jobs, promotions, resources, status, money, mates, etc. Competition is part of our species and in many ways a positive motivating force. Exclusivity, on the other hand, while attainable in some cases, communicates disingenuous intent. The goal is to get the big win mostly through having others lose out, or be excluded, rather than on merits alone. If I am the exclusive distributor of a sought after product I can charge especially high prices. It’s an agreement between me and the manufacturer that leaves customers feeling taken advantage of.

Exclusion limits. Inclusion elevates. If a relationship is contingent upon exclusivity then it makes one wonder what the underlying intent is. Your friend gets married and the friendship suffers, or is cut off because the spouse doesn’t feel it fits within his or her boundaries. It might seem understandable, but it’s fear that begets this type of control. We each want the best tactical advantage we can get, and in some domains more than others we’re willing to be pretty cutthroat about manipulating circumstances in ways that inherently limit. Limiting others, even those we care about, for the sake of our own security.

Exclusivity is designed to trap you. It’s just that you rarely recognize it or don’t care until you’re on the outside looking in.

We break things on purpose…to satisfy greed, status, security, etc. Society accepts and even encourages many of these actions, however, they don’t reflect an ideal of living harmoniously together with each person and organization rising to reach their full potential.

Inclusion is usually more uncomfortable and risky. Dare to take that higher road.


iTunes is Dead

iTunes has been a significant cog in the machinery that killed the CD (and temporarily staved off the death of the music industry), but what many don’t yet realize is that iTunes itself, at least in its current form, is dead.

It is based on a paradigm of owning music, which if you read the fine print is not actually what happens when you “purchase” music anyway. But as many teenagers can already tell you, they don’t place much value on owning music. It’s widely available just about anywhere. If I want to listen to a song I can find it online and listen to it. Simple as that. Maybe the quality isn’t as consistent as something like iTunes, or maybe it’s a few more clicks to hear the whole record, but in short order those issues will be long gone.

Music is destined to be free. Artists will hopefully be able to make enough money performing and selling their work commercially to survive. But even if they don’t it will not stop them. Funny thing about the truly great, inspired artists….they aren’t doing it for the money anyway.

I assume Apple already knows this and has plans to rebrand it and change the core functionality to reflect the times.

It’s About the Content

…but it’s not ALL about the content.

Why is broadcast TV still profitable (in the billions) while things like YouTube, which has had millions thrown at it, and does have millions more viewers per day than broadcast, still unprofitable? Many reasons, but the main one is that the content sucks, for the most part.

However it’s not that simple. These days it’s easy — therefore not valuable — to have lots of content. The real differentiator is how useful the content is. There is some great content on YouTube as well as a number of other web resources, but so much noise and crap as to make much of it less than usable. There is no good aggregation, no good menus, tables of contents, guides, etc. The service/value that broadcast provides is to cull it all down and make decisions about what good content is, and then present it to us in easy to digest packages. Addmitadly we disagree with them much more than we agree with them, but even with the piss-poor record they have it’s STILL more useful than the alternatives.

It’s all changing of course. The network broadcast TV model is a dead man walking, but…it’s just surprising how slow the change moves. There’s a huge opportunity for whoever can step up and put the final nails in that coffin. Any takers?


How consumers appear to the media companies



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