Tuesday, November 8, 2011

[Book Review]; Free Ride: How Digital Parasites Are Destroying the Culture Business and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back, by Robert Levine; Business Week, 11/3/11

[Book Review] David Kamp, Business Week; Free Ride by Robert Levine:

"Now, as if to bolster Sulzberger’s resolve, comes Free Ride, Robert Levine’s unrelenting indictment of the free-content ethos that has dominated digital activism. Know that old Irving Kristol maxim that a neoconservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality? Well, Free Ride is the book for the Net utopian who has been mugged by insolvency. It’s a riposte of sorts to Chris Anderson’s 2009 book Free: The Future of a Radical Price, which posits that in the digital economy, “free is not just an option, it’s the inevitable endpoint.”

Levine, a former executive editor of Billboard magazine, is here to say that this line of thinking is, to use the clinical macroeconomics term, a load of bollocks. The model of offering up content for free and making up for this lost revenue stream through advertising may work well for the likes of Google (GOOG), YouTube, and the Huffington Post, but it’s hell on the original-content creators upon which these sites ultimately depend: the professional class of reporters, authors, musicians, filmmakers, and producers whose work—books, articles, songs, TV shows, and movies—is still what the public is ultimately looking for."

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