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The late Scott Imes and others often complained about publishing companies' drive to get rid of the mid-list authors - the guys who didn't automatically sell like Tom Wolfe, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, and who often wind up doing movie & TV novelizations or doing chunks of novel series. Maybe the market's getting ready to give the mid-list authors a break. Chris Anderson's essay takes a look at how Netflix and Amazon.com are making obscure films, TV series and books popular again thanks to the power of market aggregation through the Internet, and how that might work out for the music business.

On a similar topic, a British company is looking at the possibility of blending mobile phones with smart cards to put a new spin on cashless buying. The article also talks about Simpay's tackling of the micropayment problem, which is also addressed glancingly in Anderson's essay.

The latter kind of hooks in with Cobb's post on gearheads which I linked earlier in the month. The demand is out there, and it looks like someone's workin' on it...so how much you want to bet somebody has it on the market in a year or two at the outside?

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
michaellee
Dec. 25th, 2004 02:13 am (UTC)
I'm really interested in stuff like that -- oddly, with amazon and netflix and other online retailers (and even the big retailers like Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart) it looks like we're going to lose the mid-list distributors, but especially with the online distribution there's more of a chance for mid-list artists in general...

wombat_socho
Dec. 25th, 2004 02:26 am (UTC)
You should really take a look at Anderson's article, then, because he draws some very clear distinctions between the big-box mega-marketers like B&N, Best Buy and Wal-Mart (who pretty much have to sell things in the hundreds of thousands to make any money) and outfits like Netflix and Amazon.com, who have the infrastructure to make a profit out of obscure films like Daughter from Danang.

I think you're right - we'll probably lose some of the distributors in the middle, but the artists will get a better shot at making some real money.
michaellee
Dec. 25th, 2004 03:54 am (UTC)
Oh, I've read the article (or another one like it in Wired) weeks ago -- I see the distinctions between the big box brick-and mortars of Wal-Mart, Barnes and Noble, and Best Buy and the online biggies like Amazon and Netflix as far as what sorts of merchandise they can easily have available -- but I think they'll all likely pressure many of the Dreamhavens and Uncle Hugos and Ma and Pa video rental stores out eventually as well.

It's an interesting trade-off, really.

And I think it's rather interesting that the end point of comic book distribution system is still generally small locally-owned stores, where the movement for most other forms of media is against that.

There's probably a good panel discussion on all of this...
wombat_socho
Dec. 25th, 2004 04:05 am (UTC)
And I think it's rather interesting that the end point of comic book distribution system is still generally small locally-owned stores, where the movement for most other forms of media is against that. There's probably a good panel discussion on all of this...

I think there's still room for the neighborhood video store, so long as they're a joint like Video Universe or Village Video that has a mother-huge collection of tapes and discs that's extremely eclectic or covers a niche market (anime, porn, whatever) in sufficent strength so that people would rather come in and pick something up than wait a couple days to get it from Netflix.

I think it'd be a great panel idea. Sign me up!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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