Get The Hell Out Of The Way!

LUCIAN GRAINGE

There’s one iTunes, one Google, one Facebook, one Netflix, one Amazon… Anyone who thinks the future of music retailing will resemble the brick and mortar world of old is either duplicitous or dumb.

That’s Lefsetz, who is usually on the ball.

Here, he’s under the ball.

Cornering a market in digital is an anomaly due to the very structure of digital.

Had the analog world proceeded as digital has, we’d need a TV for each station, a radio for each station, and it would be impossible to create a “standard” bookcase because every book would be a unique size or shape.

Just because things have worked out this way to now doesn’t mean we have to put up with it.

We run this country. Not any corporation or group of them (contrary to how things seem at the moment).

There was a time in this nation when the tobacco companies were unassailable. They had billions and billions of dollars at their disposal. There were ads on TV, in magazines, billboards everywhere. Today smoking has been demonized and discouraged and the war against tobacco still continues.

Smoking was revealed to be unhealthy.

Digital strangleholds are unhealthy too.

Any stranglehold is.

Whether it’s Wall Street, or Too Big To Fail Banks, or a megalomaniacal Mayor, all of these things are being revealed to be detrimental to the common good.

The current stranglehold certain digital companies have on certain markets is what Monsanto seeks to gain with its Terminator and other lines of genetically-modified seeds.

Nature is not fooled: Rootworms have developed resistance to genetically engineered corn.

Nature spreads its bets far and wide. And Nature will outlast any of us and any damn company.

Decentralization and distributed power is what makes things strong, not strangleholds.

AT&T once had a stranglehold on telephone service. We, the government, broke it up.

At some point we will also break up Apple, Amazon, Google, and others. We will do this by demanding APIs that tie into their systems. Just as the new post-AT&T telephone landscape demanded interconnection access for all competition.

The EU brought Microsoft to heel. The EU and the DoJ have brought Big Six book publishers to heel. We will bring the rest of them to heel too in the years ahead.

So, yeah, Leftsetz is very wrong. You might still go to the Kindle Store or iBookstore or Google eBookstore in the future to buy, but behind the facade of that digital mall will be individual stalls from individual publishers and writers who are each selling directly to you.

Our common good requires that.

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