“…And there’s plenty of other information out there that has chosen to run in the opposite direction from Free. The Times gives away its content on its Web site. But the Wall Street Journal has found that more than a million subscribers are quite happy to pay for the privilege of reading online. Broadcast television—the original practitioner of Free—is struggling. But premium cable, with its stiff monthly charges for specialty content, is doing just fine. Apple may soon make more money selling iPhone downloads (ideas) than it does from the iPhone itself (stuff). The company could one day give away the iPhone to boost downloads; it could give away the downloads to boost iPhone sales; or it could continue to do what it does now, and charge for both. Who knows? The only iron law here is the one too obvious to write a book about, which is that the digital age has so transformed the ways in which things are made and sold that there are no iron laws.”
Counter to some predictions, photography and video are are not bound to ‘Free’. I’m in agreement with Anderson that ‘Free’ is most certainly carving out its space–even reasonably so–in every digitally based industry, but I’m in complete alignment with Gladwell that the two markets ‘Free’ and ‘Not Free’ can and will continue to co-exist reasonably nicely. The trick is/will be in finding the balance.
Read the whole piece here. A lot of very good food for thought.