More and more I am seeing the traditional distribution line being broken, in larger and larger degrees of success. The internet has provided a direct line from artist/developer/manufacturer to consumer, and more and more people are learning that they can take advantage of this in a multitude of ways.
Recently, many artists have been creating their own products (or pitches for potential products), looking at how much money it will actually take them to produce, and selling products accordingly or asking for start-up money for said projects. Of particular note would be Double Fine’s recent success with Kickstarter, and Louis CK’s sales on his personal website (instead of via iTunes or similar), in which both parties made incredibly large amounts of money in extremely small amounts of time.
Double Fine’s project can be viewed here (Start from the bottom if you want the full story, though the first video from the bottom sums up a lot of the initial information quite well):
Louis CK’s project can be found here:
As a side note, I would like to mention that Louis CK’s product was released completely free of DRM (data rights management, designed to prevent copying of data), making it potentially possible for just a handful of people to buy it, and then distribute it for free to the rest of his fanbase. The interesting thing here is that they didn’t.
The first thing that needs to be mentioned is that we are killing a lot of the current middleman business, be it huge publishing houses and their associated distributors, large video game publishers and their usually greedy and fairly horrendous business models designed to gouge the bejeezus out of the consumer, or even just local stores trying to sell similar products. This doesn’t, however, mean that these companies are going to disappear, just that they need to learn to adapt to this reality where the artists and other people that actually act on ideas they’ve come up with are going to have a much larger say in what happens with their product, a change that I believe will change the market for the better.
The second is that this direct-sale model will create prices on products that will be much lower than they are now. Particularly with digital products, if a producer of media can create a product and sell it directly to the user for little to no processing cost to either party (i.e. no distributors need to be paid, no shipping needs to be paid, etc), the price of a products sinks to reflect what the product is worth and the producer actually needs, and then the producer gets almost all of that money directly, without having to cut it up into little pieces to pay people that didn’t have anything directly to do with the project.
I like that these kinds of things are happening more and more, as I’d rather have a market run on the personal integrity of the consumers than one based on the lack thereof within the companies that supply the products.