What does radical change in technology and mass media mean to those of us who are undiscovered, unpublished, or small fry wanting to follow our own path?
Previous post discussed the huge impact from having zero cost to produce and distribute one more item.
On a long-term basis, what does this do? I think several entire industries of delivering mass content are in serious trouble. If those industries don’t figure out a new business model, the overwhelming change that is taking place will sink them.
Think about this:
A one-person CPA firm can produce books in print or electronic format with no publisher or distribution house. Another one-person CPA has published 7 books . A friend of mine who is unpublished could take her first book to market without a publisher or agent. A garage band can produce and distribute an album from home. A movie maker can produce high-quality short movies in a week with off-the-shelf technology (one nonprofit runs a film festival to encourage people to use that format and time frame) and show the film at a festival. Someone with no drawing ability can produce animated cartoons.
Today, getting your completed creative idea into production is a trivial exercise. With new distribution channels (Amazon, Amazon Kindle Direct, CDBaby, BookBaby, iTunes, iPhone & Android market), getting into distribution can be done from your keyboard on a whim. A traditional middleman is no longer needed.
On a long-term basis, the traditional ways to get our creative material out to the market will be closed. If you are already known, published, or recorded, there will still be open doors. But the rest of us? Not gonna’ happen. Forget it.
What does it do to us small writers or musicians or other creative types that don’t have serious clout already?
We will have to transition away from trying to get the attention of a publisher or studio who can get our work onto the market.
We will have to focus on building our own audience. We need to build our own tribe. When we do that our tribe will look at anything we produce and will likely buy it if they like what they see.
Oh, the production and distribution? Mind-bogglingly easy and inexpensive.
Mr. Godin points out repeatedly that we need to build an audience (a tribe) and then gain their attention (he uses the word permission marketing). When we have attention we can present our newest project. Our tribe will look at it.
All of us that are small fry have tremendous opportunities. It will take a radically different kind of work to be successful. We will have to build our own audience instead of getting the attention of a gatekeeper.
The cool thing? Success will be even more under our control and will be even more rewarding.
I’m excited. The future is so bright, we need to wear sunglasses today.
(For lots more detail of what is possible with more eloquence and examples than I could ever provide, check out An Army of Davids. That book opened my eyes to the fantastic change around us.)