Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Are we driving some of our content creators underground?

Today we “officially” released the results of the Captive/BitTorrent promotion: over 400,000 downloads in about two weeks…globally.

I wrote a book, got an agent, got frustrated, tried to find a new agent, got even more frustrated, went with a small publisher (instead of looking for an agent any more), then partnered with BitTorrent. I now have a global audience and a lot more options.

I wasn’t the first “artist” as part of BitTorrent’s new artist program. They’ve had bands, movies and now an audience funded series. The resources available to new artists are staggering: sites that promote or aggregate them with a built in following; drastically cheaper equipment or options for filming, recording, printing, distributing, editing and marketing; social networks and peer to peer communities; and even Kindle with it’s tiered pricing. I could go on with the last sentence but what I wrote says enough.

Contrast that with the “traditional” media world. They are supporting and promoting fewer and fewer new artists preferring to play it safe and stick with established “names”. Not that I necessarily disagree with them. The content world is notoriously hard to predict and studios, publishers and other promoters have lost money on too many artists (new and old) over the years.

But (see above) part of my “I got frustrated” was hearing too many times that the audience only wants celebrities, vampire books and lite chic lit. 400,000 plus downloads proves otherwise (there are lots of free book downloads that don’t build such an audience).

Isn’t it time to interact more with the audience and not force them into “alternative” media? The artists are already there with options for those who want more than celebrities, vampire books and chic lit.

What will I do with the sequel? Don’t know yet; hopefully, finish it (should be writing that and not this…). But the options only continue to expand.

Why are we not building and promoting new artists more in the traditional media world? The costs are so much lower… Some studio or publisher needs to question why they really need to spend so much in this day and age to launch a new artist.

My favorite example of how we can’t so easily define quality content, YouTube’s Annoying Orange, just got a television deal. Watch it and tell me the cost structure to launch those videos online was material in any studio budget (my kids love Annoying Orange so that isn’t a critique! Also, my son loves Superskamory…a 17 year old who makes Mario walkthrough videos…favored over any TV show in his world).

What fun we’ll have watching new artists as they build audiences outside the traditional spheres! I do believe that the traditional studio models will evolve to match the new reality that they’re no longer the only option for a talented new artist.

This piece is a companion to the one I wrote on my investment banking blog; on whether we’re driving part of our audience underground.


FreePlay said...

Dear Meghan,

I just got your book via utorrent and look forward to reading it. Would you please get a Flattr profile so I can give back some $ to you that way vs paypay...

Megan Lisa Jones said...

Thank you! For reading, commenting and wanting to pay...

We just added paypal options to but will now (at your suggestion) add Flattr as well. Give me a day or two...I've been so busy.

Let me know what you think of the book!