The FREE Debate, Continued.
I’d been real busy the last few days – and had to be away from the blog. Anyhow, picking off where I’d left off – here are some more points-of-view on the FREE debate. I’m afraid that most of it is Anderson-bashing or thereabouts. I still haven’t bought or read the book, and don’t see myself doing so in the next few weeks.
First up, John Gapper at FT.com. The way he keeps saying ‘Mr. Anderson’ reminds of Matrix. I mean, how can it not? But he’s not the biggest fan. He puts the book down as West Coast propaganda. This bit is scathing
The problem is that he veers between sweeping statements and balancing paragraphs in a manner that leaves the reader unsure of what he is actually saying. It is an intellectual version of a ride in a New York taxi whose driver alternately pumps the accelerator and stamps on the brakes.
Next, Mike Masnick at techdirt. Masnick, who claims to know Anderson, has the same problem of a lack of a clear answer from the book.
That said, Gladwell’s comment actually does bring to light my biggest complaint with Anderson’s book. I think it’s a fantastic read, and quite educational and (at times) thought provoking. But I don’t think it goes far enough in diving into the meaty details, which is where folks like Gladwell are led astray. So while I think that Anderson is correct, I’ll also say that Gladwell is correct in suggesting that Anderson doesn’t clearly answer that question. That doesn’t mean that Anderson cannot or that the failure to answer that question means that Anderson’s thesis is wrong, even though Gladwell implies the failure to answer such questions calls the entire work into question.
Third, Mark Cuban on his blog. Cuban gets into the entire question of ‘Free vs. Freely Distributed’. He uses music as an example.
What they music industry realizes that they have to offer quite a bit of music for free. What they have learned however, is that they dont have to allow it to be freely distributed. They can and do control where its delivered. You can have it for free, if thats how you want it, but you have to come get it where we want you to get it. On our websites. On websites we co produce with Youtube or Hulu or whoever. If you want it for free, you have to go through the exhausting effort of clicking to our website and giving us something in value in return. It may be your attention. It may be your interest. It may be a referral or your email address. We give you something free, you give us something that costs you nothing.
The music is often free, but it is NEVER freely distributed.
Anyhow, the debate’s open. A client of mine is talking about how he wants to use ‘Free’ to get people to pay. He’s hopeful. Let’s see how it goes. Off into another meeting I go.