Popcorn Time

Watch Richard Greenfield’s YouTube video:

Popcorn Time

Thank god we’re in the music business, we’ve already been through the transition, we’ve already been pushed back to zero, we’re in an era of rebirth so strong that if you think the music business is in trouble, you’re not in it. Blockbuster acts make more money than ever before. Piracy has been eviscerated, killed by the aforementioned YouTube and legal streaming services, and from here on, it’s only up.

Kind of like that Pixar movie…

Except the filmed entertainment business, now shot on digital, is screwed. Because unlike the music business, these pricks always thought they were better than us, that their fans “respected” their work and chose not to pirate it. What a bunch of hogwash.

Listening to music is easy. The entire history thereof. If it’s not on the streaming service, it’s certainly on YouTube. If you’re still stealing you’re a hoarder and need treatment. Why waste so much time to own that which is freely available?

Not truly free. YouTube pays. As do the streaming services. And if you’re complaining about the payout, you never would have invested in Verizon or Comcast or any enterprise wherein startup costs are high and dividends are paid forever. Just check the stocks of cable providers, they’re cash cows, people pay every month for infrastructure that was built eons ago.

So the movie business’s worst nightmare just happened. A site that will be all but impossible to take down has launched that allows you to watch everything, now, for free. Movies in the theatres, movies on home video, movies you can’t find anywhere else.

There was a hole and somebody filled it. Film people were so busy protecting theatre owners and cable channels and everybody else who paid for their product, the same way record labels protected brick and mortar retailers, that they forgot about the customers, who want a simple interface and access. Sure, if you’re a teen you might want to go to the theatre to make out and cause trouble, or if you’re an alta kacher you might go out of habit, but everybody else just doesn’t understand the theatre experience anymore. You mean I have to get into my car, park, and the movie doesn’t start when I want it to? We all live in an on demand world, except in the movie business.

We’ve got what everybody wants in the music business. All access streaming. Yup, that’s what people want. YouTube is the music player of choice. It dwarfs not only CDs and MP3s, but dedicated music streaming sites. This is also the problem of the labels, who wouldn’t let music streaming sites launch early enough, such that YouTube got a head start, but the point is…we’re at the end of the road. The consumer is living in a land of luxury, a pure nirvana, he’s lost all incentive to pirate. Can we get him to pay for dedicated streaming services? We’re gonna find out.

And now the movie business is gonna have to move forward, gonna have to deliver all their product, instantly, on demand. Windows are going to collapse, prices are going to come down, because the public now has an easy alternative.

Ain’t technology grand!

Not if you’re a struggling band without superstar talent. Suddenly, no one has time for you.

Not if you’re a traditional record company. Sure, you might make a ton of money off streaming in the future, but these companies have not configured themselves for the new reality, within which…

Talent is king.

Never forget, distribution is truly king, if you can’t access it, it’s like it doesn’t exist. But as I illustrated above, the music distribution problem has been solved. The only issue is what flows through the pipeline, what people choose to play.

And what they choose is superstar talent. The blockbuster syndrome.

The superstar talent may make less money off recordings than in the past, but live business exceeds the past by a huge factor. Concert tickets have gone up in price even more than college tuition! And then there’s sponsorships/endorsements and privates and sync and so many avenues of remuneration that no one who is a superstar is bitching.

Yes, all the bitching is from those who’ve been left out. Even Thom Yorke isn’t bitching for himself, but the theoretical people following in his footsteps. But anybody as good and big as Radiohead will have no problem making money in the future, it’s there to be had. Will they make as much as techies and bankers? Maybe not, but almost nobody does.

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  2. […] Ten minutes ago I skim read the recent Bob Lefsetz letter about Popcorn Time […]

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    1. […] Ten minutes ago I skim read the recent Bob Lefsetz letter about Popcorn Time […]

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