Difference between music (or books) and video

Peter Fader, a marketing professor in Wharton, was interviewed few months ago about the Radiohead’s release of their album online (Radiohead’s Free-for-all: Performance Art or New Business Model?, registration required).

He got it wrong when comparing movie DVDs to music CDs.

When you view a movie, you want to view it on a big screen with speakers, in a comfortable surrounding, and with popcorn or sunflower seeds on hand. Thus, viewing a movie is not an activity to be performed at any random place and time. You have at most few venues in which you would view a movie. Therefore, it is feasible to force you to use a memento, (such as a VCR cassette or a movie DVD) having a volume and a weight, to view a movie.

On the other hand, music is consumed in iPODs and MP3 players and everywhere. So ideally, you want to have it as a weightless bitstream. Therefore, any attempt to lock music down to a CD album would be counterproductive. Similarly – for books. While books require one’s undivided attention, one wants to read them at idle moments everywhere. Therefore they had better be available as weightless bitstreams in e-book readers, as well.

Author: Omer Zak

I am deaf since birth. I played with big computers which eat punched cards and spew out printouts since age 12. Ever since they became available, I work and play with desktop size computers which eat keyboard keypresses and spew out display pixels. Among other things, I developed software which helped the deaf in Israel use the telephone network, by means of home computers equipped with modems. Several years later, I developed Hebrew localizations for some cellular phones, which helped the deaf in Israel utilize the cellular phone networks. I am interested in entrepreneurship, Science Fiction and making the world more accessible to people with disabilities.

2 thoughts on “Difference between music (or books) and video”

  1. there’s this wonderful talk by Cory Doctorow about future prediction that touches DRM from the angle of “the information economy” that’s very interesting. unfortunately it’s a live talk on MP3. I thought of translating it to written Hebrew for people who can’t listen to his fast speech in English, and I suppose you could appreciate it even more 🙂

    I’ll let you know when I put it up.

  2. Traveling on the train a lot, I see many people watching movies and TV programs and VLOGs on their iPods and Laptops all the time. the gap is closing, thogh the lack of autonomous driving is keeping them apart for now 🙂

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