Hwæt! The dinosaur content publishing industry is dead. Long live the Nouvelle Republique Mondiale. Since Gutenberg and before, with the Papal dominance of access to learning, books and education, the publishing of intellectual property and content – and that corresponded to the recording of valuable information – has been the dominion of an élite group of publishing houses who controlled the system of verbal currency.
Then came the Fourth Estate and the rise and rise of the mainstream media, once a free press then increasingly commercialised to the point of venal obscurity, and up until now, the hegemonic dictatorship of what was hip, cool and hot in conventional, mainstream bookish types more into the ‘scene’ than the words of the wise.
So to today, yet again, at the cusp of another game-changing parallax where all bets are off and nothing will ever be the same again. The content world in a miasma of contorted dilemmas – will they, won’t they? – buy a book, buy a DVD, buy newspapers, buy CDs and music, pay for the old media? – whilst now, the content creators are bricking it in their corporate commodes on contemplation of their fingers disappearing through the last few final flimsy sheets of Andrex paydirt, that commissions for atomic works are dropping like flies, until such time as the ‘Day of the Bit-Content’ takes over and pays the shekels for their material well-being and ability to continue to ‘create’ the digital baubles that the people think they want, think they need, know they must have in order to fill the void in their heads that they’re being entertained, with bread and circuses, and keep them from thinking the bigger thoughts. Until that is, of course, e-books arrived and set about the smashing up of the printing machine. Neo-Luddism on steroids with a sleek, sexy Ipad in that little black dress clutched in one hand, a virtual sledgehammer raised in the other like some bibliokinetic Sword of Damocles poised to smite the rusting, rancid hot metal machines of yesteryear.
And yet, whilst pdfs have been around for yonks, the idea of them being the source of all knowledge for current-day bookworms is a quaint nod to the crackhead publishing geek-types who also thought the Apple Newton made them the new ‘it-girl’ or ‘it-boy’ on the pavement café scene in downtown Uberchavsville on Upperside Wharf, smeared screen, sticky fingers and a half-eaten bacon butty. It didn’t.
So. Where does that leave the content creators and their craving clientele in this post-nuclear mondial mess of disjointed business plans and as-yet un-monetized digital assets?
Exactly the same place they were at the last turn of the great Wheel of Kairos, when the hole point of it was that everything thus far envisaged and envisioned was passé and about to change for good. And it will be for good. The notion of incumbents being too-big-to-fail must finally be dashed once and for all. And that’s just publishing, not the mention the ante-deluvian wider content business models for TV, film, music, gaming and alternate new media – with all their shiny media assets up for grabs. Like climate change, the world reinvents itself, periodically, irrespective of what the incumbent dominant species may want or may pontificate with unsubstantiated junk management science and marketing doublespeak. Nobody’s fooled anymore. They’re just patient enough to wait it out, unbeknowst to themselves, and watch the incumbents get hoisted by their own petards. The show must go on. And we’ll all get a ringside seat.
Go ask the dinosaurs.