Music labels and division of labor

(This is another comment on Techcrunch post about labels' trying to charge a flat fee for accessing music. I wonder if it is my mistake or Cocomment's problem...
I may write about Soribada, Korean P2P file sharing company, which could be a helpful benchmark for the US music industry.)

I agree with #1 bs. It is easy (and perhaps popular) to say music is only created by musicians. But it is not. There are instruments, road crew, concert halls, marketers, music retailers, reviewers, etc. No one seems to say road crew do not create value, but what’s so different about road crew vs. labels? Neither writes or performs music. I guess one looks cool and the other greedy and big? My business is tiny, but I don’t think being big is a sin.

Having said that, I predict that more and more of what music labels do will be crowdsourced. Thanks to technology, division of labor can be done outside of organizational boundaries more easily than before.


Michale Arrington hates music labels and paid music...

(I normally track and save my comments at other blogs using cocomment. But cocomment did not seem to have worked this time and I am copying my comments here. This is my comment to Michael Arrington's post about music label's new business model, which had a scary title originally.)

I take a minority opinion. Let the creators (artists and their helpers) decide whether to release their music as paid or free. It is always better to have choices and currently what is lacking is the ‘paid’ choice.

One thing I found very interesting at the end of the portfolio.com article: “Apple is reportedly negotiating with the major record labels to offer consumers free access to the entire iTunes library in exchange for paying a premium for Apple hardware.”

If Apple pays labels (that is, ultimately to musicians) based on downloads, that is close to my idea of alternative free model, even though I did not expect the hardware manufactures to increase the hardware price.

We should understand that whether you are charged by Apple or the label is economically not very different. All of them need to make money to exist. There is no particular reason why you should prefer paying $110 to apple and zero to labels than paying $100 to apple and $10 to labels. If you don’t think labels worth existing, that’s a different topic. But as long as they add value, they should get paid, too. Personally, I think many musicians will look for help of others who will take care of non-music works so that they can focus on creating and performing music. I don’t know whether the they will look like current labels or different (smaller?), but they will be there. It is called division of labor, which I also wrote about most recently.

By the way, I don’t like the term ‘tax’. Someone made a mistake by calling it tax rather than paid subscription. That sounds terrible.


Division of labor is alive and well in web 2.0

I found an article, which questioned the democracy of web 2.0.

Digg, Wikipedia, and the myth of Web 2.0 democracy. - By Chris Wilson - Slate Magazine

I agree with the content of the article, but not with the definition of democracy. It seems that some people think that democracy is a system in which people share the same responsibilities. They say it is not democratic when some people do most of the content contribution at Youtube of Wikipedia.

However, I think 'that' is really democratic. What they call 'democracy' sounds like mechanical equality.

In democracy, people are not required to do the same things. People do what they choose to. And this freedom tends to lead to division of labor, because people differ in what they like to do as well as what they do well.

I think the Digg and Wikipedia are great examples of why the free market economy is a very natural system for a human society. Many web 2.0 sites give equal property for everyone. Everyone is given a free asset. For example, everyone is given the same free blog account. Even so, the outcome is not equal. Someone becomes a celebrity blogger, while many others remain a blog without a reader.

However, a celebrity blogger, who belong to the top 1% of the pyramid, can be one of 99% who are mere consumers at a restaurant. No one can be the 1% in all aspects of our life. Sometimes you lead, and other times you follow.

This is not complicated. It is a simple truth arising from the fact that people differ in their passion and capability. Then we should be doing different, not same, things.

What is this called? It is called division of labor.


Communist manifesto at paragraphr.com

We (Innomove Lab) just posted "Communist Manifesto" by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels at paragraphr.com, which is a web app being developed by Innomove Lab.

I am not a communist. To be honest, I have never read Marx properly. First of all, I did not want to ruin my family by becoming another socialist when I was in college during the time of military government. Another reason, which is more important, has to do with my reading habbit. When I read anything, I try to understand the key messages and decide to continue or stop. I tend to continue when I see something counterintuitive and non-linear. Innovator's Dilemma, one of my favorite business books, was such a kind. "Good management is exactly the reason why good companies fail." How can I resist?

When I tried reading Marx or Marxist literature, I have not seen any such thing. I felt it would be very linear. It would be "What you see is what you get" analysis of capitalist society.

By the way, I think "capitalism" is a misleading term. I think the core of free market economy (my preferred term) is freedom to innovate. To tell you what I mean, assume you are an employee at a supermarket in 1992. Having seen the Internet, you really get excited. You have a lot of happy thoughts, imaginations. Then you tell your boss, the supermarket manager, that they should make an online shop. He does not agree and declines your proposal. He says "this is good enough". What do you do?

Well, here is the critical difference. If you were in a communist society, you should just give up. It is a "community" decision that you should follow, whether it is democratic or (more likely) dictated by the elites. What if you were in a free market economy? You can leave and start up! I believe that this freedom of pursuing your own venture is the critical difference of the two systems. Everything else must be details.

You may say that I did not compare apple to apple. You are right. We need to additionally explain what the core assets of a free market economy. I think it is the idea, which you as a supermarket employee had. So, ultimately a free market economy is an economy which compensates for (successful) creativity. Unlike any other assets, including the capital, idea does not have a limit. An innovation gives a good environment for another innovation. And as long as we give indiciduals the freedom to do something at your own risk, there will be people who disagree with status quo and start a revolution. And some will always succeed. So, wait forever for the market economy to reach an end. I bet it won't come, though the society will be more equal than now (I will write more about this in Mass Niche). That's my view of the free market economy.

Back to the Communist Manifesto. Anyway, I did not have a chance to read a Marx book completely. And here we have Paragraphr, a platform to discuss a writing and a project in need of usage and feedback. So, why not put a Marx writing on it and read it there. Hopefully we get some feedback on rankrz.com, which I am realizing is quite difficult as a company outside the US, and I get to read and test commenting myself (slowly). Lastly, though I want to avoid any political or ideological discussions, my feeling is that the recent "Free" issues and so on have non-business, non-economic implications. If that is really the case, why not have two tracks: current and trendy Free and digital goods on one hand, and classical and fundamental thoughts on the other.

Would you join me reading the mind of Marx?