Monday, March 2, 2009


Anyone in the creative industry has to feel for music and movie businesses as they battle piracy and file sharing. The desire for FREE on the Internet is a huge challenge to anyone who produces digital entertainment. I think that emerging from the torrent of files containing movies, TV shows, and music tracks that are being forwarded from computer to computer, is a word that will have a terrific impact on our future. That word is share.

In a world where the environment is under threat and credit is harder to find than a CEO on a lunch break, the ability to share – and come up with products that encourage sharing – is a new frontier for innovation. We’re already familiar with some prescient examples, like Zipcar. They set out to help people without cars to share one for a limited time but are inspired by a larger purpose: to enable simple and responsible urban living. You want to pick your mother up from the airport? Zipcar is a great solution to do what you need to do.

The Internet is a virtual machine for sharing – YouTube to share your creativity; Facebook to share your life; Second Life to share your dreams; Wikipedia to share your knowledge and eBay to share your belongings! This is sharing as a way to get more value – and who doesn’t have that near the top of their agenda? It’s not about less but about better. One efficient lawn mower for the street. A full set of home handy tools for an apartment building. Where it gets interesting is the emotional adjustments people are prepared to make. However hard we try to encourage our kids to share, anyone with a two-year-old knows that it doesn’t come naturally! Sharing is a skill born of empathy. We learn it as we learn how to work and play together and to make compromises that benefit us all. Sharing can inspire a renewed sense of community and belonging. Who doesn’t want to have that as part of their life? I believe that making things to share will become a trillion dollar industry as we work together to make the world a better place for us all to live in.

Share this thought with a friend.


Anonymous said...

Some things should really be kept out of marketeers. Sharing, the method of, is what keeps AA away from that first drink, it is what makes people heal in therapy settings, it is what keeps families together. So, before we develop a new marketing target, let's just consider what we are doing before we place a price tag on our most intimate behavior

Charlotte said...

As a musician (well more so prior to having a baby) the irony is that, for me anyway, sharing music with other willing parties is the most divine aspect of creating music. A good jam session with other muscos can take me to such pleasurable places that I melt into nothing but heart. And for me the ultimate experience in life is finding a deep groove on stage, connecting with an audience and making magic as one. When this happens I know it's the reason I was born. I never quite came to grips with charging money for my music - it kind of brought in a funny kink to an otherwise joyful occupation.

chris simon said...

Hey, it has been awhile. But always try and tune into your blog when I can. Think I picked you up on TV online news recently talking about some online tourism promo or something. Good to see you endorsing so much transparency nowadays.

Sharing is not some new world culture or all ‘love and peace please give me your content’.

It is the most competitive and smart it has ever been.

It is just a currency far better understood by those who have been dealing it for quite some time now.

Those that talk more about how you build HTML around their content that you are proposing to share and how you are going to tag, title and describe what you share and how many blogs, sites, communities and sharing apps or ‘follows’ it will benefit audiences with.

The currency of context is God and not just all content.

The currency of what is in it for me is still strong. But the me is the audience and they want big returns on their advocacy endorsement. And a lot of the audiences are music makers, artists, search experts, writers, vloggers, etc. They want to see their own distribution happening as they allow you to use it and they want their name on it. If they already have vast popularity, the best of them actually care about the pop more than they do a brand….So never just try and jump on for the ride, but understand their pop!

What is in the share for them? Are you going to enable them to have better keywords for their music or videos to be associated with? Are you going to make their meta tagging descriptions any richer? And, something agencies are pretty good at, are you going to ‘print’ design a separate good looking HTML to surround their content, other than their usual MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Bebo or other such profile or landing engagement. Something they could change regularly and embed on blogs, etc? I guess their own moving website.

It is no longer about getting on the judging lists or conferences getting away with the same local speakers and panelists every year and giving the same spin they gave the previous year.

They spoke the previous year about community. Now they are calling it social but saying nothing new. It is a bit worrying. That is not moving forward.

The bubbling currency of social media integration in video context started happening circa 2006 and has been evolving in a good way worldwide since, (not just putting Twitter on your business card or having a QR name tag), which is so ridiculously reactive and out-of-date tomorrow.

And yes; sharing is ultra important. But it is and always will be how you share.

I have many music artists, film makers, programmers and others working with me, some established over years. Sometimes it is in their name, under their identity, sometimes under mine. I’ve often made more money by not putting my specific name on it or grabbing too much credit. I’ve often made more money by being a pseudonym author rather than me. But a pseudonym author of something real or something a wide community plugs into and who share not just content with me, but income.

I was shocked to hear an established Social Media, Creative Messaging, Psychologist and Agency type guy the other day say, “The audience does not care if it is fixed”.

Let me put that to you another way: Artists and entities with 5-10 million regular views established over the last few years online and with handsets do not care if you are agency of the year or talking at a conference about sharing content.

They will readily share if you actually show them.

Really show them what is in it for them. Bearing in mind that them is the audience.

But if they thought you were fixing it! Hey! Don’t bother asking!