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December 09, 2012




It seems to me that the most interesting story of the iTunes music store is how Apple managed to trick the music industry, step by step, into being saved from their own stupidity. Had Apple not come along with iTunes and the iPod ... had Steve Jobs not worked his magic to first seduce then strong-arm the music industry into accepting the business model he wanted them to have ... the music industry would have completely imploded.

It remains to be seen if that particular kind of tap-dancing remains possible for Apple without Jobs. But I'm hopeful.

The tricky bit is that with music, I tend to want to listen to the same songs over and over again, while with video in most cases I'm done if I see something just once. The rights holders screwed this up the first time, when home video players became available, thinking that people would pay a premium for a few favorite movies. Their stupid pricing model, thinking that they should squeeze a big margin out of a handful of people, inspired a zillion smart entrepreneurs to create local rental libraries ... which eventually resulted in them being locked in a mutual death grip with Blockbuster for a couple of decades.

People have already figured out that owning video is a mug's game; Netflix has taught them how the right answer is a subscription model. So the real trick that Apple is probably trying to pull is figuring out how to trick the video rights holders into going along with that model so that they can unlock the enormous pile of money they could make that way.


Exactly. But here's the crazy thing, there's a whole business model that actually everybody knows, but nobody does which is the business of clips. I don't know how much ABC pays whomever to show Clark Gable say 'Frankly Scarlet, I don't give a damn', but I'd pay a nickel to have just that restaruant scene in "When Harry Met Sally". The replayable parts of movies are worth selling in their own right. How much would you pay for that one clip where Obi Wan Kenobi says 'These are not the droids you are looking for'?

All somebody has to do is scan IMDB for all the quotable quotes and there's a library right there.

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