Do you remember what your musical life was like before MP3′s? I do. It sucked. Record companies chose what was popular. Then they, along with radio stations, chose how often those songs got played. If you didn’t like what everyone else liked, you were out of luck. If you did like a song, you had to buy the artist’s whole album to get it.
It was as though the entire popular musical spectrum was made of primary colors.
Now, on the other hand, there is not only a band to suit every possible musical taste, but often times an entire genre, and you can get nearly any song at any time for very little money.
That change happened because someone figured out how to make money selling content directly from the content producers (musicians) to the content consumers (you and me). Sure, record companies and radio stations still exist, but they’re not the titans they once were.
This is the best situation for everyone, when the consumer is allowed to purchase content directly from the content producer. When there is any kind of middleman, that middleman is going to do everything they can to maximize profits at the expense of user experience. That’s why a 30 minute TV show is 22 minutes long, is stuffed full of every possible product placement allowable, and even has network advertisements played over top of it around the edges.
Advertisements pay for television, which means that the corporations who place those advertisements play a big role in what gets said on TV. That conflicting interest disappears when the content producer is supported directly by the content consumer.
This is why everyone in the world should be watching Arrested Development on Netflix. I pay a few bucks a month subscription fee and I get commercial free content directly from the creators. This is a good thing. It is an unbelievably good thing.
If you ever want to watch what your favorite comedian, reporter, politician, musician — anyone! — really thinks, or really can do, you should support every effort to cut out the middleman.