Clay Shirky describes why iTunes is not a workable model for the newspaper business


Whether you like or loathe the major music labels, they are in a situation where they can sharply restrict distribution models they don’t like. Whatever you think of that in normative terms, it doesn’t describe any strategy available to newspapers, because, unlike iTunes, news can’t escape competition for alternate models of distribution.

Newspapers, even if every single one of them acted in collusion, cannot establish a monopoly on news. The main source of value for newspapers is reporting on events in the real world, and since those events can’t be copyrighted, and can be reported on by radio stations and television programs and non-profits and webloggers and twitterers and and and, news online will always be a competitive business in a way music is not.

Clay Shirky’s book “Here Comes Everybody” is here.

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