I’m fascinated by a trend that’s been accelerating over the last several years: The trend toward direct services.
- You don’t go to the bookstore anymore; you buy from Amazon
- You don’t go go to Blockbuster anymore; you stream content
- You don’t call cab companies anymore, you have Uber connect you
- You don’t hire companies anymore; you put jobs on eLance
- Artists don’t need record company’s as much anymore; they have iTunes
The list continues.
Some of those aren’t quite direct provider-to-consumer links, but they are removing steps enroute to the final round number of intermediaries: Zero.
I saw this again today with the World Cup.
Sony evidently paid considerable money to be the World Cup’s official headphone sponsor. Beats said they didn’t care about that, and put out a five minute video showing tons of stars wearing Beats headphones.
It’s at around 18 million hits right now.
They went around the system. The official channel was not necessary. They went directly to the consumer using YouTube.
Content becomes primary
What I enjoy so much about this trend is how honest and direct it is. It removes the power of middlemen and gives power to content creators.
People simply create and expose it to the planet. If people like it, it thrives. If not, they do something else.
It’s an equalizer. It’s a force for meritocracy.
I am pleased to see it in the arenas of art, but I cannot wait to see its impact on other types of broadcast. Political platforms. Ideas. Entrepreneurial solutions to problems.
What replaces the middlemen are technology platforms. They help with intelligent matching and suggestions—whether that’s for art or music or jobs or romantic interests or food.
Of course the platforms will compete, but that’s good for everyone. The key is making sure that the number of hops between the creator and the consumer are reduced, and that the system for linking them becomes more intelligent and rich.
I look forward to the fruit from this tree.