Thursday, January 06, 2005

If Nietzsche Was In Marketing...

Nietzsche said that it is the nature of every living thing to want to increase the amount of power it enjoys, that life is ultimately a struggle for power. It's interesting to apply that principle to todays technology environment where corporations and consumers are fighting for control over digital media.

This is a time where consumers are finally empowered to do unprecedented things with the media we buy. It is also a time in which organizations like the RIAA and the MPAA are throwing everything they have into protecting the power that they have owned, with only meager challenges, for decades. Witness DRM, the Broadcast flag, the INDUCE Act and the ongoing attack on P2P tech.

They don't want consumers to be a more powerful entity and they have technology, the established power structure, the money and they're slowly getting the law as the resources they can use to make sure that doesn't happen. CES coverage is hyping the struggle for the "digital livingroom" but what isn't being talked about is that the content companies are fighting to take it from you. They want to dole it out in perfectly controlled, time-limited, self destructing pieces. The consumer electronics companies are playing along.

Hugh Macleod has nailed an idea that I have felt but have not been able to articulate:
"Nobody cares about your whiter-than-white laundry detergent. They care about power. The sooner you stop pretending otherwise, the easier your path through life will be."
It seems to be a reasonable enough explanation of why TiVo lovers are so rabid in their support of the service. But TiVo, flanked by competition from cable companies on one side and the hypersensitive content companies on the other, can only go so far. They're existance is too fragile to truly give the consumer complete control.

By contrast, look at Napster and how quickly it took off. Look at BitTorrent and what is happening there. These technologies gave/give consumers unprecedented power and their rate of adoption shows how attractive that is.

This is an epic struggle and worth keeping an eye on.


At 8:55 AM, Blogger Suki said...

well said, wise sea creature


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