From Kevin Kelly’s The Satisfaction Paradox: On why Curation will be the only thing you’ll still pay for

Walkman_Im_your_fatherBrilliant stuff from Kevin Kelly on the situation were are increasingly finding ourselves in with regard to Content Overabundance: There is more than you will ever be able to consume.

(Compare: The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We’re All Going To Miss Almost Everything – NPR ).

This is the fundamental equation you have to understand about the information economy, and Attention being its only scarce resource: While supply of content of all types is going to infinity, the total amount of available Attention remains essentially static. Thus, the price for content must by necessity trend toward ZERO.

As for Curation, here is the money quote from Kevin: “Instead you will pay Amazon, or Netflix, or Spotify, or Google for their suggestions of what you should pay attention to next. Amazon won’t be selling books (which are marginally free); they will be selling their recommendations of what to read.”

We are beginning to see many examples of this already, e.g. here: “Not #free, but close: Amazon is selling digital downloads of Lady Gaga’s newest album for 99 cents -> “.

Also, there are plenty of enterprising young artists that are bypassing the old structures entirely, and are going straight to FREE + Social Media Marketing + Monetizing the value-added back-end in the ways that are the only ones predicted to work with FREE (See: Gerd Leonhard on The Future Of Selling). E.g. here: “Stanford-educated rapper embraces fan piracy – Video – CNN Money ->

And Apple has been busily buying up deals with most of the major music labels, to presumably offer an Apple-branded “cloud-based” music streaming service very soon [this was unveiled as iTunes Match in the fall of 2011]. If they are smart, they will price it within what I call Impulse Purchase Territory, ideally somewhere between $1-5/month.

I’ve said previously that e.g. Sony is making a huge mistake by not going the $1/month route for complete/unlimited streaming music access with their own new offering:

Because “that would put it in the complete impulse purchase, don’t-need-to-think, will-likely-never-cancel-for-any-reason category. What if they could thereby garner 100 Million users, thus spending about $1.2 Billion, or in other words about 20% of what still is left of the global music industry?!”

If Apple doesn’t do it, then someone else eventually will. Only then will some in the #Dinomedia come to see, that the race was not about who was still going to eek out some residual “crumbs” profits from the Old System, but who was going to wholesale import the masses into their Ecosystem…

Instead of dumb ideas like the New York Times Pay Wall…I mean Fence, that only prove the deep denial that many from the Old Guard still find themselves in, because… well… the good old days, they were so very nice…

While they lasted. Looking at all of these examples I can’t help but be reminded of one of my favorite quotes by SciFi author William Gibson: “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”

Better wake up quick, because, as Seth Godin says, “Whining isn’t a scalable solution.”

The Satisfaction Paradox

…What if you lived in a world where every great movie, book, song that was ever produced was at your fingertips as if “for free”, and your filters and friends had weeded out the junk, the trash, and anything that would remotely bore you. The only choices would be the absolute cream of the cream, the things your best friend would recommend. What would you watch or read or listen to next?

In theory, you would not choose since it does not matter. Leave it to serendipity, since every option is wonderful. If your filtering/recommendation system really is working, then anything you accept from them should be satisfying.

This is the psychological problem of dealing with abundance rather than scarcity. It is not quite the same problem of abundance articulated by the Paradox of Choice, the theory that we find too many choices paralyzing.

…what outfits like Amazon will be selling in the future. For the price of a subscription you will subscribe to Amazon and have access to all the books in the world at a set price. (An individual book you want to read will be as if it was free, because it won’t cost you extra.) The same will be true of movies (Netflix), or music (iTunes or Spotify or Rhapsody.) You won’t be purchasing individual works.

Instead you will pay Amazon, or Netflix, or Spotify, or Google for their suggestions of what you should pay attention to next. Amazon won’t be selling books (which are marginally free); they will be selling their recommendations of what to read.

You’ll pay the subscription fee in order to get access to their recommendations to the “free” works, which are also available elsewhere. Their recommendations (assuming continual improvements by more collaboration and sharing of highlights, etc.) will be worth more than the individual books. You won’t buy movies; you’ll buy cheap access and pay for personalized recommendations.”

Originally curated/published here (find additional curated quotes and links in the comments), slightly updated/edited. ]