Spotify’s founder, Daniel Ek, recently labeled the music industry’s issues as the result of a ‘great product; not a great business model’. The same could be (and has been) said for newspaper publishers. Like the music industry, they have a great product; but haven’t adapted their business model to meet a new technology- driven environment.
As an outsider it has looked like a slow motion train crash…one that could have been avoided if these behemoths of both industries had the ability to embrace change. I know this is much easier said than done. This point is ultimately proven by the fact that it’s been nimble, adaptable start-ups – HuffPo, Spofity etc – that have been leading the change; whilst traditional businesses (record companies, newspapers etc) have dug their heads further into the sand– believing to start with that the internet was just a trend and more recently their anachronistic move to introduce paywalls on their sites or remove their content from free sites like Spotify (hello, Taylor Swift).
Here’s the point – as, Ek also points out – you can’t beat technology because technology always wins.
That’s what traditional publishers haven’t really realised– their solutions are focused on ‘beating technology’ (ie. paywalls, limiting free content, removing content). They’re using the way they’ve always thought – focused on control, and ownership – to defeat an entirely new beast. One that didn’t exist when their business models were created. I think Einstein sums it up best ‘you can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it’. Word!
image source/ credit: The Oatmeal