Keen said that publishers should not be seduced by the new technologies but use them to build brands, and nurture the expert through live events. “The future is the expert,” he said. It was no longer about the copy, the selling of the book, Keen said, but about managing the talent. Addressing publishers, he said, “you are the nurturers of talent, and you will have to convince the creatives that you can build their brand.”
Free model advocate Mike Masnick has been pushing a similar “big business as brand builder” option for record companies:
Some musicians can try to go it alone, but for many it doesn’t make sense. These new business models still require plenty of business smarts and the ability to do marketing — and that will require experts in those areas. It’s just that the expertise needs to be in applying those skills to the new business models (using the content as promotional material and selling scarce goods), rather than the old model.
I find it interesting that the diametrically opposed Keen and Masnick and both discussing similar solutions for traditional content companies. Perhaps the middle ground of the free debate is where the fertile ideas lie.