Bigger Than Gutenberg And His Printing Press

I am very evangelical about the transformative power of iTunes. I tell everyone I meet about the “good news” of Apple. I stop strangers and ask them if they have let Steve Jobs into their hearts

But more than anything I believe we are in the very earliest days of a massive transformative revolution on par with such technological breakthroughs at the invention of the automobile, the printing press and vaccines!

I truly believe – with all the fiery passion of a Pentecostal speaking in tongues – that iTunes and the iPhone/iPad are going to totally revolutionize how information is created, bought and sold.

Whenever I look at journalists trying to figure out how to use iTunes and the Internet to augment their traditional brick and mortar businesses…I can’t help but think of stagecoaches trying to advertise on Ford Model T’s as a way to “drive consumers” to their businesses.

“If we just put signs on the door panels of these new fangled automobiles that will get our brand recognition out there! We can use these cars to help get more people into stagecoaches!”

Looking back from the vantage point of 2010 we can clearly see how misguided the CEO’s of the stagecoach companies were at that time. They had gone extinct…but their bodies hadn’t hit the floor yet.

The automobiles drove (no pun intended) stagecoaches out of business. The new technology utterly replaced the old and no amount of co-opting of the new tech by the old tech users prevented that.

Just like Gutenberg and his printing press drove the monks out of the business of making Bibles.

Brother Francis. This new printing press is cranking out Bibles 100 times faster and cheaper than we can handwrite and illustrate a single volume of our Illuminated Bibles. But I have an idea that will keep us in business! Maybe if we included advertisements for our services in with these new Guttenberg Bibles…that will drive more traffic to our monasteries and we can increase sales?”

Again, we can look back hundreds of years in the past and clearly see that the days of monks hunched over writing tables with quills was finished with the invention of this new technology.

Look at vaccines! The companies making leg braces looked at the invention of the polio vaccine and thought, “Hey! How can we use this cure for polio to increase sales of our corrective leg braces?”

Okay…that last joke was weak and didn’t have any legs (get it?) BUT all these examples demonstrate that the once a technology is revolutionary enough it utterly destroys the old technology.

Journalists and other print media are looking at iTunes and the digital distribution revolution and thinking the exact same thing the monks and stagecoach operators thought…they are thinking that they can just coexist with this new technology and continue on exactly as before.

iTunes largely killed off record stores.


Because it provided an entirely new distribution model. It was no longer necessary to go to a record store so people didn’t.

Netflix largely killed off all the video stores.


Because it provided an entirely new distribution model. It was no longer necessary to go to Blockbuster (and deal with their bullshit late fees too!)

PRINT media (comic books, magazines, newspapers, novels, etc) is poised to make the same digitized evolution that music made in 2001. Once print media can be bought and downloaded on iTunes – once an entirely new distribution model is created -- will Barnes and Noble survive?

More important that distribution will be creation. Look at how easy it is for musicians to put their music on iTunes and sell it directly to the public! No longer do we have payola or crooked record executives. Okay, yeah, we do still have that….but much, much less than what it was in 1970 and getting weaker by the day!

The stories of crooked record executives are legendary….but the PUBLISHING HOUSES are almost as bad.

Once print media becomes routinely digitized and routinely distributed through iTunes (or something similar) then what use will Publishing Houses be? No longer will freelance writers “need” Publishers to distribute their work. Once it becomes as easy to upload a novel to iTunes as it is a podcast….who the hell is going to need Random House?

Right now the reason print media isn’t routinely “sold” on the Internet is because there is no online store. Once iTunes digitizes most print media and puts it for sale….then it will be easy for anyone to upload their work and sell it!

Imagine being a young comic book artist/writer….in 2008 you would basically NEED to get a job at a publisher like Marvel or DC in order to sell your work. But what if you could upload you digital comic to iTunes and sell it to people directly for $1.99??? 

niceguyinhell niceguyinhell
31-35, M
1 Response Feb 12, 2010

I think the problem with music (in the recent past anyway) is a LACK of technology. We had a period of time when the "executives" controlled everything because they controlled the means of production and distribution. if you wanted to have an album recorded, played on the radio and sold at Wal-mart you HAD to do exactly what they told you do creatively. And as we all know the suits aren't very creatives and aren't willing to take risks.<br />
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But with the advent of iTunes and new technology musicians and writers and artists no longer have to obey the suits who own all the equipment.<br />
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THIS will allow for more creativity and experimentation!<br />
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In the 1960's most music producers where young hippies and were willing to experiment and take risks. In the 1990's the music industry was a business and tolerate no risk.<br />
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In 2010 there are no "suits" standing between the artists and the audiences.<br />
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Look at YouTube. 99 percent of the most popular **** on YouTube is crap that would NEVER be allowed on CBS or even HBO because the suits would never allow it. Not profitable. But now that people can take their "art" directly to the people....viola! <br />
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We're going to see an explosion in creativity and innovation over the next 10 years just because technology has empowered the artists and basically killed off the "suits" who stifiled creativity.