The Church of Content

There’s a new religion, or at least a revamped version of an old one. Content and creative and art and music and all that stuff used to belong only to the individual or to the group. Then we got patronage and wealthy individuals could commission stuff, could pay to make things and see things and own things. Business models were invented and the content was owned and monetised and distributed through official channels. The church of content was centralised, controlled, there was only one way and the big business owned it.

Well, not just the one way, there was still individualism going on, but it was quiet, local. Without the big business model, the support, it had few ways of getting out there, of reaching a larger audience. The missionaries were drowned out by the larger church and few people know there was anything else but the one way.

But the internet came along. The world wide web. The multitude of ways to distribute content in its purest form, as data, as a stream of 1’s and 0’s. And there was a schism in the church. Content could not be controlled by the big boys, but was out there, could be taken, could be changed and remixed. The new religion was born – the content is ours, all of ours. We want it when and how we want it – don’t dictate the ways, let it find its way. give us different models, not just the one way, the one scripture.

Like any religious split, the two sides cannot be reconciled. They share a single tenet of faith – content is king. But who controls, how it is controlled is the question. And both sides absolutely, immovably believe they will win the war and that the world will shift, or rebound back, to their point of view. And until a resolution is reached, or a compromise, and the paradigm shifts again, conferences and blogs and tradepapers and all that other sources of conversation will continue to host argument after argument.

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