Analog Moment

by James Cox-Morton (@th3james)

Free doesn't have to be the only way for content creators

Stratechery: Differentiation and value capture in the Internet age

Great piece from Ben Thompson about how Taylor Swift doesn't need Spotify. Her music means enough to fans that not being on Spotify isn't going to stop them seeking it out; they can’t get the same experience from other music. Fans paying for her music also creates a virtuous cycle: because they pay for it, they value and appreciate her music more, deepening the emotional connection.

In this week’s episode of the podcast, we lamented that because ustwo games had the nerve to charge $4 for the new version of Monument Valley, people were leaving 1-star reviews in the App Store. This article reminds me that ustwo are going to be just fine: they've created a product with strong differentiation. Monument Valley is brilliant, original and full of character. This isn't something you can get for free from a clone.

In some respects, this is an old lesson it can be easy to forget: Successful business remains about finding ways to compete on things other than price. The only difference is that the Internet, with its free distribution and duplication, has allowed us to reach the logical end point in the race to the bottom: Free (or 'Get').