The money lurking in Twitter

While we like to pit old media against the Web, the reality is that old media can become much more efficient using new media tools like Twitter.

Just when I get consumed by the "destruction" in Schumpeter's "creative destruction," I stumble across something like this note from a new indie band on Dave Kusek's "Future of Music" blog:

TOTAL MADE THIS MONTH USING TWITTER = $19,000 TOTAL MADE FROM 30,000 RECORD SALES = ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

In part, this is a testament to the power of Twitter, but it's primarily an example of how new technology can upgrade old business models, as Kusek points out.

These new tools, such as Twitter, will help the entire music business scale much, much better. Very popular musicians such as Radiohead will still make a lot of money. But relatively unknown artists, by promoting their work and selling stuff directly to the fans, using free or inexpensive online tools, will be able to make a better living than they do right now. The future might not be very bright for the big record companies, but it is indeed bright for the artists.

It's not about a wholesale replacement of the old world with the new. It's about making the old world more efficient through the Web.

Yes, some businesses will absolutely get bulldozed by the power of the Web. But not most. At least, not yet.

For example, Jason Hiner is likely right to suggest that Microsoft's enterprise dominance is unlikely to wilt in the face of Google in the near term, though I continue to believe Google has the upper hand in the long run.

This is particularly true when you track the executive departures from Microsoft to more agile competitors like eBay (Yes, even eBay is more agile than Microsoft), Google, Facebook, etc. Steve Ballmer was quick to call the death of offline media, but has been slow to move Microsoft to an online existence.

Regardless, there's still plenty of time for software companies and record labels to adapt to the power and potential of the Web. But the transition must start now.


Follow me on Twitter @mjasay.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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