I tried to post a comment on this to Bob’s blog but it thought I was a spammer, so I’m posting here…
I find Fred Wilson’s writing on this subject to be very persuasive. The Internet rewards models based on abundance and ubiquity (due to 0-cost distribution), not models based on scarcity.
Artists like Radiohead and Trent Reznor are pushing on these models trying to find new paths. I saw Mike Doughty play last night and he’s another great example of an artist that went through a rough period after Soul Coughing broke up and was basically saved by Napster, which let fans he didn’t even know he had find his solo work and rebuild an audience.
From my perspective, it’s a fantastic time to be a music consumer. It is easier than ever to discover and obtain new great music. This week, I downloaded or bought music from emusic, iTunes, and Amazon. I buy more music now than I ever did – I just buy it in digital form or download on a subscription basis. The record companies that see the “music industry” == “selling CDs” will die. Those that see it as a way to connect artists with ears will find new and better ways to build businesses that capitalize on Internet models.
I think there are interesting parallels in open source as well as open-source goes hand in hand with ubiquity and abundance. For platform software, I think abundance is critical to success and open source makes that possible.
At Terracotta, open sourcing the software has certainly been essential for us to grow. We are finding out about several new production customers every week that we’ve never heard of before and that is fantastic. It blows our minds every time. If enough people are using the software, some percentage of them will eventually want a license for support, indemnification, or extra tools and that is the core of our business.