How NFTs Will Kill Netflix
The Balkanization of media will continue, until it doesn’t
As we all predicted back in the 1990s, the net has spawned new opportunities for independent creators and consumers of all sorts. Blogs, YouTube, print-on-demand, 3D printing, Etsy, eBay, 99designs, Upwork, SoundCloud, Substack, and many many other platforms give creators the ability to make things and sell (or at least distribute) them pretty directly to wide audiences, without signing a contract or getting a job with a movie studio, magazine, publisher, record company, or advertising agency.
The problem is, all this activity was subsumed by a few monopolist platforms that take way more of a share of the profits than they deserve. YouTube and Spotify aren’t much better for the typical artist than Uber and DoorDash are for the typical gig worker. But the decentralized web — that blockchain stuff — could change this. At least for a while.
The best argument I’ve heard for NFTs is that they give creators the ability to retain ownership of their creations, make money, and get credit. I don’t just mean the overpriced, speculative icons of cats or monkeys that people are betting on these days. Sure, those are a way for artists with memetic charm to make crazy money in the short-term, but they’re just a fad and most buyers are going to be hurt when that bubble pops.
The more sustainable and revolutionary aspect of all this is the way NFT technology can be used almost like a benevolent, and surveillance-free form of digital rights management for independent creators.
No, the more sustainable and revolutionary aspect of all this is the way NFT technology can be used almost like a benevolent, and surveillance-free form of digital rights management for independent creators. Most simply, an NFT unleashes a new potential for the internet to do two-way linking — where every instance of a file links back to its origin, the creator, who can be paid for the sale or use or reuse. A writer can issue a book as an NFT. A musician can release a song. And, potentially, even filmmakers can release whole movies and television shows that way, liberating themselves from the…