Blake Smith

create. code. learn.


speaking directly to your users

Today, Paulo Coelho announced that he would be promoting his work on The Pirate Bay.

From his blog:

As soon as I learned about it, I decided to participate. Several of my books are there (The Pirate Bay), and as I said in a previous post, My thoughts on SOPA, the physical sales of my books are growing since my readers post them in P2P sites.

We’re going to see artists doing this kind of thing more and more. The MPAA/RIAA have been fighting against technology precisely because these shifts in media have been underway for a long time, and the end-state of that shift does not bode well for them. When a large incumbent feels threatened by the winds of change, and are unwilling to adapt, there’s going to be gnashing of teeth and attempts to crush the little guy.

More precisely, we’re witnessing artists reclaiming what was always theirs in the first place: the right to engage directly with their audiences. When the world is flat, and the means of spreading ideas is open to everyone, what value can the MPAA/RIAA offer in their current form? With Paul Graham inciting battle cries to “Kill Hollywood”, and the internet in a collective uproar protesting SOPA/PIPA, it’s becoming clear that the big guys are on their way out.

What Paulo Coelho is doing is speaking directly to his fans. He’s saying he’s on the same side as his people, not the monstrously evil media conglomerates. It’s a smart move. The more technology enables artists to engage directly with their fans, the better off we’ll all be. So much disruption in today’s tech scene is about allowing consumers to get straight to what they need without all the middle men standing in their way (see AirBnB, Etsy, Square).

This is why I love the internet. Because it levels the playing field and lets anyone engage directly with others. It’s about connection; because that’s what people want. You might want to reevaluate your work if you’re not willing to give that (I’m looking at you, Hollywood).

about the author

Blake Smith is a Principal Software Engineer at Sprout Social.