Digital Content Distribution With P2P: Prodigem Marketplace
Last night, I have had the pleasure to talk again live with Gary Lerhaupt, a young Stanford graduate student and entrepreneurial geek who has been making available some interesting technology/service for the distribution of large audio-video files online.
Photo credit: Katie Bianchin
His service called Prodigem, allows any non-technical person to upload one or multiple large files, and start benefiting immediately from the distributed delivery benefits that Prodigem enables by employing in a completely automated and transparent way the BitTorrent protocol.
While I have covered Prodigem and its traits immediately after its initial launch a few months ago, I have decided to come back to Gary as he has just added a new interesting service called Prodigem Marketplace. What the new service allows is in essence an online distribution service for very large files (can be a 1 GB or more), like a full digital music album in very high quality recording, or a full-feature DVD-quality movie, that can enable independent producers and artists to sell and deliver their content online in an efficient and DRM-free way.
Prodigem Marketplace is the tip of the iceberg of what we will be seeing happen to the radical transformation of the movie production and distribution system. But again, the new opportunity and economies of scale are available not only to buddying filmmakers but also to musicians and bands facing the limitations and costs of distributing their work only on physical CD/DVDs.
In this perfect win-win partnership, Prodigem Marketplace plays the role of the cashier and distributor, while the producer/artist needs not to be concerned with nothing else but producing excellent content. A 10% commission on any sale made through Prodigem Marketplace allows therefore any producer / musician to put up content for distribution right now at absolutely no cost.
This looks like one of the many smart ways of using P2P technologies, and providing the means to the ever growing number of independent artists out there to start seriously competing in the only area where Hollywood and the music majors still held a control monopoly: delivery and distribution.
But as more services and technologies supporting services like Prodigem Marketplace will spring up, the independent artist will be able to compete, in terms of potential revenue to be made over real costs with any artificially selected star of the music and entertainment marketplace as we know it today. Independent artists can now compete with the traditional entertainment system on all fronts:
a) Production - digital recording technologies offer to both the musician and would-be filmmaker enormous possibilities to produce, edit and master at costs that are within a 5-figure number.
b) Promotion - though still very few have grasped the methodologies and approaches to leverage the web, blogs, and the power of online communities to promote their talent, all of the tools and technologies required for this are in place, and it is only a matter for the artists and producers to learn the skill of the effective new media communicators.
c) Distribution - CDBaby, Magnatune, Ourmedia, Prodigem Marketplace and many others, are the new emerging delivery and distribution channels with extremely cost-effective distribution and delivery approaches.
What perfectly complements the above is the need for new players to enter the market and to start aggregating and facilitating access to the avalanche of new rich-media content that will soon become available next to what is produced by Hollywood and by the traditional indie groups.
While for books and music we already have the initial examples of Amazon, iTunes, Rhapsody and other catalogs, we will have to wait to see who will be first to become the Amazon of movies. What is needed the most in fact, as distribution and delivery become accessible to everyone connected to broadband is the ability to have multiple clearinghouses of all movies, of all times. Commercial and not. Documentaries and TV shows. All accessible and downloadable via the most efficient technologies available. The business is in aggregating all such content and making it extremely easy to find and discover in it what you may like the most.
The challenge is open.
Listen to this 26' conversation with Gary Lerhaupt which explains the Prodigem service, BitTorrent, the new Marketplace addition and the opportunities for musicians and film-makers.
(Just press the play button, and after a few seconds you will start hearing my voice).
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