Formula to making money as an Artist on the Net
The formula to profit on the net is this:
1) More access to content = more fans
2) More fans = more true fans
3) More true fans = more money
The internet is the Economics of Abundance. Whereas in the 20th century, content was a scarcity (as a child I played through the same Nintendo games over and over again), Today on the internet there is overwhelming content & overwhelming copies (people have huuuuge backlogs), which means My Time becomes the scarcity, not the content nor the copies. See Attention Economy. John Perry Barlow, founder of eff.org states that the internet is monetized through ‘Attention’ or ‘Familiarity’.
This is how it works:
The spreading of your copies BUYS people’s Attention.
The more your work is freely available, the more attention you’ve bought, therefore the more true fans you will generate, therefore the more money you will make from true fans gobbling up your shit.
Your own fans sharing those purchases has now become your single BEST asset to establishing even more relationships with fans. They have become your co-conspirators, your vehicle of advertisement. When they copy you, they evangelize you. And that is the best thing that can happen to you as an artist on the net because access to content brews fans, fans brew true fans, and true fans will pay you to make more of your work… Why do they do this? They certainly don’t pay because they Have to pay you… rather… they pay you because they WANT to pay you. They want to exchange their money for more of your work to get made.
The Economics of Scarcity and the business models of the 20th century is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT on the internet. In fact it is extremely counter-productive knowledge, it is worthless knowledge, and it now works to hinder us from making money in an environment THAT-IS-NOT-THE-SAME-AS-THE-PHYSICAL-WORLD! The faster you scrap them the faster you will reach life-sustaining profit.
Neil Gaiman (a prestigious author) explains it the best: