‘Stop worrying about piracy and give people what they want’

Yeah, the industry is far too fixated on control and not on generating great content. Kevin Spacey:

It appears that Kevin Spacey gets what so many of us have been saying for over a decade: piracy isn’t so much a problem as it is a statement of demand from users. And the way to “beat” piracy is to do a better job of offering fans what they want, in a manner they want it, at a reasonable price. Spacey recently gave a talk in Edinburgh in which he discussed the success of House of Cards, the “TV show” that he released via Netflix with all episodes coming out at once. First he discussed the ridiculous hoops that regular networks wanted them to go through, having to first film a pilot and go through the hell of “pilot season” that every network does each year, but then he made the same basic point that many of us have been making for so long.

Here’s the key part:

Clearly the success of the Netflix model, releasing the entire season of House of Cards at once, proved one thing: the audience wants the control. They want the freedom. If they want to binge… we should let them binge…. And through this new form of distribution, we have demonstrated that we have learned the lesson that the music industry didn’t learn: give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price and they’ll more likely pay for it rather than steal it. Well, some will still steal it, but I think we can take a bite out of piracy.

Ignoring the misleading use of “steal,” he’s making exactly the right point. Nothing (absolutely nothing) does away with all copyright infringement. But if you can get a huge number of people to give you money, it doesn’t matter. And the best way to get more people to give you money (and, in fact, to give you more money) is to give people more of what they want. That includes good content, but also convenience, ease of use, and reasonable pricing.