The other day, I found myself writing "I agree with you that we should give away content to build an audience and membership rather than thinking about making people pay for it. In the internet age, the really successful business models like Yahoo and Google have been about giving away information to build an audience and then figuring out how to capitalize on it."
Its true. A recent article in Wired discussed how Bands are using MySpace to build a following by providing content such as giving some of their music away. It is exactly the kind of thing that Lawrence Lessig talked about when he spoke of the Comedy of the Commons last year to the SDForum Distinguished Speaker Series.
For the last 500 years, ever since the invention of printing, publishers then record companies and movie studios have been controlling the market for content by controlling the means of production. In the Information Age, reproduction and distribution of content is free, and the old content publishing empires that grew fat and happy by exercising their control are going down screaming. Oh to live in such interesting times.