What’s the unifying theme behind Apple’s diverse product offerings? I’ve finally figured it out: They want to let everyone make TV shows.

First, you take your DV camera and film the show. Then you can import it into iMovie. With the quality of DV cameras these days, you can get some really good-looking film, and certainly do a show like Arrested Development that doesn’t require much in the way of camera theatrics.

Then you can import some photos from iPhoto to do documentary-style Ken Burns effects or just have stuff to play under credit sequences.

Now you’ve got a decent-looking show, but it lacks visual punch. It lacks a score. No, problem you’ve got GarageBand. A modern-day W.G. Snuffy Walden, you can do most of the scoring by drag and dropping the typical sounds on, but for those parts that need a little more, you can hit a few notes on your keyboard and add them to the mix.

But while scores add a lot to shows, some of the most emotional moments come from the use of an old song. That’s why you’ve got the iTunes Music Store so you can easily buy those songs and drop them in. (Of course, if you were really Snuffy Walden you’d probably already have them in your library.)

You upload the show to your iDisk and tell the world with your iBlog (apparently now free with iDisk).

You make some money thru BitPass micropayments, but because your shows a real hit, you decide to milk it for all its worth (hey, all the big boys are doing it) and put out a Complete Series DVD with iDVD.

This isn’t some crazy far-off future world in some Cory Doctorow novel where the rebel forces of goodness and light topple the media empires. This is today. It’s Homestar Runner, it’s Red vs. Blue, it’s weblogs, it’s peer-to-peer. It’s a fundamentally new world where people may money off their creativity not by encrypting it as many times as they can but by giving as much away as possible.

People keep telling me copyright law is needed because people are naturally stupid and evil, and they won’t pay for things unless you make them, and no one will make anything unless they get paid. Sure looks like they were wrong.

posted January 07, 2004 10:49 PM (Technology) (4 comments) #


Nothing So Strange
Contest: What has Bush done for you?
Plea for Help
Is it moral to plead the Fifth?
Unspeakable Things
Apple’s Secret Strategy: TV for Everyone
Counterpoint: Downloading Isn’t Stealing
Cat in the Hat: Harmful to Minors?
Shorter Paul O’Neill
Jefferson: Nature Wants Information to Be Free
C-SPAN Crossfire


it’s all about the iCash… Apple’s really the prettiest rock in the pond. (And here I am rsyncing on a Powerbook)

posted by joe at January 7, 2004 11:57 PM #

Great post, Aaron.

It’s all true.

(iBlog has problems, though. I was putting together my new blog with it and have had to abandon it halfway through, as the software just stopped working and there is no tech support. It’s not an official Apple iApp, though. Maybe it’ll work once it is.)

posted by Brian Flemming at January 8, 2004 01:00 AM #

good stuff aaron - although perhaps the title “TV by Everyone” would be more accurate. What’s missing is of course an “iRate” and “iPay” infrastructure (possibly integrated) that would finally eliminate the need for corporate promotional/marketing support. And although Apple is playing a role in all of this, lets not make the mistake of allowing any one gatekeeper to control this revolution. Decentralization nation!

As the vituperative back and forth on the copyright thread demonstrates, it’s hard to convince people with religious beliefs (“the sacred rights of creators blah blah”) to consider a different approach. We may never be able to convince everyone, and the copyright cartels have no intention of giving an inch on this, so universal compulsory licensing schemes are at best many years away.

However, we can build an opt-in system focused on independent creators, who owe no allegience to the (RI|MP)AA - as you say it’s already happening. The first internet-only megahit already walks among us!

posted by Jim Carrico at January 12, 2004 01:47 PM #

Huh, it seems that Apple rocks :)

posted by Otov at February 29, 2004 01:29 PM #

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