Meet the new boss… same as the old boss

Just got back from Tokyo tonight, and am blogging my way through some nasty jet lag.  One of the benefits I find of the hurly-whirly spin cycle known as business travel to Asia is the opportunity to pick up morsels here and there of what’s going on outside the normal bubble of my life.  Jet-lagged at 3am in Tokyo, I can read an entire newspaper’s editorial page, for example.  I also caught up on TechCrunch, etc.

Anyway, I saw a few data points or patterns that I’m matching now.  Rupert Murdoch this week wrote a fine piece on the future of newspapers and journalism here.  Basically his point: the journalism business can thrive in the new media era; stop whining.  Around the same time, I saw this TechCrunch article talking about the top 10 “viral” videos of 2009.  The thrust of this article: most of the most “viral” videos are in fact, heavily produced music videos from A-list stars.

What these two examples argue, together, is thatmainstream media is figuring out and getting its control over the internet.  Arguments that there was going to be this atomization of content, that we were in a “Long Tail” world are all fine and good, but at the end of the day, the big media dogs are going to keep pulling the sled.  My view–some of the less hard core business people in media are and will remain screwed.  The NYT, for example, is I think in a death spiral.  Others, the WSJ is the best example, with Murdoch’s leadership is going to enter a golden age, where it lets othe leaders get crushed by a wave for freedom, while he continues to unapologetically move for profit, growth and marketshare.

Smae thing with msuic–we’re not seeing the end of big-name acts in favor of millions of little ones.  No, I think the A-list artists will be that much more prominent and dominating culturally.  There will still be a number of long tail acts, but the ones in the middle will totally get crushed.

The rich will get richer in the media world.

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