Shake up boo
As Interactive City comes to Glasgow, Manc guru and Factory founder, ANTHONY WILSON, argues that digital commerce is upon us and it's looking great.
It’s a strange time to be coming back to Scotland, a strange time to be doing our second north of the border e-commerce-fest, a strange time to be talking digital with the sound of boos in our ears. Everyone who sat back and scoffed at the new economy, has been looking smug recently. From Boo.com’s fall to the Nasdaq implosion, the ’we knew it was just fucking tulips’ crowd have been on a high.
In which case, there is really no better time to be doing Interactive City 2. Scotland’s own digital I revolution event is perfectly timed (Sunday It & Monday 12 June) to remind anyone with open ears and minds that the new economy is a fact and some overhyped share prices and some dumb upper class entrepreneurs shouldn’t put you off that fact. /C2 at the Corinthian is billed as the convention for e- commerce and the leisure industries; but it’s about the whole damn thing. The entertainment stuff led the way in e-commerce with the clever ones — all hail Mr Bezos and Amazon — doing fine, creating fascinating new businesses focused on the twin goals of customer experience engineering and customer relationship management.
What experience? I love books; I’m a bloody academic. I only did Joy Division and the Mondays as a wonderful exploration into the sublime qualities of
fl IF ‘ ,5
F PO P U /C2 is about and that’s why
popular art. And yet in the last twelve months, I've had more meaningful and fulfilling experiences on Amazon than in my fave shop on Manchester’s Deansgate.
Now d-commerce is upon us and that is /C2's theme. E-commerce is about delivering stuff digitally. Long time ago, the pornographers sussed it and now, it’s all a matter of size. The smallest thing people can get which they’ll pay for is a JPEG. Erotic images, IOOKB a time were small enough to make first sense of d- commerce. But the world’s modems have quickened and with the coming of MP3, another of the most desirable ’things’ in the world (songs) has come up to the starting line. A piece of music at 5MB takes about five minutes, and with the coming of Windows Media Audio this autumn, that will halve.
Increasingly, people share our belief that the incredible savings involved in d-cornmerce will make music significantly cheaper but still create revenues to keep musicians in the limousines to which they are accustomed. At the same time, our ease of access will revolutionise the entire music business. ’Barrier to entry’ is a net phrase, and the barrier at Boo was that ybu needed a triple bloody Pentium PC to get the bastard site to work.
In music, for many years now, the barrier to entry has been getting a bus into town, crossing the High Street, scouring the racks, queuing at the counter, and then getting the bus home. And only during opening times. How often have you thought of ‘that song’ at midnight? Pretty soon you’ll be able to get that song right here,
right now. O N Negroponte wrote several years ago that the old world E sold atoms; the new world will sell bits. That’s what
it applies to everyone, not
just porno merchants and music folk. Now is the time to understand and perfect all the tools needed for d- commerce (and m-commerce; take a guess) from protection of intellectual property and Digital Rights Management to micropayment questions and the future of bandwidth. And as at In The City, the proud inventors of ’the convention as entertainment’ concept, ICZ will not only deliver insight and debate; it’ll also be as much fun as you can have on a Glasgow Sunday
Got an opinion? Write to react@/ist.co.ul<
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