The ongoing digitization of the media industry has given rise to new politics, new legal issues, and new opportunities for entrepreneurial minds to solve some of the problems networked distribution creates. Most recently, S.O.P.A. (the Stop Online Piracy Act) inspired websitizens worldwide to "go dark" in protest of the legislation – and reignited the broad debate about whether or not, and to what extent, "information wants to be free" online.
The vast majority of professional artists have always been somewhere near the bottom of the "content distribution" food chain, earning royalties on their work while producers and publishers gobble up the bulk of the profits. In the past, this inequity was justified by the massive costs of publicity and distribution – but digital distribution changes the equation. Anyone can create and market their writing or music online. Still, these "content creators" are faced with the problem of discoverability – how to get noticed in the crowded online space without massive PR machines behind them.
Storiad.com offers one solution, enabling writers to put their work "out there," in front of likely buyers and agents. Comedian Louis C.K.'s approach to distributing his most recent concert video provides an unprecedented and staggeringly successful model for "going solo" as an artist. And Lynda.com demonstrates that it's possible, after all, to make a paywall pay.