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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Digital Distribution

The Big Idea for Tuesday, February 07, 2012

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


  1. 1 The New Hustle: Artists in the Digital Age
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  2. 2 It's Here!
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  3. 3 For Louis CK, the Future of Content is No Laughing Matter
    Dominic Basulto Endless Innovation
  4. 4 Better Than Free: How Lynda.com Made a Pay Wall Pay
    Megan Erickson Think Tank

Digital Distribution

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