Friday, September 24, 2010

Always remember a company's interests may not be your own

When you're trying to predict how a company will react to something, it's always important to remember who a company's interests lie. made this clear in a post entitled "Why MySpace Hates Musicians.

But MySpace loves musicians, you say. They offer all this cool stuff and want musicians to flock to the site.

Think again.

The social network has nothing to do with helping people connect to their friends or helping musicians reach out to their fans; it’s owned by a corporation and we’re their product—the audience. The customer is the other companies that want to place their pixelated banner ads in front of our eyeballs.

What does this mean for musicians?

For musicians, that means that it doesn’t matter if they are green and don’t eat meat—MySpace has all the right to sell your fans the products of the very companies that are burning the world down and inform them of the best place to buy rib eye steaks if they see fit. It doesn’t really matter.

After noting that the musicians are there solely to attract advertiser revenue, Hypebot says that MySpace is even worse than radio:

On radio, the customers are still the advertisers, but the reward for getting played is that you get access to their wide-audience. On MySpace, you bring your own audience into the equation and don’t even get the braagging rights of a hit single.

Kinda like the bars that require bands to bring a certain number of fans in order to be allowed to perform. I know of one band who didn't bring enough fans, and its set was cut short to make way for a Van Halen cover band.

Oh, and as long as we're talking about companies who are not your friends, see what yelvington says about Apple and other companies:

Apple fanbois need to understand this. Apple is not your friend. Google fanbois need to understand this: Google is not your friend. Microsoft is not your friend. And so on....

Steve Jobs may be a megalomaniac, but don't blame it on him, because this isn't his fault. This is how corporations work. It's fundamental.

A corporation is a legal "person" with many of the rights that you and I have, but having no conscience and operating only for its own benefit. If a human being acted like a corporation, we'd lock him or her up in a prison or mental institution as a psychopath. It has no care for others. Its only imperative is self-interest (to deliver profits to shareholders) and it will destroy others in its path in its relentless drive to get bigger and richer.

And that is certainly true. If a corporation doesn't maximize profit by gouging poor people and laying off half its workforce, it could be subject to a shareholder lawsuit.

To keep the shareholders at bay, corporations like Apple have to protect their interests.

Did you see Newsday's wonderfully funny commercial for its iPad app? It gushes about how "the new Newsday app is better than the newspaper in all kinds of ways" ... except for one, as the dad in the video smashes the iPad by trying to swat a fly.

It was all over the Internet for a day or so. Then, according to Network World, Newsday received a letter from Apple's lawyers threatening to pull "all of our apps" from the iTunes marketplace.

Fun's over. Abuse of power? Evil corporation? It's in their nature. Doesn't make any difference whether the corporation is Apple, Google, the cellphone companies, or even BP. They are not your friend.
blog comments powered by Disqus