My latest Locus column, "Close Enough for Rock 'n' Roll," discusses the way that the net makes it possible to do something almost as good as its offline equivalent for a fraction of the cost, and how that changes everything:
In other words, rock 'n' roll is cheap, experimental and fluid, and devotes most of its energy into the production of music. Orchestral music is expensive, formal and majestic, but tithes a large portion of its effort to coordination and overheads and maintenance.
If the Internet has a motif, it is rock 'n' roll's Protestant Reformation thrashing against the orchestral One Church. Rock 'n' roll gets lots of wee kirks built in every hill and dale in which parishioners can find religion in their own ways; choral music erects majestic cathedrals that humble and amaze, but take three generations of laborers to build.
The interesting bit isn't what it costs to replicate some big, pre-Internet business or project.
The interesting bit is what it costs to do something half as well as some big, pre-Internet business or project.
(Image: Rock-n-Roll Adventure Kids, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from Invisible Hour's photostream)