The Problem with an iTunes for News

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

There’s an interesting paragraph in Cory Doctorow’s review of Chris Anderson’s new book Free in The Guardian, that has some relevance for those proposing an iTunes-style model for news:

Likewise, iTunes sells a lot of music that you can get for free on the internet, so they’re not really selling the music, they’re selling the service of getting the music without having to muck about with P2P software and unsure quality.
It’s not the whole story, as there’s a “reward the artist” element in play, too, but it *is *an insightful comment. The problem the news business has is that high-quality free news is *significantly *easier to find than free music, and is legal, too. Making it harder to find wouldn’t just require all the existing newspapers to push their content behind a paywall, but all the related bloggers and other community publishers, too. If that doesn’t happen, there just isn’t a compelling gap in the market for a paid approach to making news easier to find.

**Update: **There’s an interview with Anderson about his views on the future of news on Salon.


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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.