Delivering more of a wake-up call than a keynote speech, Jonathan Taplin today told the opening session in New York City of Digital Book World Conference + Expo 2016 that while he wishes content were king, “I am worried that platform is king.” He urged attendees to focus attention on what content creators can do to save themselves in a media world ruled by gargantuan platforms.
In an interview with CCC’s Chris Kenneally, Taplin recalled the early days of the Internet in the late 1960s, a time when he worked with Bob Dylan and the Band, as well as George Harrison and filmmaker Martin Scorcese. The rebellious spirit of the 1960s infused Stewart Brand and others to forge an online culture of decentralized control, Taplin said.
By the late 1980s, though, the counterculture philosophies gave way to what Taplin called, “the Libertarian insurgency,” driven by Ayn Rand’s rule that “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” Those views of dominance and monopolistic practices have shaped the business models of Google, Facebook, Amazon and others, charged Taplin.
Jonathan Taplin’s areas of specialization are in International Communication Management and the field of digital media entertainment. He is director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab based at the University of Southern California. Sleeping Through A Revolution will be published in Spring 2017 by Little Brown.