Does Technology Offer Anyone a Big Break in Entertainment Industry?

BY Christina Bellantoni  May 24, 2013 at 11:40 AM EDT

Changes in technology have opened up new opportunities in the entertainment industry, offering platforms for the most scrappy or eclectic of musicians, filmmakers and other creative artists. That’s the argument of a new book, “The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath.”

“Today anyone can create just about any media at zero cost. … Just about any cheap laptop and video camera can produce high-quality video suitable for broadcast television. My mobile phone even captures high-definition video,” writes author Nicco Mele.

Mele, who teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, traces the beginning of this evolution to Napster, which came on the scene in June 1999 and allowed people to download music for free. He takes that line of history up through Louis CK’s online comedy to Netflix’s sudden boom in streaming television series, like the forthcoming Arrested Development. (The NewsHour will have more on that Friday night.)

In a piece for Wired Mele notes that Netflix has just surpassed cable giant HBO in number of subscribers.

The book raises the question as to whether people would rather have six mega movie studios or 800 million aspiring directors sharing their works on YouTube. “We’re not at a place where we have to choose; right now we get both,” Mele writes in a chapter titled “Big Fun.”

You can read that chapter below.

NewsHour political editor Christina Bellantoni interviewed Mele about technology’s impact on democracy. Watch that conversation:

Excerpt from Nicco Mele's "The End of Big"