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Crowdsourcing Mornings: Chokepoint Capitalism: An Audiobook Amazon Won’t Sell


Welcome to the Crowdsourcing Mornings segment!  Every weekday morning, Geek Alabama talks about and features one crowdsourcing project from crowdsourcing sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and others.  The hope with Crowdsourcing Mornings is to feature and help a project be successful and reach its fundraising goal.  Please enjoy today’s featured project!

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Chokepoint Capitalism is a book about the  tricks Big Tech and Big Content use to capture creative labor markets,  and how we can take them back and get artists paid.

We had to write it, because creative labor markets are borked.

Google rules search, Facebook rules social media, and together they control nearly all the internet advertising wrapped around online media – power they’ve used to extract megaprofits that explain why the number of journalists has plummeted. Via YouTube, Google has captured the video streaming market, and (with Apple) the market for cell phone software, including video games.

Spotify dominates music streaming. Three companies control music recordings and music publishing. The ‘Big 6’ trade publishers became the Big 5 when Penguin glommed together with Random House, and that behemoth is fighting to make it the Big 4 by swallowing Simon & Schuster as well. Amazon controls the online market for a growing number of consumer goods: starting with books, then taking over ebooks, and now, via Audible, audiobooks too.

Audible has a hard and fast rule: if you’re a publisher or writer who wants to sell your audiobook on Audible, you have to let it be wrapped in “Digital Rights Management,” aka DRM: digital locks that permanently bind your work to the Audible platform. If a reader decides to leave Audible, DRM stops them taking the books they’ve already bought with them. Publishers and writers can stop selling their books on Audible, but their readers are unlikely to follow them to another platform – not if that means giving up their expensively-acquired libraries. Every time Audible sells a book, DRM gives it a little bit more power to shake down authors and publishers. Amazon uses that stolen margin to eliminate competition and lock-in more users, ultimately giving it even more power over the people who actually make and produce books.

Our new book Chokepoint Capitalism: How Big Tech and Big Content Captured Creative Labor Markets and How We’ll Win Them Back is about traps like the one Audible lays for writers and readers. We show how Big Tech and Big Content erect chokepoints between creators and audiences, allowing them to lock in artists and producers, eliminate competition, and extract far more than their fair share of revenues from creative labour.  No way are we going to let Audible put its locks on our audiobook.

So we’re kickstarting it instead.

As of August 18th, this project has raised $50,000 of their $10,000 goal. This project has 28 days left to raise as much as it can.  For a pledge of $10, you will get one eBook.  For a pledge of $27, you will get one book.  To learn more and to pledge money, go to:

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