Each of these forms of information can be easily digitized — if they are not already — and transferred over a standard network connection.
By opting for digital distribution, an artist can get their work into the public sphere of interest easily with potentially minimum business overheads. This often leads to cheaper goods for the consumer and increased profits for the artists, as well as increased artistic freedom.
Digital distribution also opens the door to new business models. For instance, an artist could release one track from an album or one chapter from a book at a time instead of waiting for them all to be completed. This either gives them a cash boost to help continue or warns that their work is not financially viable before they have sunk excessive money and time into it. Videogames have increased flexibility in this area, demonstrated by micropayment models such as the one in Gunbound. A clear result of these new models is their accessibility to smaller artists or artist teams who do not have the time, funds, or expertise to make a new product in one go.
An example of this can be found in the music industry. Indie artists are for the first time able to access the same distribution channels as major record labels, with none of the restrictive practices or inflated manufacturing costs; there are a growing collection of 'internet labels' that offer distribution to unsigned or independent artists directly to online music stores, and in some cases marketing and promotion services.
This can greatly cut down on the cost of maintaining back catalogs, whether it is running an actual storage facility(warehouse, file cabinet) or preserving the product(humidity control, security system). Publisher and Developers can cheaply and safely maintain a complete back catalog of products, as well as having them purchasable even when a physical copy is no longer available.
The loss of advertising is another issue that stems from the dropping of publishers, one that does not yet have a genuine solution. Videogame theorists have come closest by suggesting a model where trial versions are offered for free and ‘unlocked’ for a price once the hook has been made – the game effectively advertises itself. However, this still does not solve the issue of attracting consumers in the first place.
Although it is effective at preventing casual piracy, few if any DRM solutions have prevented all unauthorized copying, either because they are broken into by crackers or because the media allows them to be circumvented, for instance by re-recording audio to another computer. This makes its use in traditional media on store shelves resented by the consumer. Perhaps due to this there recently has been a gradual shift away from using DRM to punishing thieves towards rewarding customers, with digital distribution's new business models playing a part.
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