Freemium's just another word for nothing left to lose

Joe Mandese

With Apologies to Kris Kristofferson and Janis Joplin, there is something eerily prophetic about the lyrics to their 1970s hit, Me and Bobby McGee. But you need to modify the word 'freedom 'to 'freemium'. Free, if you hadn't heard, is the latest twist in the media economy.

Chris Anderson, in his book Free: The Future of a Radical Price, makes the case that information is destined to be free, and that any business that relies on information – say, media – must figure out how to get along with a business model that is based on free. Sound like an oxymoron? Well, it is and it isn't.

Anderson, who also wrote the influential The Long Tail, doesn't literally mean that media owners will have to give their content away for nothing – rather, they will need to find new ways of making money from consumers who have come to expect to get it for free.