living in the age of digital singles, what of digital shorts?

Computers have transformed music production and consumption by enabling the cheap and easy manipulation of sound. Digitization took apart music culture (industry included) and put it back together again in a very new way.

Using free software, consumers took apart the pop album ushering in an era of digital singles. Using samplers, producers took apart songs and then entire genres, converting rap and funk into hip hop and then hip hop into pop. And, after a series of missteps, record companies are beginning to take apart their business models, using sites like YouTube as A&R and dabbling with such technical and pricing innovations as allowing consumers to rent songs (i.e., new forms of bundling.)

Digitization is also having a transformative effect on video production and consumption.

The primacy of the network or channel is being usurped by that of the series, thanks, in part, to the digital video recorder. The new business of distributing short video clips is having a very healthy run on YouTube. Cameras and editing software are cheap enough to come standard on portable media devices like the iPhone and iPad. And television companies are beginning to shift their weight by taking cautious first steps into digital distribution.

One outcome of this transformation is already clear: consumers have signaled that they’re open to great variety in video entertainment. Properly developed, new formats could provide video producers with new revenue regardless of what happens to existing formats.