BusinessWeek has an interesting article on how Cheap Photo Sites Pit Amateurs vs. Pros.
The article is interesting for alot of reasons, but one reason in particular for me is this: it is a good example of the long tail in action, with thousands of suppliers of photographs, and aggregators (like flickr) bringing it all together. Professional photographers can complain about this, but it will be in vain, at least in the short term.
I see this spreading to other things as well. I see music next. With sites like MySpace, last.fm and others, the barriers to entry for musicians will become lower and lower, and over time people will listen to a wider variety of artists as greater socialization of music occurs. Eventually it will even happen for books and other forms of writing, although you could argue it has already happened with the proliferation of blogs. Anyone publishing any media now is going to be overwhelmed by the tidal wave of vast amount of new material being created.
At the blog gapingvoid, the author talks in one posting about “Cheap. Easy. Global. Media.” The combination of digitization of material and social
computing technology will make it dead simple for people to create, publish,
and share their work with others. And soon it won’t be just media. Anything that can be digitized is open for this to happen.
The world is becoming open source. Soon it will be open source hardware. Then chemistry. Then biology.