Distribution channels are still a valuable necessity in a lot of industries. But in many industries, they are truly under attack.
We're seeing opportunity after opportunity where value will flow from the content creators and thought leaders without the participation of a distribution channel in the classic sense. Whether it is writer, artist, musician, reviewer, subject matter expert or other, the Internet is enabling the flow from its source to a multitude of destinations without restriction. More importantly, value is flowing too.
An example of this is BrightHub. BrightHub aims to enable product reviewers to participate in the economic impact of their articles. Consider for example, that a product reviewer may have established a large following and be a trusted source. What is the fair economic value for a truthful, positive review that drives product sales? Who receives that value?
Heretofore, a magazine might pay the reviewer a small portion of the true economics to the reviewer and leverage the resulting impact to drive ad sales. Good for you if you're the magazine. Bad for you if you're the reviewer. So in the BrightHub model, the reviewer benefits from the value of their own brand and participates in the industry created by their work. I only point to them as a suitable example.
They're are, in fact, many great examples of the content creators disaggregating the distribution channels that have long retained economic value by restricting the conduit and leveraging the resultant scarcity.
We live in a great time but it isn't going to be great for everybody.