Looking Ahead a Few Years...
A famous physicist once said, "Predictions are difficult, especially about the future." Still, I've been wondering what the business side of magic will look like 5, 10, even 20 years from now. How will the publishing and sale of secrets evolve?
Obviously, technology has changed a lot of things just in the past few years. Magic DVDs are relatively young. And for better or worse, the Internet brought about online shopping, Instant Downloads, and magic e-books.
Legal downloads of full DVDs are definitely a possibility. Ellusionist and Expert Magic have experimented with it, but the files are small, and I gather that download times are relatively long. Internet2, a technology currently only available to the U.S. government and universities, could make it possible to download a full DVD in mere seconds. Compare that to the hours required with most Internet connections. Companies like L & L Publishing would be able to offer DVDs for instantaneous download from their websites. Things would be different, to say the least.
I also expect a company to come along and do for magic what Apple/ITunes did for music. Apple negotiated contracts with multiple record labels and made all of the songs they obtained available on a simple and convenient program.
A magic company might negotiate with creators and publishers to make hundreds or even thousands of secrets and instructional videos available at a consistent price. Many websites offer compilations of e-books and videos (lybrary, The Learned Pig, magic-notes.com.), but I'm talking about someone offering a volume of products that would be unprecedented. This company would most likely have to avoid the touchy ethics issues that have plagued the Instant Downloads on such sites as Penguin Magic. It's a long shot, but I think it could happen.
Although I'm not an expert in computer programming or engineering, this topic certainly sparks my interest. I'd be interested to hear from anyone about their thoughts on the subject.