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The Utility of Disappearing Media

One of the problems of both the physical and non-physical media economies has to do with proof of participation. You can support an artist by buying their DVD or download, but those items can also just sit on your shelves or hard drives, unwatched. Sure, the artist gets some coin but not the word-of-mouth that comes from your spreading the gospel about their work.

One publisher tackled this problem in the world of literature by creating The Book that Can’t Wait, an anthology for new authors that literally erases itself if it hasn’t been read in 60 days. Combating the “I own it, I’ll read it later” mentality, the book is an art object that playfully incentivizes readers to actually read — and thus create a word-of-mouth base to support the authors on their next book.

Obviously, filmmakers can easily work with limited viewing windows and one-time-only screenings, but what other ways can we make the discovering new work fun and artful? (Hat tip: Text of Light.)

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