The rise of the information middle-man

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Remember the claims of the friction-less economy -- that the internet and other advanced information and communications technology would make information flow smoothly with easy access. No need for the middleman. Turns out that the ICT-enabled increase in information has brought about its own friction. A case in point is highlighted in an article in today's New York Times - The Death of the Slush Pile
It wasn't supposed to be this way. The Web was supposed to be a great democratizer of media. Anyone with a Flip and Final Cut Pro could be a filmmaker; anyone with a blog a memoirist. But rather than empowering unknown artists, the Web is often considered by talent-seeking executives to be an unnavigable morass.
As a result, publishers and producers are doing away with the age-old tradition of open submissions -- which end up in the so-called slush pile. Because of the volume, many publishers will only accept manuscripts from agents. As a result, agents have strengthened their position as gatekeepers. In the age of information overload, the power of the information middleman increases.

This begs the question however: how will agents sort through the mountains of possible books and movies? Could it be that the slush pile has not died but has been transferred to the agents? After all, there is still a lot of money to be made in finding the next Harry Potter.

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