Can open source content make money?

In an economics of abundance control shifts from sellers' agents to buyers' agents, with the savings going entirely to the consumers of content, and less money available to the creators. Is this inevitable?

The secret of open source, as opposed to FOSS, is that it has a business model.

But what about content?

The question is asked directly by Matt Yglesias, normally a political blogger, in discussing the recent Wired package which includes a feature on LonelyGirl15, a hit YouTube video series.

In the past, a popular television show or a popular album or a popular film or a popular distribution channel guaranteed you vast sums of money. In the future, that just may not be the case. The very most popular things will generate some income, enough to live off of and continue financing new projects, but not the sort of gigantic windfalls associated with 20th century media hits. And lots of other things -- including reasonably popular ones -- will only generate trivial levels of income.

It is this compresson of income for the creators of content which is at the heart of the pushback against open source I see every day in the comments on this blog.

I have written about the Internet since 1985, and I have seen this compression first-hand. In an economics of abundance control shifts from sellers' agents to buyers' agents, with the savings going entirely to the consumers of content, and less money available to the creators.

Is this inevitable? What does this mean for open source and Internet business models?