Brands and media owners should appreciate the scarcity of attention to understand the digital threats to their businesses, according to Tarzan Economics Author and former Spotify Chief Economist, Will Page. 

Page, who was speaking at MAD//Fest London, said that the experience of the music industry and rise of music streaming services is a good example of how attention has the ability to redefine the economics and complexion of an industry.

“Thanks to COVID, we’re all staring at a Napster moment. Scarcity of attention is doing two big things in music. Songs are getting shorter and choruses are being moved to the front. There’s economics to this. You only get paid on streaming if your song is played for more than 30 seconds. You don’t get paid more for songs lasting any longer than 30 seconds.

The same battle for attention is being fought across the media and entertainment spectrum with the rise of ‘attention monopolies’ such as Netflix.

If attention is scarce, we need to identify our friends and foes in attention wars...The more we get used to Netflix, the less we get used to commercial breaks,” he said.

“Some people win, other people lose. In the case of Netflix, if Netflix wins, everyone else loses as it monopolises time.”

Over 8,000 people attended MAD//Fest on 7-8 July in-person and via the virtual platform. Speakers included KFC CMO Jack Hinchliffe, S4 Capital Executive Chairman Sir Martin Sorrell and Resi Founder Alex Depledge MBE. Full sessions are available now on our YouTube channel.