Everybody’s favorite Hollywood punching bag, Ben Affleck has been unmasked as a kind of digital Nostradamus for our time.
Posting a 2003 interview of Affleck doing press for his Project Green Light winner, The Battle of Shaker Heights, Twitter user John Backus (@backus) noted that Affleck “perfectly” predicted “Spotify and Netflix” and that he was “almost exactly right about the unit economics of annual music subscriptions and the timing of online movie streaming.”
… wow. Ben Affleck perfectly predicting Spotify and Netflix in a random 2003 interview
Almost exactly right about the unit economics of annual music subscriptions and the timing of online movie streaming. Solid point too on how shareware (Napster) is a necessary predecessor pic.twitter.com/mpEgRPK4zL
— John Backus (@backus) July 8, 2018
Apparently, Backus had been “diving deep on the history of file sharing,” when he came upon the clip in the Internet Archive:
I've been diving deep on the history of file sharing. If you listen to early news reports about Napster, it sounds a lot like fear around blockchain today https://t.co/pggGtmdGFE
— John Backus (@backus) July 8, 2018
Folks on Twitter had mixed responses with some lauding Affleck’s intellect or prognostication abilities:
Sounds about right.
— Ahmad Childress (@AhmadChildress) July 9, 2018
My boy's wicked smat.
— KΞVIN G (@kevingaspar) July 8, 2018
He had me at “market inefficiencies”
— Kickiniteasy (@kickiniteasy) July 8, 2018
I expect nothing less from Bruce Wayne
— Stephvin Klaymond (@jetsetpete) July 8, 2018
He is a genius.
— Keri Rose (@KeriRph) July 9, 2018
You know he used to host a science show when he was a kid? The guy's pretty smart.
— Andrei Dinu (@AdvisorStartUp) July 9, 2018
Some couldn’t wait to point out that others had said the same thing at the time and to debate whether Affleck was doing anything more than parroting something he read:
His command of the relevant facts was certainly impressive. That said, he wasn't the first or only person saying this in 2003.
— Feckless Kant (@jakedimare) July 9, 2018
To be honest, John, this opinion was common currency back in 2003. Thousands of people would have made this *prediction* and Affleck had probably just read this somewhere.
— Roger Barris (@barris4congress) July 8, 2018
Yeah, but dropping some Adam Smith free market economy references goes a bit beyond parroting a nascent popular opinion he heard/read… #ImEasilyImpressed
— Bill Houle (@DarkSideGeek) July 8, 2018
The digital economy we have today would not exist without Napster. The easy sharing of mp3 files via file sharing networks like Napster (especially Napster) both popularized mp3s as a way of listening to music and forced corporate interests to figure out how to sell them.
— Derek Manuel (@gunsofchekhovia) July 8, 2018
Napster wasn't, at the time, a predictor of a then-inevitable subscription model. Shareware unlawfully gutted marketplace, eviscerating possibility of artists/songwriters getting paid fairly. That set the table for subscription models good for consumers & horrible for musicians
— Rachel Stilwell (@rachelmstilwell) July 8, 2018
But…Gigli. (Also 2003.) pic.twitter.com/oUvavYp2JL
— Brian Banks (@BrianBanks) July 8, 2018
Even citing a celebrity who pre-dated Affleck in those conclusions—non other than Rocker/Actress Courtney Love.
About three years before this, @Courtney wrote “Courtney Love does the math” for Salon. her take on record label profits, Napster, and VCs. Incisive, angry, authortitative. Some artists take the business side seriously. https://t.co/y7X5mIWBlr
— Phil Wolff 马爱狼 (@evanwolf) July 8, 2018
Not quite five years later, in 2007 Netflix announced it would begin streaming content to computers. Spotify, launched just a year later (in 2008)— exactly as Affleck predicted.
How bout them apples!
— john h short (@johnhshort) July 8, 2018