With this weekend's release of the iPad, Apple has once again proved they know how to design an elegant product and market its simplicity as a virtue. However, there is one big knock against Apple when it comes to their software/hardware ecosystem, and that is enabling independent content creators to sell their product. It's ironic -- so many of us use Apple computers to design, edit, write, program, or otherwise bring our creations to life -- but when it comes time to distribute or monetize our work, Apple generally leaves us SOL. Getting an indie movie into iTunes has been notoriously tough; I've kept tabs on developments at Tunecore only to have their planned video release options disappear from their site.
Thus, Distribber: recently acquired by crowdfunding site IndieGoGo, Distribber is one of the new "minimalist middlemen" ((Not an established term, but I'm coining it!)) that focuses on helping indies get their film into iTunes, Amazon VOD, and Netflix. These three stores lack an "upload" button -- they all have walls around their paid content (you can get a podcast into iTunes, but only if it's free). Distribber steps in as your "distributor" in an attempt to get your film into each store; they make no guarantees that your film will be accepted, but they refund you if your project doesn't get in. Right now their fee is $1295, which includes a number of formatting issues and other ushering. Considering other indie distributors have charged "digitization fees" of up to $20k, Distribber's service and price point is disruptive and very enabling for filmmakers planning on going the self-distribution route, even if it's as Plan B.
Of course, it'd be nice if all three marketplaces would allow independent creators to sell their content without needing a middleman. But a non-exclusive, inexpensive middleman such as Distribber, like health care reform, is a BFD.