Cultural surplus has replaced cultural scarcity. In doing so, it’s also changed the calculus of how we define our inner lives. The shelf space I once devoted to books, magazines, CDs, records, DVDs, and comics is now disk space housing commodified memories. They’re always already at the click of a mouse, reminders that the death of stuff is the death of things we could throw away.
Paywalls erode (or, their ability to gauge and adjust to price signals properly weakens) as the marginal value of the digital goods behind them decreases. The marginal value of digital good decreases when 1) too little money chases a surplus of content; or 2) other options (Netflix, Sling TV, piracy, or weak demand) become opportunities for greater value to consumers.