Is The Fan Who Buys A Product He Wants A Big Dope?

from the uh,-no dept

When we talk about the various new business models that work well for content creators, one of the complaints that some of our regular critics have pointed out is that if most of the people are getting the content for free, and only a small group of superfans are paying, aren't those who pay getting "ripped off" somehow -- leading to them eventually jumping on the free-rider bandwagon and leaving no one to pay? Reader JJ sent over a well-articulated version of this argument by a self-described cynical musician in a Polish hard rock band. He describes this as: The Hunt For The Big Dope.

Tragically, this is a total misunderstanding of the economic arguments people make. In fact, it's a gross distortion of the argument to make it easy to dismiss, rather than taking the time to understand it. In fact, what we're really arguing is the opposite of finding the big dope. It's about using content to create fewer dopes, replacing them with people who are willingly buying something of value that they actually want. It's the old system that was focused on getting big dopes to pay for things they didn't need or want. The new business models that we talk about -- focused on giving people a reason to buy -- are about just that: offering scarce value, above and beyond the content, that is worth buying -- and that helps fund the content creation. There's no big dope in this scenario, because the people who are buying get a lot more than just the content, and they're thrilled with the transaction. Everyone comes out of the transaction better off.

If you believe in the "big dope" theory put forth by this guy, then anyone who buys a car is a "big dope," because they're financing all of those commercials, which they get to see on TV without paying for them. The percentage of people who buy a car that they saw in a TV commercial compared to the number of people who actually see the commercial is a tiny, tiny number. But does that make those buyers "big dopes?" Of course not. They got something they wanted (a car). Yes, that's a more extreme example, but when you recognize that the content is acting as an advertisement for the bigger reasons to buy, making them more valuable, the analogy fits perfectly. A large percentage of people will never buy products they find out about via an advertisement. But some do. And if enough do, and the product they're driven to buy is scarce and valuable enough, the company makes money. Same thing for content creators.

They're not looking for "big dopes." They're looking for people who want to make an informed decision, in which they get something of additional scarce value, well beyond the content. That sure beats the old system, which appeared to be focused on hiding the content to force a bunch of dopes to pay without knowing what they'd get -- leading them to be disappointed all too often. No offense to this particular musician, but I'd rather have the system I describe, with no dopes at all, than the old one he appears to pine for, in which all your fans are considered dopes.


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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 26th, 2010 @ 8:06pm

    That is the best analogy I think I've heard. The only argument I can think of against is that musicians want to make the commercials in your example, not the car. So the model requires commercializing the music into sellable goods while giving away what they really want to do.

    Essentially, in the analogy, musicians are an ad agency with nothing to sell.

     

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    Jamie Y, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 8:07pm

    I'm a demonstration of this.

    There is an artist that has released their tracks for free various places on the internet. I found out about them, and proceeded to track down and download all of their tracks. When they made available for pre-order a limited edition of their new album in cassette form with an accompanying booklet of artwork, I eagerly paid for it despite knowledge that I'd soon be able to easily find it for download online. Why? a) They've taken the time to respond to messages I've sent them, b) They're independent and I know they'll be getting most of the profits, and c) I'm getting something pretty unique.

     

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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 26th, 2010 @ 8:10pm

    Re:

    And just to be the loser who answers his own question, because now I've thought about it for another minute ...

    The musicians are selling themselves.

     

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    Lebowski, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 8:13pm

    Good hash!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 9:08pm

    “one of the complaints that some of our regular critics have pointed out is that if most of the people are getting the content for free, and only a small group of superfans are paying, aren't those who pay getting "ripped off" somehow”

    So that must mean that if I give to charity I must be getting ripped off somehow. Great argument. Now charitable people are dopes.

     

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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 26th, 2010 @ 9:12pm

    Re:

    And what about people who pay $100+ for a dinner when they can eat at McDonald's for $5, which is practically free. Those people are HUGE dopes.

    Or people who buy CDs and MP3s ... I can get that for free from the radio or BitTorrent sites. Those people are the biggest dopes of them all.

     

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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 26th, 2010 @ 10:16pm

    Let's see, who else are "big dopes" ...

    People that buy hardcover books instead of checking them out for free from the library ... big dopes.

    People that go to see movies in theaters instead of watching them at home when it airs for free on television ... big dopes.

    People that buy CDs instead of listening to music for free on the radio ... big dopes.

    People that watch TV and then go out and buy anything advertised during it ... big dopes.

    People that buy newspapers instead of reading free newspapers or watching the news on TV for free ... big dopes.

    A lotta big dopes in the world.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 10:26pm

    Re: Re:

    if you pay $100 for a dinner, you aren't a dope. but if you buy a burger for $100, when the exact same thing is available for $5, then you certainly are a dope.

    the earlier system wanted to sell $5 burgers to as many as possible. but since people are getting burgers for free everywhere, the new system is looking for a handful of dopes willing to shell out 100 quid -- it's called connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy :)

     

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    Michael Lockyear (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 12:58am

    Re:

    ...because actually paying for music is like supporting a charity...

     

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    Mario, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 2:16am

    Re: Re:

    Yup! This is how it has been for all times except the last hundred years and this is how it will be again. Do we have to go through the whole virtual goods and what the record labels are selling discussion again?

    You want some better control over what you produce? Start producing, or at least dealing in, physical goods and stop moaning. Even then, you won't be guaranteed a profit in a free market. But IP maximalists are fundamentally against free markets anyway, so I suppose that argument is wasted on you.

     

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    Richard (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 2:22am

    The real big dopes

    "aren't those who pay getting "ripped off" somehow "

    No no no no no!

    The real big dopes are the people who get everything for free - because in the long term their musical taste will disappear from the culture.

    When you pay the most important thing you get is a say in the future direction of music. This is the real big (elephant in the room) reason to buy - and it is always there.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 3:06am

    Re: Re:

    As someone who works for a charity I have to ask: what is your point?

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 3:09am

    Re: The real big dopes

    "The real big dopes are the people who get everything for free - because in the long term their musical taste will disappear from the culture."

    Thank you! Exactly my view on this issue and well put.

     

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    Kingster (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 3:50am

    Well, generally I like the analogies...

    But let me get this straight...
    If you believe in the "big dope" theory put forth by this guy, then anyone who buys a car is a "big dope," because they're financing all of those commercials, which they get to see on TV without paying for them. The percentage of people who buy a car that they saw in a TV commercial compared to the number of people who actually see the commercial is a tiny, tiny number. But does that make those buyers "big dopes?" Of course not. They got something they wanted (a car).
    So what you are saying is that I get to watch all those commercials for free because some "big dope" went out and paid for a car? How about this. You don't show me any commercials after I buy your car? That's what I want. I effing hate commercials.

     

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    kyle clements (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 4:14am

    change the perspective.

    Hundreds of people can walk into an art gallery and enjoy my paintings for free. but very few people actually buy anything.
    Would it be fair to call the collector, the one person who actually buys the work a 'dope' while the rest of the visitors are freeloaders? That's highly insulting to both sides. There is more to culture than money changing hands.
    I prefer to think of it as a supportive community made up of both fans and patrons.
    Do I want more of my fans to become patrons, and support me by buying something? Absolutely. I like paying rent and having food. But I'm not entitled to their money. I have to work for it. I have to create something that they feel is worth buying.

    Music isn't much different. you have the fans who listen to and love the work, and you have the patrons, who buy the albums, pick up some merch, buy loooooots of t-shirts, and go to the shows.

    They aren't a 'dope' when they buy it, they aren't a 'freeloader' if they don't. They are fans, supporters, and patrons, and even if they don't choose to buy anything this time, having them around is far better than being ignored.

     

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    martinpasha (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 5:53am

    Re: change the perspective.

    Your analogy seems a bit far fetched. There is a huge difference between original paintings and reproductions. In music, there is no difference between the copy and the original. So you are "luckier" than musicians, you have something to sell other than yourself, as a commenter above remarked.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    ... what did you miss the sarcasm?

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 7:04am

    The real thing.

    > In music, there is no difference between the copy and the original.

    Oh. I beg to differ. There is a HUGE difference between an original work and a "copy" in music. It's just that most of us are used to only ever consuming the "copies" and have no awareness or appreciation for real music.

    And musicians still make most of their money off of "originals" just like a painter does. The originals remain the most scarce aspect of art. Although there are plenty of people willing to settle for copies.

    Your average "consumer" will mistake a print bought in the museum gift shop for a genuine painting. Music is no different.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 7:24am

    Re: Well, generally I like the analogies...

    A better analogy isn't that you get to watch the commercials, but that you get to watch the show the commercials are paying for.

     

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    Devilish Presley (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re: change the perspective.

    So you are "luckier" than musicians, you have something to sell other than yourself, as a commenter above remarked.

    Surely all a musician has to sell is themself? Whilst the content they produce might be freely available - once they have established a connection with their fans/supporters those very people will aid them in the production of more content.

    The person in the original article seems to be quite insulting to our own "fans" who are quite happy to view meeting us and communicating with us as a "scarce value"and have indeed helped us upgrade our equipment and often take us for meals etc and not at Muckdonalds!

    Totally agree with Kyle, particularly:
    "But I'm not entitled to their money. I have to work for it. I have to create something that they feel is worth buying."

    Perhaps if Kyle was a "performance artist" it would be more applicable to musicians - particularly those who use performing live as their initial way of CwF? Also the production of content is cheap compared to the cost of performance - and it is the funding of that particular way of CwF that needs to be looked at more closely, not these dead arguments about "oh my god everything is free what am I gonna do".

     

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    Joe Krahn, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 7:38am

    The solution is simple

    The simple solution to the whole music stealing problem is to release free radio quality music, and use it to promote sales of the high quality media. Then, internet music sharing works like radio always has. It may not fix the problem, but it should drastically reduce the motivation for pirating CD quality music.

     

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    Andrew Anderson, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 7:48am

    The Real Dope

    It is any wonder that Capitalism is misunderstood? Most of Europe is under a Socialism or Quasi Socialism government. And the US is going that way at a rapid pace.

    Free Market Capitalism has been demonized as what it wrong with the world by most politicians, despot, and evil two bit dictator the world over, when point in fact it is the only thing that is right.

    Capitalism threw off Russia's yoke from Poland and destroyed Communism, and Fascism, and Slavery.

    Logically this can be proven in about a minute. But ignorance is the tool by which those that want to control people to get those same people to go against it and their own self-interest.

    Capitalism can't be defeated by any other way other than by the sanction of those it can help the most who have been brainwashed into believing it is bad for them.

    Kind of like when a witch doctor convinces someone with an infection that penicillin is evil medicine. Same level of stupidity and ignorance in both cases.

    But he bemoans the fact that he can't figure out how it works. But is it really his fault? I don't think so.

    Do they teach any classes on Capitalism in regular Schools, and let's not even mention in Colleges? Of course the answer is no. Let's remember the adage, Those that do, do. Those that can't teach.

    Left wing socialist loons flock to the College level teaching profession and thereby ignorance of Capitalism is perpetuated.

    The media supports that Evil Capitalist theory as well.

    Capitalism is the only system that does not depend on hand outs. It depends on the unforced cooperation by two people exchanging true value of one kind for another.

    In this case, a small bit of money in exchange for the pleasure of listening to music.

    Capitalism is the only system where Big Brother does not force you to do this or restrict you from doing that by regulation with threats of fines, imprisonment, and ultimately at the end of a gun.

    The only thing that I have to say is that guys like that make it easier for guys like me, my clients, and all of the rest of us that do understand it.

    It is unfortunate that he blames the lack of profits on everyone else and not on those that are clueless about how Capitalism really works.

    Also, I will say that if he really wants to profit from Music, go buy some stock in Apple as iTunes "gets" it.

    There are many Indy bands in the US that are making boatloads of money selling their own tunes on their own websites. And, they are making far more than if they had signed up with a major label.

    The Music industry as a whole is clueless about what is really happening.

    Free songs help it, not hurt it but you have to understand how for it to work.

    They are much like those in the transportation industry in the 1900's that bemoaned Horses being replaced by Cars. The smart ones switched over, while the whiners complained about it and went out of business.

    Capitalistic Darwinism at it's finest! :)

    Does he have to stay ignorant? No! It is simply a choice that he or anyone like him makes.

    Here is a great resource on Capitalism. http://mises.org/
    and a wonderful speech on Money and Capitalism.

    http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=1826

    There are lots of Dopes out there but in this case, he needs to hold up a mirror.

    But, he only has to stay a "Dope" if he wants to. A potential Capitalist is a terrible thing to waste.

    Hopefully he won't choose to stay ignorant forever.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Anderson
    "Capitalist"
    21to21.com

     

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    Devilish Presley (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 7:53am

    Re: The solution is simple

    You are of course pre-supposing that "stealing" "problem" "pirating" are all words that everyone agrees with.

     

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    Richard (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 8:12am

    Capitalism

    The problem with capitalism is that most capitalists don't like capitalism. (Or they don't want it to apply to them.)
    They may start of with capitalism - but as soon as they start to get somewhere they immediately switch to feudalism - trying to establish a "rights based" monopoly for themselves.

    Similarly the main problem with socialism is that most socialists don't really like it either. Look at Peter Mansdelson. Professed socialist who regularly gets wined and dined by the rich and powerful.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 8:21am

    Fortunately, there have always been big jerks

    Let's not forget that most of classic artwork was financed by "patrons" who should apparently be classified as "Big Jerks." Granted, paintings are scarce goods, but what about the music of Beethoven and other great artists. Their sheet music was reproduced and distributed widely, and there was almost never any payment to the original patron or the artist. People like to ignore how much of classic work was done with no IP protections at all, and how much art has been produced in recent years without thought of claim to IP rights.

     

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    Pessimistic Optimist, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 8:52am

    Re: The real big dopes

    "The real big dopes are the people who get everything for free - because in the long term their musical taste will disappear from the culture."

    Based on your logic, ALL musical tastes would disappear. Think about it. If free equals gone then all free equals all gone. What a bunch of baloney. Anyone that likes a particular style will ALWAYS be free to create music in that style. Please name a single one that actually has disappeared from culture entirely. I'm betting you can't. Remember, not all people create works of art for money or fame, which incidentally have no bearing on its quality (only the deluded believe that). Some do it simply because they can, for the love of it. Thanks to the internet, these people now have access to an audience, something they likely didn't have before. Just look at the explosion of digital photography for proof. One could argue that the sheer number of people creating art in the digital age is what is harming the industry, not the pirates. When you have a lot of talent churning out such a huge body of work, monetary value quickly becomes irrelevant. When that's the case, each work must be judged individually by its own highly subjective merits. As the saying goes, one mans garbage is another mans treasure. All the internet has really done is empowered everyone equally, and isn't equality the thing culture should always be striving for ultimately?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 9:30am

    Re:

    Really? I'm not so sure. Its not like some people are paying to get the fully loaded model of a car and other folks are getting the base model for free. Mike compares buying a car to getting the ad for the car for free. What consumer ever pays directly for TV commercials?

    If you are paying a bunch more money to get some dealer added features on a car while someone else is getting the factory equipped model for free then you might just be a big dope. Its really about how the buyer feels about the transaction at the end of the day. If you feel like you got a good value then you are not a big dope.

     

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    Flakey, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 9:44am

    Good comments

    I really like some of the comments that have appeared here by various readers; kudos to you all.

    In particular I like the museum analogy, the capitalism and feudalism, and some very apt and prime examples of why it doesn't work as claimed in the article.

    Which brings me to a couple of well worn but none the less true points.

    One is that the value of an item is only worth what the buyer will pay. In a nutshell, the buyer has to see some sort of value (in his eyes) for the item to be willing to shell out the money. It does not matter if the value seen by the buyer is there or not. It only matters that he perceives value and is willing to pay because of that.

    The other is that culture is not something you can tack a dollar sign on and say that a particular fad/idea/common belief is worth that amount. Often it is the other way around and without the culture to drive the perceived value; it has none, as with the case of the museum.

    Corporations love the idea that they set the value, ie the selling price of an item, be it music, apples, or licensing. That culture is a buyable item where you go to the counter and pick it up on demand for money.

    It doesn't work this way in reality. Anyone can make a pet rock with a small amount of effort and they don't have to pay for packaging, store overhead, nor even taxes to do so. This again demonstrates that value is seen or not by the buyer and that in turn is what drives the sale.

    There are no Big Dopes in this. There may be misguided or fooled Dopes but they still see value whether anyone else around them does or not.

    A fool and his money are soon parted is based on the misguided perceptions of value.

     

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    martinpasha (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re: change the perspective.

    >Surely all a musician has to sell is themself?
    That was half sarcastic... I am only glad that live playing is important again, and if that is "the original" JEDIDAH speaks about, then I agree. Only reason to do anything businness-wise is to get gigs as far as I'm concerned, old system new system never mind. The amount of bullshit seems less this way, I am in general happy with all these changes. And yes, if Kyle was a "performance artist", it would be more similar, but still not the same. More like theater, which has its own plethora of problems, but different ones and these don't necesserily stem from technology.
    Another point I disagree is:
    "Also the production of content is cheap compared to the cost of performance."
    It really depends on the music. A good studio still costs quite a lot, and there is good reasons for that. What does a small group need for a concert? Except of course flight tickets, if the members live thousands of kilometers apart :P
    Or do you mean duplication by "production", as of pressing CD's, releasing digital etc.?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 10:12am

    If you believe in the "big dope" theory put forth by this guy, then anyone who buys a car is a "big dope," because they're financing all of those commercials, which they get to see on TV without paying for them. The percentage of people who buy a car that they saw in a TV commercial compared to the number of people who actually see the commercial is a tiny, tiny number.


    Analogies are not your strong suit.

     

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    bigpicture, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 10:29am

    scarce value.

    The comparison between the buyers of cars and the buyers of music is not strictly a legitimate comparison. Cars are not infinitely replicable at almost zero cost, but with todays technology music and other content is. Giving it no "scarce value".

    Example: Way back when TV content used to be funded by ads, then with the newer technology there was a business model that "we won't broadcast this content but feed it into controlled closed systems and charge for it. Get the relationship? "Being able to charge = being able to control". The internet is not a closed controlled system, and it enables copying of content. How does this relate to car manufacture?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Well, generally I like the analogies...

    No, when we pay huge sums of money for cable we are financing the shows.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    Analogies are not your strong suit.


    Most people seem to be getting it. Perhaps understanding analogies is not your strong suit?

    :)

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 10:43am

    @Andrew Anderson

    um no the USA is heading into facism not socialism. IF it were socialist then theyd have the health care already and copyright laws woudl reduce to MUCH saner levels as that is a more left leaning ideal

    AND

    you

    too

    can

    learn

    how

    to make

    a paragraph

     

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    Devilish Presley (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: change the perspective.

    Cheers Martin.

    "Also the production of content is cheap compared to the cost of performance."

    Yeah by that we meant that many, not all, who prefer the non-live route, also utilise home recording. We don't record at home and we agree with you - 'cos we use a good/expensive studio partly for the gear partly for the "ears" and experience of the guy who runs it.

    "What does a small group need for a concert?"

    A small band (we're a duo) still has to pay crew/driver and hire vans, petrol, food, hotels, pay up-front merch costs etc etc. Also we 'sometimes' have to pay upfront air travel costs if the promoter won't stump it up.

    Glad you agree about "live" being important - there is too much theory on here based around doing it as if Rock 'n'Roll bands were bloggers - and not enough talk on the realities of touring with no financial support from anyone .

    Good luck to you.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "... what did you miss the sarcasm?"

    No; hence asking why he doesn't appear to feel charities are a valid comparison.

     

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    bigpicture, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: Analogy

    Main Entry: anal·o·gy
    Pronunciation: ə-ˈna-lə-jē
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural anal·o·gies
    Date: 15th century
    1 : inference that if two or more things agree with one another in some respects they will probably agree in others
    2 a : resemblance in some particulars between things otherwise unlike : similarity b : comparison based on such resemblance
    3 : correspondence between the members of pairs or sets of linguistic forms that serves as a basis for the creation of another form
    4 : correspondence in function between anatomical parts of different structure and origin — compare homology
    synonyms see likeness.

    This is my understanding of analogy, maybe it is not the same understanding as the others here. So what about the definition of "axiom"? Like "there no free lunches", "only air is free", "somebody always pays", "he who pays the piper calls the tune" etc. etc. Abundance, scarcity, control fits into every one of these somewhere. So if you have made your analogies around "this is scarce and that is scarce", or "this is abundant and that is abundant", or "this is controlled and that is controlled" for similar reasons, then we have "by definition" an analogy.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: The real big dopes

    "Based on your logic, ALL musical tastes would disappear."

    I think you're missing his point. Consider three stereotypes:

    Those who pay (traditional consumers?) spend a lot but have little control over who the money goes to. They participate in the market but often through a middleman.

    Those who consume for free to decide how to pay (try before you buy?) can spend as much or as little as they want but are confident in their ability to choose where their money goes. They participate in a more efficient market.

    Those who don't pay (freeloaders?) spend nothing and participate in no market. I'm not actually sure there is evidence that these people exist. Richard's point was about these mythical freeloaders losing out because they don't participate in the market.

     

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    martinpasha (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: change the perspective.

    'cos we use a good/expensive studio partly for the gear partly for the "ears" and experience of the guy who runs it.
    Exactly the same here. I and many of my colleagues tried the homerecording route, and you can get OK results, but when you bring your thing to a studio and compare to something produced there, it can be a very sobering experience. Agree about the technician too, one which tells you the "right stuff" is invaluable.
    travel costs
    We travel light ;) And the distances tend to be shorter in Europe. I toured only once in the US, it was a lot of driving. Good luck to you too!

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 12:29pm

    Re: scarce value.

    "The comparison between the buyers of cars and the buyers of music is not strictly a legitimate comparison. "

    From the original article: "Why is our dope a Dope? Because he’ll end up footing the bill for someone else’s consumption."

    If the purpose of the analogy was to identify flaws in the dope theory by testing its wider application then it seems a legitimate comparison.

    The writer then goes on to give an example: "if a stranger came to us asking to pay for his car, we’d probably be speechless at the sheer audacity of the request."

    You complain about Mike's analogy, but not that? Good grief.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 12:34pm

    Re: The real thing.

    "And musicians still make most of their money off of "originals" just like a painter does. The originals remain the most scarce aspect of art. Although there are plenty of people willing to settle for copies."

    Good point, I wonder how many artists get paid by people watching them paint?

     

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    Modplan (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Well, generally I like the analogies...

    Which is also offset through various forms of advertising because cable fees apparently aren't enough on their own.

     

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    Greg Sidelnikov, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 2:04pm

    Ownership vs. Instant Gratification

    Obviously this is a logistical concept that has roots in determining ownership-type of value and instant-gratification, and making a choice on which one you (as a buyer of value) would prefer.

    As a person in control of physical goods, in a democratic society you are responsible for the way you distribute and sell your product.

    As one of the posters had pointed out in the previous post about his "art gallery" example, people who walk into an art gallery simply look at art, but only a small fraction of them buy the art.

    Well let me also mention the idea of quality of product, that depends on the skill of the "producer" of goods, or artwork in this case.

    Does it make people who look at art without buying it? "dopes". Or does it make the artist a big dope for his inability to entice the visitors to his art gallery to buy his art because his art is boring and not the visitors?

    Art in the young Salvador Dali's galleries was always sold out. Because the art was good, not because people were "no good" or "dopes". You are responsible for any product (or artwork) you put out there, and you are, as a producer of value or artist is responsible for its QUALITY. Now, that sometimes has something to do with being talented, doesn't it?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Analogy

    No, you don't understand analogies, you are merely copying and pasting without even knowing what you are copying and pasting.

    I suspect the RIAA doesn't want to spend money on RIAA defenders who speak English as a primary language and so they are now offshoring their paid defenders to other countries with people who speak English as a secondary or tertiary language instead. It's cheaper, but it results in people who are too overwhelmed with language dynamics to put up a decent argument.

    and by the time you become more fluent in English you will probably then require higher pay, after which the RIAA will refuse to pay and they will hire some other English illiterate people to argue their position.

     

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    Any Mouse, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Analogy

    Yes, precisely. What mike described was, by the very definition you provided (being 2a), an analogy.

    Thanks for clearing that up!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 3:08pm

    Re: @Andrew Anderson

    I don't think I'd be lecturing people on the readability of their posts, if I were you.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 3:23pm

    Good point too, they should block advertisements on TV that I don't pay for - I don't have any issues with that. After all; I did *not* in anyway pay for the 'IP rights' to watch the commercial, so is the network 'making available'?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 5:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, generally I like the analogies...

    They’re more than enough, it’s just that cable companies get a government sanctioned monopoly so they get away with charging much higher prices and putting many more ads on television. The wouldn’t be insisting on such monopoly privileges if they didn’t get anything out of it, what they’re getting is higher prices and more ad revenue.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Capitalism

    The problem with capitalism is that many proclaimed free market capitalists want free market capitalism to apply only to them. They want laws that unfairly benefit the proclaimed free market capitalist to apply to others.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 6:26pm

    Re: Re:

    "The musicians are selling themselves."

    Survey says... DING DING DING!

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 6:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, generally I like the analogies...

    "They’re more than enough, it’s just that cable companies get a government sanctioned monopoly so they get away with charging much higher prices and putting many more ads on television."

    Indeed. The key to how American government works these days is: It's all about protecting the middlemen. Those guys who will insert themselves into any situation and start extracting fees and rents. Anytime legislation makes no sense (health care, broadband, etc.) just see who is in the middle collecting rents and it suddenly makes a twisted kind of sense.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 7:13pm

    Re: change the perspective.

    Hundreds of people can walk into an art gallery and enjoy my paintings for free. but very few people actually buy anything. Would it be fair to call the collector, the one person who actually buys the work a 'dope' while the rest of the visitors are freeloaders?

    You're overlooking the difference between scarce and non-scarce goods. An original painting is a naturally scarce good. A reproduction of it isn't. By the same token, an original musical recording is a naturally scarce good. A reproduction of it isn't.

    Scarce vs. non-scarce is an important distinction.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Re: The real thing.

    Good point, I wonder how many artists get paid by people watching them paint?

    I've seen several who did over the years. But most, it seems, are neither that resourceful nor enterprising. They prefer the copyright crutch instead.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 7:46pm

    Don't Be a Big Dope.

    Not only does it not make sense to pay for non-scarce goods, those who do are actually giving ammunition to their own future enemies in the copyright industry who will someday use that money to mount legal attacks against them. Yet, people will often behave against their own best interests due to a lifetime of being "programmed" by those industries.

    Well it's time for those people to be deprogrammed: Don't be dopes, don't finance those who would destroy you. Spend your money wisely: Buy scarce goods and services (original artwork, performances, etc.).

     

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  55.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 8:12pm

    Re: Re:

    Everybody gets the ad for free whether they want it or not ... everybody gets the music for free if they want it. If you stop thinking of music as the product, then music becomes the advertising. Music recordings aren't where you make the money, they bring in people to make the money with the product the music is advertising: the musician.

    It's up to the musician to provide an experience outside of the prerecorded music tracks that fans will pay for. The prerecorded music tracks aren't the product.

     

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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 8:18pm

    Re: Re:

    Pretty much.

     

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    b4dd1e, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 10:24pm

     

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    b4dd1e, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 10:25pm

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 27th, 2010 @ 10:33pm

    Spending patterns

    I'm very curious to what extent there will be a willing market to purchase what bands are offering. We all agree that people want music. And for the most part you can get the music you want for free. So if you have limited spending power, as many of us do, what are you going to buy? Necessities are pretty high up there.

    Spending Less Becoming New Norm for Many Americans

     

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    Paul`, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 6:51am

    Re:

    Only if the:

    Library lets you keep the book forever,

    Television is showing the movie either when its released or giving you a physical copy along with the broadcast for free,

    Radio's also gave you a replayable copy of the songs,

    This one made no real sense...

    This is exactly why the newspapers are going out of buisness ;)

     

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  61.  
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    Paul`, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 6:55am

    Re: The real big dopes

    You aren't getting it. They are saying you shouldn't pay for the _music_. The artists who make the music need to monetise another area of what they do; like live gigs or merchandise.

    And if you like musicians who can't do that then tough shit for you and the stupid asshole playing the tunes.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 7:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Are you saying that musicians should buy TV commercial spots in order to play their music videos so that they can sell more t-shirts?

    Most consumers do not value TV commercials. Many consumers still value recorded music and are willing to pay for it. There is still value in recorded music, there is little value in TV commercials by themselves.

    For car companies the main product is the car itself, the work product of the car company is the car itself. For the musician the work product is the music. Is a musician still a musician if the musician's main job is designing, producing and selling 'scarce' (which I take to mean physical, hard to copy) goods?

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: The real thing.

    Probably proportionate to the number of artists that can complete a piece in 2 hours 6 nights a week

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 8:44am

    Re: Spending patterns

    This market is well established and in place in the corporate realm.

    I spent a weekend with a friend who is relatively well placed in the music industry, having played on The Tonight Show several times, along with performances at the White House. They told me about several well-established services that exist that do this on a B2B basis.

    However, such services don't yet exist for end-users, because it's hard to believe a market exists or the effort would be economically viable for creatives or end consumers alike. However, if your in a situation where you can afford to buy royalties, you probably know these services exist and are perhaps are already a member of them.

    "Musos" would be happy to invite you to the First Annual CwF-(RtB) "Trollin' Time!" party if you so desired. But remember- Mike's not invited because it would conflict with obligations pertaining to management of a certain Vaudevillian Blog.

     

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    nasch (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 8:45am

    Re: The real thing.

    > In music, there is no difference between the copy and the original.

    Oh. I beg to differ. There is a HUGE difference between an original work and a "copy" in music.


    No, there isn't. The original in this case is a sound recording. That is what gets copied, and the copy is exactly like the original. It sounds like what you are referring to is a performance, which obviously cannot be copied exactly.

    The analogy with painting:
    1. process of creating the painting = music performance
    2. original painting = recording
    3. copy of the painting = copy of the recording

    1 is unique. 2 is unique for the painting but not the music. 3 is not unique for either.

     

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    nasch (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 9:01am

    Re:

    It's kind of amusing, he calls Mike a "publicist" and this blog post a "polemic". Mike commented over there, so I'm guessing he won't do another response post on here.

     

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    Modplan (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Scarce may also mean live performance and/or appearance, adding more value to bundles that include recorded music (special editions), commissioned to work on music for film, tv etc.

    In all these cases, the recorded music essentially acts as the advertising for the artist and other scarce things. The recording of music in itself stops being the main job, and it becomes focused back on live performance, commission work, patronage and unique value that can only be achieved through physical means as part of a recorded music bundle as it were.

     

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  68.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Are you saying that musicians should buy TV commercial spots in order to play their music videos so that they can sell more t-shirts?"

    You just don't understand analogies, do you?

     

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  69.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 9:24am

    Accept it at face value for what it is.

    When in doubt, just look at last month's Mike Masnick quote of the month:

    "Copyright has nothing to do with respecting, honoring or valuing the works of anyone."
    - Mike Masnick, Jan 25, 2010

    Context (source):
    http://techdirt.com/articles/20100125/0539377890.shtml

     

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    x, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 9:25am

    sounds like you're justifying paying for that expensive dvd collection :p

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 9:27am

    Re: Accept it at face value for what it is.

    Oh, it's changed attribution now.
    Silly me.
    I guess, someone else actually wrote that. :-P

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I understand the analogy, I just do not agree with it. TV commercials by themselves have no value. Recordings of music by themselves have value. I think the analogy breaks down at that point, thus the silly question. Car companies do not give away cars for free.

    What you are saying is that one of the main products that a musician produces has little to no value, it should be given away. I disagree, there is some non-zero value in recorded music, its just a whole lot less than .99/track or 1.30/track. The music is the main product and it has value. There are different price points depending on how you want to get the music and how much of an experience you are willing to pay for. There was a cost to produce the original recording and believe it or not there is a small cost in making the copies (in the case of digital recordings, the cost of the copies is just really small and distributed between the seller and the buyer but its still non-zero).

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re: Spending patterns

    However, if your in a situation where you can afford to buy royalties, you probably know these services exist and are perhaps are already a member of them.

    Do you mean services that place songs on TV, movies, and in commercials? If so, yes, I am very familiar with them. Competitive pricing is driving the down what the artists are getting for those, too. So many artists want the exposure from those placements that music supervisors don't have to pay as much money for licensing as they did in the past.

     

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    Richard (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: The real big dopes

    "Anyone that likes a particular style will ALWAYS be free to create music in that style."

    which is itself a form of paying...

    "Please name a single one that actually has disappeared from culture entirely. I'm betting you can't. "

    You are setting up a straw man here.

    I wouldn't expect any style to disappear in practice - because for any worthwhile form of the art there will always be people who are prepared to pay - either in money or in kind (by doing the work themselves).

    The argument was hypothetical - but just because something hasn't happened (say global nuclear destruction) doesn't mean that it couldn't happen if the right people pressed the right buttons.

    and of course people who freeload do give up their personal input into the direction of culture. A whole style might not be likely to disappear - but a particular artist might well be forced to give up without support. If you liked that artist's output - but just freeloaded and never paid then it would be your fault and you would suffer along with him.

    Reading the rest of your comment I'm not sure why you disagreed with me so strongly - because most of the rest of what you said is totally compatible with my point.

     

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    Modplan (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I understand the analogy, I just do not agree with it. TV commercials by themselves have no value.

    Yes they do - or at least, they can, like turning ads into small skits, product placement in shows (making the shows advertising for a product that's in it) and various other things.

    The overall point though is that copies of music can be used as advertising in themselves.

    What you are saying is that one of the main products that a musician produces has little to no value, it should be given away. I disagree, there is some non-zero value in recorded music


    No one's arguing that. They're arguing the value of using copies of music as advertising for other scarce things, using this analogy to help demonstrate that - a free advert, which may be done in various ways and yes, may in themselves hold value that can drive attention to a product that people may want and is scarce so they'll be willing to pay for it in a way that's long-term sustainable.

    The majority of money is leaving the market for people paying for access to songs when they already have the ability to access it in so many ways. The song may hold value, but not necessarily in a way that can demand significant money from charging people to be able to access it, especially for smaller artists and as time goes on. Instead use that to drive attention and value in other areas that are scarce and can be made to be even more scarce by increasing demand through something that effectively has no limit on how much demand it can satisfy.

     

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    jeffmacdougall (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: change the perspective.

    Actually, I find this analogy to be exactly right. He's not saying that people are getting prints of original paintings for free. He's saying that the get to "experience" the paintings in an art gallery for free (like listening to a song on the radio).

    Now, some believe (as I do) that most people who download MP3's for free are (in their own head) listening to the radio. These are people who would normally never buy but download just because they want to hear it and see what's what. As a musician, you can disagree with this attitude and scream "theif!" if you like, but you do so at your own peril.

     

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  77.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "What you are saying is that one of the main products that a musician produces has little to no value, it should be given away."

    No, that's not what's being said. It has value but that doesn't necessarily mean it should directly cost money. The air you breath has value, yet you don't pay nearly as much as it's worth to you.

    Just because something has value doesn't mean one has to directly charge for it or monopolize the value in which only minimizes consumer surplus. They can ask for donations or find some other business model to provide funding for providing that value.

    For instance, by giving away music an artist can provide others with an incentive to donate to the artist. That incentive makes the music more valuable to the artist because now the artist can get paid for his/her music. Or by giving away music an artist can promote their concerts, which makes the music more valuable to the artist because it makes it easier for the artist, if s/he makes good music, to get people to pay for concerts.

    It's just a way of the artist to figure out a way to make the music more valuable to the artist. And besides, at least to some extent an artist should make music because the music itself has value to the artist (ie: the artist enjoys listening to it or enjoys making music). Well, if an artist wants to give away music, there is nothing wrong with that, they should be allowed to. Perhaps that's an end in itself.

    But we shouldn't create an entire burdensome copyprivilege system that puts the burden of proof on me to prove that a song isn't copyprivileged before I download a song that I think is under a creative commons license, especially when the RIAA and copyprivilege holders provide no means for me to know what songs they have privileges on. I don't know about you but I'm not psychic and I bet most of the people here aren't either.

    Or perhaps I can call an authorized/qualified psychic who can tell me if the RIAA et al own a song and if the psychic is wrong I can sue the psychic after getting sued by the RIAA.

    Laws that require citizens to be psychic should not exist.

    The fact is that no one owes anyone a monopoly on the songs they made and society does not owe anyone the effort and burden and invasion of privacy and restrictions of behavior and technology and the cost required to implement, litigate, and enforce such monopolies. If you don't like it don't make music, no one is forcing you to, but don't put such a burden on the rest of society just to serve your selfishness. Instead, serve the economy well by finding another job, others will make music perfectly fine without you.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Or maybe I'll just call Miss Cleo.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But we shouldn't create an entire burdensome copyprivilege system that puts the burden of proof on me to prove that a song isn't copyprivileged before I download a song that I think is under a creative commons license, especially when the RIAA and copyprivilege holders provide no means for me to know what songs they have privileges on. I don't know about you but I'm not psychic and I bet most of the people here aren't either.

    For most musicians this is a non-issue anyway. They already are giving away their music.

    The bigger challenge is finding what people will pay for. And that hasn't been easy for most musicians.

    1. The recession is cutting out a lot of spending. When you are worried about covering your bills, you're not going to buy music-related merchandise.
    2. There are a limited number of venues to play. So musicians are in competition with each other for those live gig opportunities.
    3. There are new technologies being released weekly that allow people to make their own music. So there the number of musicians is increasing all the time.

    The last development is great for creativity, but not so great for musicians who hope they are offering a unique service. For example:

    A lot of gig opportunities for musicians dried up after DJs became popular. Clubs and people throwing parties were just as happy (and found it cheaper) to have someone play records rather than instruments.

    Then karaoke came it and a number of bars found letting the audience sing was a popular and cheaper alternative to having live music.

    Now we've got technology that allows people with no musical skills to press buttons and make music. Most of it is online or on mobile devices, but the seeds have been planted to turn people from fans into creators. Technology democratizes music.

    Sure, there are Lady Gagas, but that's really about a big marketing machine. And I suspect her staying power will be relatively limited because there will be other Lady Gagas to come along. As Warhol predicted, everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Well, generally I like the analogies...

    Far from everyone subscribes to cable.

     

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    stylish_chick, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 1:10pm

    When I go shopping, it's not everything about what I want, but I also ask myself if that's what I need. I am a fan of several artists, but I don't buy their albums because I don't thin it is a necessity. I might buy a single from Itunes, but not the whole album.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "For most musicians this is a non-issue anyway. They already are giving away their music."

    You didn't even address what you quoted. Instead you ignored it and said something completely irrelevant.

    "The bigger challenge is finding what people will pay for. And that hasn't been easy for most musicians."

    The point of an economy is to create aggregate output. Music itself is aggregate output.

    "1. The recession is cutting out a lot of spending. When you are worried about covering your bills, you're not going to buy music-related merchandise."

    To the extent that this is true it also makes copyright irrelevant.

    "2. There are a limited number of venues to play. So musicians are in competition with each other for those live gig opportunities."

    Which means that musicians are indeed willing to play music, there is competition and the creation of music. Again, the point of an economy is to create aggregate output and you admit that this is exactly what is happening.

    "3. There are new technologies being released weekly that allow people to make their own music. So there the number of musicians is increasing all the time."

    Good, more aggregate output, the whole purpose of an economy.

    "The last development is great for creativity, but not so great for musicians who hope they are offering a unique service."

    A: technology gives more people a wider combination of sounds they can create at a cheaper price. This makes it easier for more people to create a unique product.

    B: Creativity itself involves creating something UNIQUE. So if it's great for creativity it's also great for uniqueness.

    C: Granting a monopoly is no way to ensure a unique service. A monopoly does not increase net diversity and hence does nothing to promote the progress and serve the purpose of an economy to begin with, to increase aggregate output. So even if you consider diversity a form of aggregate output a monopoly does not serve that purpose of creating diversity. Even if an artist can not differentiate himself/herself because everyone else is using up the entire pool of possible sound combinations (which I doubt) then the economy is doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing, serving the public good and optimizing aggregate output.

    "A lot of gig opportunities for musicians dried up after DJs became popular. Clubs and people throwing parties were just as happy (and found it cheaper) to have someone play records rather than instruments."

    and what's wrong with this? It's serving the purpose of an economy, to increase aggregate output.

    "Then karaoke came it and a number of bars found letting the audience sing was a popular and cheaper alternative to having live music."

    Again, if that's what the public wants, what's wrong with that?

    "Now we've got technology that allows people with no musical skills to press buttons and make music. Most of it is online or on mobile devices, but the seeds have been planted to turn people from fans into creators. Technology democratizes music."

    If you don't like a particular musician because you don't like his musical skills you are free not to fund that musician and you are free to find a musician that you do like and donate to them or pay for their music or concerts, etc... But don't make others subsidize your wish just so you can have your subjective notion of what you consider to be quality music.

    "Sure, there are Lady Gagas, but that's really about a big marketing machine. And I suspect her staying power will be relatively limited because there will be other Lady Gagas to come along. As Warhol predicted, everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame."

    and to the extent that this is true it's exactly what the market/public wants and the purpose of an economy is to serve the public.

     

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  83.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "But don't make others subsidize your wish just so you can have your subjective notion of what you consider to be quality music."

    and by subsidize I also mean subsidizing your wish with laws that put a burden on the rest of society, restrict our freedoms, and cost society money and resources to enforce. Putting such a burden on society just to serve your wish in this manner is selfish.

     

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  84.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    Re:

    I am a fan of several artists, but I don't buy their albums because I don't thin it is a necessity.

    I used to buy CDs from bands at shows on the assumption I might not have another opportunity. Or I would buy CDs from Target when they were offered on sale at $7.99 to $9.99. But now that I can pretty much listen to whatever I want whenever I want online, there's no real reason to grab any music.

    And that money I might have spent on CDs isn't going into T-shirts and other merchandise. I don't really want more stuff, so I try to keep my spending down.

    If my entertainment dollar is going anywhere these days, it is for Internet connectivity. I'm spending more for my connection than I was in the past. So I'm consuming more entertainment and content than ever, but the money is going to companies that provide hardware and connections rather than to the artists.

    I'm guessing I am pretty typical. I do know people who go see live music every weekend. But I know a lot more people who stay home and watch their TVs and subscribe to Netflix. Anyone I know who has little kids at home isn't going out much.

    There is more stuff to watch, listen to, and read online that I have time to do so. It's all free. Where do I spend my money? Health insurance. Fuel. Food. Car insurance. That sort of thing. Want to give me a reason to buy? Lower my costs on those.

     

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  85.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You didn't even address what you quoted. Instead you ignored it and said something completely irrelevant.

    What makes you think I was disagreeing with you? Yes, in the aggregate economy there is more music than ever. That IS a good thing. It may be harder for individual musicians to make their money solely from music, but there is more music and more people making music.

    I don't get into copyright discussions because it seems to be a lot of words, both pro and con, with little being accomplished. I don't think the laws will be changed soon. If we can't get a decent health care bill passed, why would changing copyrights be a priority for politicians?

    Artists can make their content freely available and some of them do. There are a lot of musicians who aren't going to sue you if you use their music.

    Further, there are so many new technological tools coming out that allow everyone to make their own music that we'll each be able to make unique music, therefore making copyright a further non-issue. If I can program a computer to make me a unique piece of music that doesn't duplicate or sample someone else's, then it's mine to do with as I wish.

    As I said before, for a lot of musicians, copyright laws are pretty much irrelevant to what they are doing so if you don't like copyrights, then seek those musicians out and use their music.

     

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  86.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 2:06pm

    Re: More cutbacks

    I'm getting caught up on my reading and just saw this.

    (Even) Pet Supplies Slowed In 2009

    It's relevant to this discussion because many people highly value their pets and get a great deal of emotional (and social) rewards in having them. Not unlike some of the motivation in financially supporting musicians. The recession has taken its toll on non-essential spending.

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    “therefore making copyright a further non-issue. “

    it is an issue because society still has to go through the work of determining what is and isn’t copyright. For instance some piece of non copyright content might mistakenly be taken down because Google/Youtube thought they were copyright or because someone mistakenly or maliciously flagged it as infringing. This is a COST to society and this cost is something we shouldn’t ignore.

    “I don't think the laws will be changed soon.”

    This is no excuse to ignore bad laws and not do anything about trying to change them.

    “If we can't get a decent health care bill passed, why would changing copyrights be a priority for politicians? “

    If I go to the store and they intentionally overcharge my credit card by $5, it’s not that much money but it’s still enough to infuriate many people. Likewise, even if these issues aren’t big issues (which I disagree with) that’s no excuse to ignore them.

     

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  88.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This is no excuse to ignore bad laws and not do anything about trying to change them.

    You guys on Techdirt and other places can talk about it. It's just not something I address. There's only so much time in the world and it's not a pressing issue for me.

    If I am going to lobby politicians, it's not something I'm going to tell them to change.

    I think if you guys are going to get things changed, talking amongst yourselves may feel pro-active to you, but I think you might need to set up a legislative lobbying agenda which gives politicians and interested parties reasons to make the change. Telling everyone that society would be better off without copyright and patents probably isn't going to do it because there are a lot of vested interests (with money) in maintaining the status quo.

    Some have argued on Techdirt that health care costs would go down if patents on pharmaceuticals were shorter or non-existent. Now that's a worthwhile cause. Can you produce meaningful change here? In the greater scheme of things, it's far more important than discussing whether music should be freely available. In essence music already is.

     

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  89.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Good points, Suzanne. However, Mike gets paid to make grammatical mistakes, not organize a cause.

    This would be someone outside of Techdirt would do, and then Techdirt would whine about how it's not right.

    It's very circular in nature.

     

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  90.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If I can program a computer to make me a unique piece of music that doesn't duplicate or sample someone else's, then it's mine to do with as I wish.
    That is not easy at all, but there are people who try hard.

     

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  91.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, I saw that article about David Cope. We're not quite there yet, but someday.

    Here's another fun site.

    C O D E O R G A N

    Is the result great music? No, but anyone can do it and it is fun. A lot of what passes for popular music today isn't great either. That's kind of the point. If people want quality, they'd focus on the best music recorded over the last 100 years. But a lot of times with the music they listen to, quality has very little to do with it. So I can imagine a time when people are more pleased with what they have created themselves than what others have produced.

     

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  92.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No need to make it more complex than it needs to be. It's actually pretty easy with the right tools.

    Someone needs to upgrade that guy from a Power Mac 7500 to an Intel Mac and get him a copy of Logic Studio. If he has some cash left over, he should also grab a Motif Rack XS.

     

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  93.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re: Accept it at face value for what it is.

    When in doubt, just look at last month's Mike Masnick quote of the month:

    "Copyright has nothing to do with respecting, honoring or valuing the works of anyone."
    - Mike Masnick, Jan 25, 2010

    Context (source):
    http://techdirt.com/articles/20100125/0539377890.shtml
    (reply to this comment) (link to this comment)


    Oh, it's changed attribution now.
    Silly me.
    I guess, someone else actually wrote that. :-P


    Right quote, wrong source, and (of course) totally out of context:

    Actual link to where I said it, since you seem to falsely be implying I change attribution (the link you put above is someone trying to mock me for the original statement by taking it out of context):

    http://www.techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20100118/0300547791#c3494

    And the full explanation here:

    http://www.techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20100118/0300547791#c3614

    It is entirely true that copyright has nothing to with respecting, honoring or valuing the works of anyone. It is designed to serve one purpose and one purpose alone: to promote the progress of science and the useful arts (really, science, since patents were for the useful arts). It was designed for the *public good* not for the rights of the creators. Implying otherwise is trying to rewrite history.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What you are saying is that one of the main products that a musician produces has little to no value, it should be given away. I disagree, there is some non-zero value in recorded music, its just a whole lot less than .99/track or 1.30/track

    You are confusing price and value. Just because something is priced at $0 doesn't mean it has no value. It has tremendous value. The question is how do you capture that value, and with an infinite good, like music, you do so by making something else -- something scarce -- more valuable by connecting it to the music. Thus, the more widespread the music is, the more valuable that other scarcity is, and the more you can charge for it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 4:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That gets to my question, Is a musician still a musician if the musician's main job is designing, producing and selling 'scarce' (which I take to mean physical, hard to copy) goods?

    I suppose all musicians really need to become "The artist formerly known as..." and start creating a whole lot of not music to sell. Since the music has no cash value that is. Sounds like a crappy deal for people that want to focus on music and not something else.

     

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  96.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Jump to conclusions much?

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That gets to my question, Is a musician still a musician if the musician's main job is designing, producing and selling 'scarce' (which I take to mean physical, hard to copy) goods?

    That's an issue I have been writing about a lot. As your income moves farther and farther from the music itself, then you might as well consider all of your non-music options to make money, too. In many cases you'll make more money and have more time to be creative if you have a good-paying day job and then make music for fun, creativity, self-expression, etc.

    I think there has been a prejudice that if you aren't making your living solely as a musician, you aren't good enough at it. But when you stop to analyze it, sometimes (actually often) it's not worth the hassle to do all the side projects you might have to do, many of which may only pay you a minimum wage when you calculate it by the hour. So if we start taking down the walls between "amateur" and "professional" and start thinking of everyone as a musician, just in varying degrees, then we may begin to look at the options in a more realistic and ultimately more satisfying way.

    Five Degrees of Separation in Music Income

     

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    bigpicture, Feb 28th, 2010 @ 4:55pm

    Re: Re: scarce value.

    I think there was also something in there about "scarce value". It has been my experience that people do not mind paying for something that has perceived "value" to them. "If a stranger came to us asking to pay for his car, we’d probably be speechless at the sheer audacity of the request." I think the comments "there are no free lunches" and "somebody always pays" covers that concept. (asking someone to pay for something of value versus asking someone to pay for something of NO value)

    BUT: Would I pay $60K for a Mercedes, YES, would I pay $0.99 for a Snoop Dogg song NO. This analogy just does not exist for me!!!

     

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    ChrisB (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 5:14pm

    Re: Re: change the perspective.

    Both originals and reproductions are scarce goods. The reproduction is just much cheaper to produce. (It is given an air of scarcity by numbering it.)

    Viewing an original in a gallery is the non-scarce good Kyle Clements was talking about.

     

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    Joe Perry (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 11:00pm

    Re: The real big dopes

    I'm sorry, are you suggesting that my musical taste is less valuable within our culture because I didn't pay for the music? way to be the most stuck up person ever. plenty of things are free to consume and have infinite supply, much like how many people choose to consume music, and are a huge part of our culture. you're essentially dismissing music for music's sake and only giving meaning to music that is backed up by money. everyone has a say in culture, not just the people who shell out the most money. if it were about money things like the punk movement would have had no effect because they were underground things that resulted in almost no profit for the first 10 years. those free concerts in people's basements wouldn't have lead to punk becoming part of musical culture.

     

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    Joe Perry (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 11:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I couldn't agree more. just because someone doesn't have a career in music doesn't mean they're not a musician. one of the things about the internet is that it makes music less scarce and easier to distribute, so that it takes less time and direct input to spread the music around. I'm not saying no one should make money from music, many people will want to make music and connect with their fans and then their fans will be willing to pay them for the music, concerts, lyrics with notes by the write, etc. But for many others it could be a better idea to hold another job (hopefully one they don't hate) to help support themselves while also making music without doing all the touring and merch making. Those people are as much musicians as the ones whose primary income is from music.

     

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  102.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 11:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That gets to my question, Is a musician still a musician if the musician's main job is designing, producing and selling 'scarce' (which I take to mean physical, hard to copy) goods?

    Huh? Who said they need to design, produce and sell those goods? That's the role of a label/manger/etc. if the artist doesn't want to do it.

    I suppose all musicians really need to become "The artist formerly known as..." and start creating a whole lot of not music to sell. Since the music has no cash value that is. Sounds like a crappy deal for people that want to focus on music and not something else.

    Strawman alert. Debunked a while back:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091208/1116027253.shtml

     

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  103.  
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    Joe Perry (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 11:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: change the perspective.

    reproductions (in music) aren't just cheaper they are free. it's a one time upload to, for example, iTunes and infinite people can pay to download it. the cost gets driven down to a fraction of a penny until there is virtually no cost. and then of course there's pirating, which is literally free. all you do it select a file and hit ctrl+c and then go to a different folder and hit ctrl+v. instant reproduction for free.

    this is where music and paintings fail to compare. a reproduction of a painting requires time and attention to detail to look good. unlike with music, reproductions of paintings are still scarce goods.

     

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    Joe Perry (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 11:24pm

    Re: The real thing.

    this much I actually agree with. while reproductions are free in music there is still a difference from the original. an original studio recording, or a band's original demo tape, to get even deeper into the origins, would be worth a lot more, in terms of both value and price, than any reproduction to a fan of a band. you may be right about the average consumer not being able to tell the difference just by listening, in fact you probably are, but there is a physical product for the original, which makes it scarce, which adds value and price.

    however your comment about musicians making most of their money from originals baffles me. unless you consider live performances to be "originals." personally I don't classify them that way, they're a separate scarce product. care to explain?

     

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    Richard (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 3:27am

    Re: Re: The real big dopes

    I'm sorry, are you suggesting that my musical taste is less valuable within our culture because I didn't pay for the music?..... you're essentially dismissing music for music's sake and only giving meaning to music that is backed up by money. everyone has a say in culture, not just the people who shell out the most money.

    No you misunderstand my point. Firstly by paying I don't mean just money - I mean any contribution that helps the music to happen. This would include (but not be limited to) all of the following.

    Making the music yourself for free.

    Letting a musician friend sleep on your floor so he can play a concert.

    Writing Free (GPL) software that helps musicians (e.g. Lilypond)

    Going around telling everyone you meet about this wonderful new composer/band/singer/etc that you've just discovered.

    and even...Uploading stuff to bittorrent so that others can share it. (ie contributing your bandwidth)

    All of these (and many more that you can thing of) are all "ways of paying". It was never my intention to suggest that there was anything special about paying with money.

    However if you do NONE of the above, just sit back and download freebies then you are not having any impact on the culture. As such your taste will not form part of the cultural progress. This is NOT a value judgment - its just a fact - and exactly similar to the fact that if you don't vote then you'll probably get an MP/congressman/senator/president/prime minister/chancellor that doesn't share your views.

     

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  106.  
    identicon
    :), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 3:36am

    The dope rule is nothing new.

    Pareto principle

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm ?abstract_id=953587

    We are all dopes, if one want to call it that. We all finance something that other don't, we all work more then others and any manager knows that as one of the first things anybody learn administering others is how to diminish the impact of that perception on the work place, it is the most common cause of workplace disagreements because people look at how others work and not at what their are doing and it is being used by the fellow to stir controversy, when there is none.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is no strawman. I'm asking where there is room in your plan for folks that want to simply focus on music. I'm not saying that any particular musician *should* or *has* to do that.

    One one hand you say that folks that want to focus on music should have a label/manager foucs on the non-music part then on ther other hand you link to an article that says that labels are trying to take advantage of musicians by telling them that artists should just be artisits. Which is it then labels help or labels just take advantage?

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're right, people shouldn't talk amongst themselves what needs to be changed. They should just link up telepathically and go to congress in a big mass of unified thought and lobby for change.

     

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  109.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "There is no strawman"

    (wave hands) These are not the scarce goods you're looking for...

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re:

    "...because actually paying for music is like supporting a charity..."

    Or you could get a real job, hippie!

     

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    mobiGeek (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If that is the approach they want to take (only make music), then why are they producing music without getting paid for it?

    I don't go to work without knowing I'm going to get paid as I produce output. So why should musicians?

    Oh, because they traditionally have always produced an output that others tied to scarce resources for them (tapes, vinyl, CDs, videos) or that they did themselves (bar concerts) or a combination of the two (full tours are usually "co-productions").

    So to say that there are artists who "only focus on the music" and expect to get paid for non-scarce resources is a strawman. There are no such people (or extremely few of them).

     

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    mobiGeek (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    But I'm not paying for just the burger. I'm paying for the ambiance. I'm paying for access to the type of people who are willing to pay $100 for a burger. I'm almost certainly paying for a better burger, and the ability to have things next to that burger that the $5 place doesn't offer me (fine wine, great desserts, live music(!!), etc...)

     

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  113.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 9:21am

    Music and scarcity

    The challenge with music is that there is little to no scarcity to any of it.

    People willingly make music and give it away for free.
    People will play live shows for free (and even go so far as to pay the venue to let them play).
    People will be your best friend for free, so the idea that you can charge them for access to you only works when you have enough followers to have tiered access.

    Virtually anything that one musician is offering for sale, I can find the equivalent, just as good or better, for free or less.

    That's the point I have been trying to make. Music is something people like to do. So the economics of making music aren't the same as some other careers because there are so many people who will give all their music and everything associated with it away for free.

    In order to have scarcity, you have to convince your potential customers that what you offer is unique and can't be obtained elsewhere. But with the endless opportunities online, you can comparison shop and probably find the equivalent for less or free somewhere.

    Now live shows are location specific, so you've got some control over the fact that you aren't competing with live music in other locations. But even within a specific city, on any given night, you'll find multiple places to go hear live music. And quality isn't always directly tied to price.

    Now, given the above, why do some people pay $200 a ticket to hear one band and only $5 to hear another? I don't think it has all that much to do with musical quality. We've all seen crap artists getting high prices for their tickets, but people go because the artists are famous or relatively famous. The fans go in order to say they went. In those cases you are selling access to fame more than access to the music.

    So fame still sells. And to get famous, it helps to be on Disney or have a major label promote the hell out of you.

     

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    Bapzzy (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 9:23am

    Cheap, not Free

    Make music cheap enough, and people will buy it. Remove all DRM, sell tracks for 30-40 cents each (or less). Sell albums for $4-$6. People will leave the P2P world and flock to your music site.

     

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  115.  
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    chris (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In all these cases, the recorded music essentially acts as the advertising for the artist and other scarce things. The recording of music in itself stops being the main job, and it becomes focused back on live performance, commission work, patronage and unique value that can only be achieved through physical means as part of a recorded music bundle as it were.

    but my music is special. it's so special that people need to pay money to hear it. it's not a commercial.

    saying that my music is an advertisement for t-shirts is lumping it into the same category as a jingle for laundry detergent. that hurts my feelings :(

     

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    chris (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What you are saying is that one of the main products that a musician produces has little to no value, it should be given away. I disagree, there is some non-zero value in recorded music, its just a whole lot less than .99/track or 1.30/track. The music is the main product and it has value.

    price and value are two totally different things. value is determined by the customer, price is determined by the market.

    something can be extremely valuable with a price that is zero, especially when that product is not scarce: like air.

    digital media is not scarce. however valuable it may be, it can easily be obtained for free.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 9:47am

    Re: Music and scarcity

    Also, what I have been saying is that the technological tools improve, music becomes even less scarce because more people can do it.

    Now that we have home recording and the Internet, there are few limitations to recording and distributing music.

    Now that we have Auto-Tune, you don't have be able to sing on key to record.

    Now that we have looping, you don't need a band behind you.

    Now we are seeing tools allowing you to pretty much create music out of thin air on your computer or your iPhone.

    So we are getting an explosion of music. Some of it is very good. Some of it is terrible. But we have lots of people making music. And lots of people putting it out there.

    There are perhaps scarcities in filtering the music to screen out the crap, but that scarcity benefits the creator of the filter rather than the creator of the music.

    The economics of music are changing. While the labels are gone, there is more music than ever and finding an audience big enough to support you is a challenge since you are up against millions of other people trying to do the same thing. And there isn't necessarily a correlation between musical quality and success. Some mediocre musicians are doing well, some talented musicians aren't. In many cases who does well and who doesn't has more to do with marketing than musical skill.

     

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    chris (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm asking where there is room in your plan for folks that want to simply focus on music.

    if they don't want to do it themselves, they can partner with/hire someone to do it for them. this talked about a lot on techdirt. it's called "the fifth beatle".

    Which is it then labels help or labels just take advantage?

    i agree mike. you need to confine this discussion to single lines of sensationalist soundbite/bumper sticker friendly rhetoric. stop making the issue so complex. pick a side, we're at war!

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    if they don't want to do it themselves, they can partner with/hire someone to do it for them. this talked about a lot on techdirt. it's called "the fifth beatle".

    Shall we talk about how to do this? Or is this a discussion that needs to be conducted on a music forum?

    I think most musicians would love to have the extra help. "Where do you find it?" and "How do you compensate the help?" are major questions worthy of discussion.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 10:31am

    Re: Music and scarcity

    The challenge with music is that there is little to no scarcity to any of it.


    You keep saying that, and it's wrong. I mean, it's so wrong that it makes me wonder what industry you're looking at.

    We've discussed this before, so I don't know why you keep insisting that there are "little to no" scarcities. The more music that's created the more scarcity is created.

    People willingly make music and give it away for free.

    Which increases demand for scarcities such as access, authenticity, attention and convenience.

    People will play live shows for free (and even go so far as to pay the venue to let them play).

    Which increases demand for scarcities like attention and access.

    People will be your best friend for free, so the idea that you can charge them for access to you only works when you have enough followers to have tiered access.

    You're doing it wrong, Suzanne. We're not talking about "best friends" here.

    Virtually anything that one musician is offering for sale, I can find the equivalent, just as good or better, for free or less.

    Really? I'm sorry, but you're lying. Or you just don't like music very much. I've given hundreds of dollars in the last few months to my favorite bands, because you CANNOT just replace the scarcities they provide.

    People who are fans of Trent Reznor don't want to go see some copycat band. People who are fans of Amanda Palmer don't want the wine bottle someone else drank out of.

    Perhaps the musicians you're dealing with are unoriginal and suck, but that's the problem. Not the economics.

    In order to have scarcity, you have to convince your potential customers that what you offer is unique and can't be obtained elsewhere. But with the endless opportunities online, you can comparison shop and probably find the equivalent for less or free somewhere.

    In other words, the musicians you like/work with suck. Find better musicians. You can't replace the good ones.

    I really don't understand where you come from, Suzanne. You make these claims that seem to have nothing at all to do with reality.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is no strawman. I'm asking where there is room in your plan for folks that want to simply focus on music. I'm not saying that any particular musician *should* or *has* to do that.

    Again, they work with someone on the business side -- a manager or a label that gets it or whatever.

    One one hand you say that folks that want to focus on music should have a label/manager foucs on the non-music part then on ther other hand you link to an article that says that labels are trying to take advantage of musicians by telling them that artists should just be artisits. Which is it then labels help or labels just take advantage?

    There's a difference between GOOD labels and BAD labels. I figured that would be obvious, no?

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: Music and scarcity

    Also, what I have been saying is that the technological tools improve, music becomes even less scarce because more people can do it.

    Music itself already isn't scarce. But people are.

    You seem to keep confusing this.

    So we are getting an explosion of music. Some of it is very good. Some of it is terrible. But we have lots of people making music. And lots of people putting it out there.

    Yes, but you seem to skip over the difference between good and bad. Good musicians are always in demand.

    And there isn't necessarily a correlation between musical quality and success. Some mediocre musicians are doing well, some talented musicians aren't. In many cases who does well and who doesn't has more to do with marketing than musical skill.

    Um. I'm sorry, but it's *always* been that way. But if you have a good musician, today that musician has MORE OPPORTUNITY to succeed, because the marketing efforts no longer are limited to just a handful of giant companies.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re: The real thing.

    "Probably proportionate to the number of artists that can complete a piece in 2 hours 6 nights a week"

    With that level of rigid thinking you could be a recording industry exec.

     

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    Karl (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: change the perspective.

    Prints of artworks are not infinite. So, let's talk about something that is.

    Say a photograph of a painting exists, and is digitized as a JPEG file. That file gets spread around, posted to blogs, etc.

    The question is whether that hurts the painter or not.

    It might - but only if the painter is not selling the painting or prints, but limits himself to selling JPEG's of his work.

    How many painters out there are stupid enough to believe this is a viable economic strategy? Not many, I'll bet. They sell the painting itself, or (possibly) high-quality prints of the painting, and consider the JPEG to be the equivalent of viewing the work in a gallery. And they are right to do so.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Re: scarce value.

    'I think there was also something in there about "scarce value". It has been my experience that people do not mind paying for something that has perceived "value" to them. "If a stranger came to us asking to pay for his car, we’d probably be speechless at the sheer audacity of the request." I think the comments "there are no free lunches" and "somebody always pays" covers that concept. (asking someone to pay for something of value versus asking someone to pay for something of NO value)'

    You neglect to consider that value is subjective and not based solely on scarcity. Given that also seems to be a large mistake of the apparently smart guy who wrote the referenced article, I don't say so to demean you. You cannot objectively compare value in the scenario you suggest.


    "BUT: Would I pay $60K for a Mercedes, YES, would I pay $0.99 for a Snoop Dogg song NO. This analogy just does not exist for me!!!"

    I wouldn't pay any price for a Mercedes; it has no apparent value for me. However, I would pay $0.99 for a Pomplamoose song because I value the artists and invest in them through buying their music. While you can compare their costs objectively, you cannot do so with their value.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re:

    Still, credit where it's due. Compared to people like Lily Allen or Bono he seems like a saint.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Then we are going around in circles. Again, there is no straw man. Your proof of my straw man doesn't work in the case of 'good' labels. I still don't think recorded music should be free. I think there is a price point that makes sense for everyone. It may be that the price point is low and that most musicians cannot sell enough recordings at that price point to make a living. I just don't buy the argument that the recordings need to be free in support of something else.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    hen we are going around in circles. Again, there is no straw man.

    Yes, there is. You falsely claimed that musicians couldn't just focus on music. That's not true.

    Your proof of my straw man doesn't work in the case of 'good' labels.

    Huh?!? You claimed that musicians couldn't just focus on music. The good labels prove that *if they want to* they can.

    I still don't think recorded music should be free.

    You're making a moral statement. Hell, I don't think music *should* be free. I'm just saying what the economic forces say it *will* be. It's not about "should," it's about "will."

    I think there is a price point that makes sense for everyone.

    Your basic economics would tell you that's $0.

    It may be that the price point is low and that most musicians cannot sell enough recordings at that price point to make a living.

    But it's never been about selling "recordings" anyway. It's always been about selling something scarce: a piece of plastic (scarce) made valuable by the (infinite) recordings on it. A concert ticket (scarce) made valuable by the (infinite) music played inside.

    I just don't buy the argument that the recordings need to be free in support of something else.

    Again, not "need," but "will." Don't confuse moral arguments with economic arguments.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: Music and scarcity

    Really? I'm sorry, but you're lying. Or you just don't like music very much. I've given hundreds of dollars in the last few months to my favorite bands, because you CANNOT just replace the scarcities they provide.

    I've lived in Colorado for a long time. We are having an absolute explosion of talent here. Aside from the fact that we are having four or five bands a year getting signed to major label deals, we have at least 50-200 talented bands with national potential, and many more who have devoted local fans. Every Friday and Saturday night there are must-see shows in the venues around town.

    Maybe the problem is where you live.

    Presumably SXSW attracts talent. So you have about 2000 bands playing there every year in official showcases. Then you have a ton of other bands who play there in day show cases.

    Think of that. One festival, 2000 bands.

    Denver has its own versions of SXSW. We have at least three festivals featuring quality local bands. There's the Westword Showcase. The Denver Underground Music Showcase. The FoCo Music showcase. Each of those festivals has 200 local bands. All of them good to great bands.

    Move to Denver or Boulder or Northern Colorado if you want to see a wealth of talent. It's truly amazing what is happening here. You want to double check with people other than myself. I'll give you the names of local music editors who will tell you the same thing.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Music and scarcity

    I was just checking on the plans for the 2010 version of UMS. It will have over 300 bands.

    Musically Colorado is booming. There's a lot happening here. Talent doesn't happen to be scarce here right now. It's everywhere. And it's great fun to be part of it.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Music and scarcity

    I've lived in Colorado for a long time. We are having an absolute explosion of talent here. Aside from the fact that we are having four or five bands a year getting signed to major label deals, we have at least 50-200 talented bands with national potential, and many more who have devoted local fans. Every Friday and Saturday night there are must-see shows in the venues around town.

    Maybe the problem is where you live.


    Huh?!? I'm really confused. There is tremendous talent here, and in plenty of other places. And that's kind of the point. Why are you still insisting that those bands don't have any scarcities? People want to support the best bands, and while I've been finding a ton of wonderful new bands to support, it doesn't take away any of their scarcities.

    I can't replace the opportunity to see my favorite band with some other band. Those aren't substitutes.

    You were saying that there are no scarcities, and that's only true if the bands aren't very good and are easily substituted for one another, which is why I thought you were implying the music acts by you must suck. But now you're saying they're good? So what's the problem? They've got tons of scarcities.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Music and scarcity

    Why are you still insisting that those bands don't have any scarcities? People want to support the best bands, and while I've been finding a ton of wonderful new bands to support, it doesn't take away any of their scarcities.

    Most people don't have just a couple of favorite bands. So there are interchanges. If you want to go out, you'll find someone to go see. It happens all the time. If you have 10 great venues in your town and all of them have great acts, you have a choice.

    If you want music by your favorite bands, you can get it for free. And if you have their music, you don't necessarily need to have a t-shirt, or a limited edition package, etc.

    If you want to find a community online, not only can you bond with bands and their fans, you can also bond with thousands of other kinds of communities. Maybe it's more fun to hang out on the sports forums than on the music forums.

    There are pretty much multiple options for everything a band can offer -- community, collectibles, music, etc. People do like music by specific bands. They get it via streaming and downloads. They do not necessarily go any further than that.

    If I have a limited amount of money and I like to snowboard, I like to travel, I like the latest clothes, and I like great restaurants, I have various ways to spend my money. So maybe I get the music for free and spend my money on a trip to Aspen.

    Even with people, there aren't scarcities. If there were, people wouldn't get divorced. Maybe you decide the relationship you have right now doesn't work, but you don't mind giving it up because you know you'll find someone else.

    With the Internet, and freedom to move from one place to another, and a certain level of affluence, there's a lot of choice at all levels. We live in a world of options these days.

    I think like a marketing person. So for any given item or service that you offer, I will think of ways to counter it with something else. If you have a need or want, I'll look for multiple ways to fill it.

     

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  133.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: The real big dopes

    Sorry, but freeloaders do have a say. By downloading, they influence statistics. Anyone that keeps track of such statistics would notice patterns regarding popularity, and this in turns does influence genre/styles. Like you've pointed out, monetary income isn't the only yard stick by which popularity and success can be measured. In effect, freeloaders are "paying" after a fashion because their opinions will always be of value to someone, somewhere. The recent story regarding the movie 'Ink" is a good example. If one judged it's success by how much money it made, it would likely be labeled a failure and used as an excuse not to make any more movies like it. The bittorrent statistics tell another story however.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The real big dopes

    In effect, freeloaders are "paying" after a fashion because their opinions will always be of value to someone, somewhere.

    This is very true, although whenever we establish certain popularity standards, someone will likely game the system and then the standard becomes less meaningful.

    Friends and plays used to matter on MySpace until computers started jacking up the numbers. Now people are no longer getting label interest based on those numbers.

    I've been watching someone who is very popular on YouTube, but I haven't been sure if that will translate into any kind of financial revenue (other than YouTube ad revenue) yet. Popularity when it is free doesn't always mean fans will support it with their spending.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 5:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music and scarcity

    Most people don't have just a couple of favorite bands.

    Really? The research I've seen suggests otherwise.

    If you want to go out, you'll find someone to go see. It happens all the time. If you have 10 great venues in your town and all of them have great acts, you have a choice.

    Again, you falsely assume these are all interchangeable. They are not, or (again) you really aren't much of a fan of music.

    I'm sorry, but there are bands/singers that I will always support because they offer up much more that makes it worthwhile. It bothers me that you seem to be telling musicians not to do this, because you are failing them as a marketer.

    If I have a limited amount of money and I like to snowboard, I like to travel, I like the latest clothes, and I like great restaurants, I have various ways to spend my money. So maybe I get the music for free and spend my money on a trip to Aspen.

    Indeed, and yet the studies keep showing that people still spend the same amount of money on music related things as they did in the past.

    I really still can't figure you out. I honestly can't believe any musicians work with you for marketing advice, because you advice seems to be "don't do anything, you'll never compete." It's scary.

    Most people -- contrary to your claims -- do have favorite musicians, and they do value the scarcities that those musicians produce. I'm sorry that you seem to not have those types of musicians in your life. But don't make assumptions based on your situation.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:00pm

    The psychology of music fandom

    We like to have music in our lives and the amount of free music available now allows us to have lots of it.

    Whether we will pay extra for anything above free music depends on perceived value to us.

    Let's say a guy always goes to see band X. Technically he is a fan of band X. But let's say the real reason he goes is that band X attracts hot chicks in the audience. So if you give him a better way to hang out with hot chicks, he will probably do it.

    Let's say a teen wears a t-shirt that he purchased from band Y on the Warped Tour. Technically he is a fan of the band. But let's say that the real reason he's wearing the t-shirt is to impress his friends. If you provide him with better ways to impress his friends, he will probably do that instead.

    Let's say a guy has a massive fixation on pretty girl singer Z. His room is a shrine to her. Technically he is a fan of hers. But let's say that he's lonely and this is one way for him to connect to something/someone. If you provide him with a group of friends who invite him to parties and do stuff with them, he may be a bit less obsessive over the singer.

    Once you have moved beyond getting music itself, then you start tapping into various psychological motivations that in many cases can be met in various ways.

    The self-actualize person may turn out to be someone who is fully creative (not just listening to music but creating it and sharing it), with rewarding relationships, who isn't all that into consumption. Fandom fulfills needs, but many of those needs can be fulfilled in other ways as well. So the ultimate music experience may turn out to be hanging out with friends, playing music that you have created as a group. And since it has been argued on Techdirt that a lot of music is just a variation on what has been created in the past and should be available to everyone for free, then average people, given the right tools, should have the ability to create wonderful music themselves.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music and scarcity

    Most people don't have just a couple of favorite bands.

    Really? The research I've seen suggests otherwise.


    Do you have it? I can use it. It will be good for market projections. If the average fan only supports two or three band, then we can better understand how big the market is.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music and scarcity

    I really still can't figure you out. I honestly can't believe any musicians work with you for marketing advice, because you advice seems to be "don't do anything, you'll never compete." It's scary.

    There are a whole group of people who are making tech tools to allow everyone to create music. And there are others who believe everyone, not just the elite, can and should be artists.

    My ideas are very much in keeping with what is happening today. Lots of people can make music. And the more music we have, the smaller the audiences for each music creator. It's a world of niches taken to its ultimate end. Everyone makes music. No one has to buy it.

    It's a very populist view of arts, creativity, and music.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:40pm

    A potential scenario

    I create a tool that combines music that has already been written, plus generates new music, into pleasing compositions. I make it available for free. It works on anyone's computer or mobile phone. I invite everyone to upload their creations. We have millions of wonderful songs to choose from.

    In each town I invite people to meet in public spaces to dance and play music. It's free and open to everyone and becomes a great success. It becomes one of the most popular forms of live entertainment.

    We set up workshops during the community music festivals where everyone makes their own t-shirts. Everyone gets so inspired with what they have created themselves that we set up a new fashion trend.

    We give everyone the tools and opportunities to do what they have traditionally expected from others. They meet new friends, save money, and feel creative.

    Every time someone comes up with an interesting idea, we find ways to spread it to everyone, so they can all do it themselves.

    This is the Techdirt way, yes? At every opportunity we look for ways to minimize scarcity. Give everyone the tools to do it for themselves.

     

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  140.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: The real thing.

    Probably proportionate to the number of artists that can complete a piece in 2 hours 6 nights a week

    Who say an "artist" should only have to work 12 hours a week?

     

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  141.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Re: The real thing.

    No, there isn't.

    Consider the case of the Beatles' original studio recordings. So there's no difference (in economic value) between those and a Bealtes record? Seriously? Then I suggest you try buying them in order to learn the difference.

     

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  142.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Accept it at face value for what it is.

    When in doubt, just look at last month's Mike Masnick quote of the month:
    "Copyright has nothing to do with respecting, honoring or valuing the works of anyone."
    - Mike Masnick, Jan 25, 2010


    That's a pretty bland statement of well known fact. So how does it qualify for a "quote of the month" in your little mind?

     

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  143.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I understand the analogy, I just do not agree with it. TV commercials by themselves have no value.

    I guess you've never tried to buy one then, have you?

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 6:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music and scarcity

    A few questions about that research that people only have a few favorite bands.

    Is this over a lifetime? Would this mean that if you don't hook someone in their teens, you've lost them for good?

    Or if they don't remain loyal to just a couple of bands, how often do they change loyalties? How long is the average lifespan of fandom? Does the average fan like three bands now and then drop them and find three different bands a few years later? If so, how do they find new bands and why do they lose interest in the old ones?

    Definitely point me in the direction of this research. I can use it.

     

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  145.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There's only so much time in the world and it's not a pressing issue for me.

    If I am going to lobby politicians, it's not something I'm going to tell them to change.


    Translation: I only care about ME.

     

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  146.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That gets to my question, Is a musician still a musician if the musician's main job is designing, producing and selling 'scarce' (which I take to mean physical, hard to copy) goods?

    Who said that a musician's main job is designing, producing, and selling physical goods?

    In many cases you'll make more money and have more time to be creative if you have a good-paying day job and then make music for fun, creativity, self-expression, etc.

    Especially if you aren't very good at it. That's just the way free markets work. Many people just don't have what it takes to be successful as a musician. Now I know that they tell little kids that they can be whatever whatever they want to be when they grow up, (like a super rich celebrity or whatever, as long as it's rich), but for most that just isn't true. Sorry.

    I think there has been a prejudice that if you aren't making your living solely as a musician, you aren't good enough at it. But when you stop to analyze it, sometimes (actually often) it's not worth the hassle to do all the side projects you might have to do, many of which may only pay you a minimum wage when you calculate it by the hour. So if we start taking down the walls between "amateur" and "professional" and start thinking of everyone as a musician, just in varying degrees, then we may begin to look at the options in a more realistic and ultimately more satisfying way.

    Okay, so everyone's a musician. Some are just better at it than others. Much better.

     

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  147.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: change the perspective.

    Both originals and reproductions are scarce goods. The reproduction is just much cheaper to produce. (It is given an air of scarcity by numbering it.)

    No, reproductions are not naturally scarce goods. That's exactly why people add numbers and autographs to them, and so forth in an attempt to create scarce goods. That's also why numbered prints are more valuable: because there is only one with that number. And if there's only one of something, then it's scarce.

    Viewing an original in a gallery is the non-scarce good Kyle Clements was talking about.

    Who said otherwise?

     

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  148.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Okay, so everyone's a musician. Some are just better at it than others. Much better.

    How about more financially successful than others? I would say that some of the artists who do well on the Top 40 aren't necessarily more talented than others.

    I think if you are popular on a Disney show, for example, you're likely to have young fans who come to your shows, though you might not be consider the most talented artist out there among music purists.

     

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  149.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 7:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: change the perspective.

    Prints of artworks are not infinite. So, let's talk about something that is.

    Who said anything about prints? Reproductions can take other forms as well.

    Say a photograph of a painting exists, and is digitized as a JPEG file.

    Sigh. Otherwise known as a "digital reproduction".

     

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  150.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think if you are popular on a Disney show, for example, you're likely to have young fans who come to your shows, though you might not be consider the most talented artist out there among music purists.

    "Music purists"? What a bunch of snobbery. It's up to the fans to determine who they like.

    You seem to have the mindset that "a musician is a musician is a musician and the only difference is the marketing". That sounds like someone trying to sell "marketing" to musicians by convincing them that their talents are worthless and it all comes down to "marketing". Oh, wait. You're a marketer. That *is* what you're trying to do.

     

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  151.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Mar 2nd, 2010 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Music purists"? What a bunch of snobbery. It's up to the fans to determine who they like.

    You seem to have the mindset that "a musician is a musician is a musician and the only difference is the marketing". That sounds like someone trying to sell "marketing" to musicians by convincing them that their talents are worthless and it all comes down to "marketing". Oh, wait. You're a marketer. That *is* what you're trying to do.


    You're pretty funny. You take issue me saying that not everyone would find Disney artists an example of talent rather than marketing. Okay. I'm fine with that. Let the fans buy what they want.

    As for the marketing, I'm not selling anything. I've done marketing for artists, pro bono because they were too broke to hire me. I've been a sponsor and a patron. I've been one of those who has given artists money and free labor to help them out.

    What I have been writing about is the change I have seen in music consumption.

    (1) People can get music for free.
    (2) The recession has hit their wallets so they don't have as much to spend right now.
    (3) Technology is coming out that allows people with no musical experience to make music.
    (4) The Internet has given people many entertainment options. Music is just one of them.

    What a lot of people are talking about in terms of the future of the music industry is really just the major label system on a much smaller scale.

    What I am talking about is more revolutionary. And whenever Techdirt folks argue about copyright, I say, "Whatever. The music is going to be free. The creation of the music is going to be free. The scarcities built into music are also going to disappear. People will be able to make for themselves what they now buy from others." Will it mess up the income streams for some people hoping to make their livings from music? Yes. Of course a few will be able to do it. But we'll have a lot more musicians than we have now making music and giving it away, which will continue to change the economics of music.

     

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  152.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2010 @ 10:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The real big dopes

    I guess it all depends what is more important to an artist. For many it is money. For others it is views. I could probably make a modest living off of my work but then it wouldn't be fun anymore, transforming into something more akin to stress. Just sharing my work with others is more than satisfying and the only "payment" I hope to get is in the form of critiques, both good and bad. I've found through experience that the old axiom "money can't buy happiness" is very true. Bettering myself as a person and helping others if I am able is so much more rewarding. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, a bed to sleep in, a loving wife, and the freedom to do what I love. Life is too short to waste it wishing for all the things advertisers say I should. That is my philosophy anyways.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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