'Free' Culture Folks Discuss Models For Sustainable Creativity

from the start-thinking dept

Last year, I was invited to attend the FCForum's event on creating sustainable models for creativity in the digital age in Barcelona. Unfortunately, due to timing and conflicts, I was unable to attend, though I heard from many who were able to make it and enjoyed it. Out of that event, the FCForum has released their version 1.0 document which is described as a "How to for Sustainable Creativity." I take a bit of an issue with the title, which implicitly seems to suggest that creativity isn't naturally sustainable, and needs some sort of outside help. However, the document itself is an interesting read. It digs into what the current state of the market is in music, filmmaking, writing & publishing, fashion and software, and then looks at various economic models that can be used to support all of those. The discussions on each industry could certainly be fleshed out a bit, but there are some interesting visual representations, such as this breakdown of money going to a certain major label band:
When you look at images like that, you quickly realize the problem is not that the internet is eating away at money going to musicians, but that something isn't right in how musicians make money today. Thankfully, things are changing, and the ability to seek out competition, rather than remaining a major label act, means that artists have more control and aren't forced into ridiculous deals like the one above. The paper then goes on to look at some of those economic options.

Looking over the list, there isn't anything too surprising, but it's nice to see all these ideas in one place. I'm sure some will brush this off as being nothing special, but as a 1.0 document, it really does seem like a good start in highlighting the massive spectrum of possibility for creators to make money for being creative today. Of course, what I find interesting is that this is all being put together by the folks who the legacy industry likes to (falsely) declare "pirates" who "just want stuff for free." Yet, here they are, working hard to put together a rather helpful "how to" to help creative folks earn money. What has the industry done on that front other than complain to the government and sue their fans?

Separate, but related to this, Eric Goldman points us to a similarly interesting report on sustainable business models for university presses. It could almost be an appendix to the earlier report -- though this one is much more fleshed out. It's nice to see various university publishers thinking through these business model issues, and doing a pretty thorough job of it, rather than just complaining about how everything is failing.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 2:00am

     

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    Mr. Oizo, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 2:02am

    Advertising

    It would be nice to see how large the 'advertising' part in the record slice would be. Or actually, how the record company explains their part.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 2:51am

    yeah well, unfortunately that chart is some kind of whack. In what alternate universe does the producer make more than the recording studio?

    If that's how your budget looks, it sounds like you have no business being signed to any label, anywhere.

     

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      Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 2:54am

      Re:

      Wouldn't the budget be set up by the label? I don't think the artists get to choose the terms. So if the percentages seem wrong, it seems to be a bit disingenuous to lay that at the feet of the musician.

      Or was there some other point you were making?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 3:19am

        Re: Re:

        For sure, the label sets up the budget. But if your budget looks like that, it means you're either signed to a really bad label, or you have so little leverage artistically that you have a situation like that chart. tres bogus mon ami.

         

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          Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 4:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Once again, you're targeting the artist and I can't see why. Artists with leverage are recouped and many of them never get recouped thanks to that very tiny slice of the pie they get tossed their way, no matter their level of "artisticness" or whatever it is that you think is keeping them from greatness.

          Bad label = major label.

           

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      The eejit (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 3:00am

      Re:

      But that's the whole point. The labels are doing it wrong. That's 65% going to the label, with 35% amongst the rest. Doesn't that even seem remotely skewed in favour of the label?

       

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      abc gum, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 4:48am

      Re:

      I would be interested in data which shows how the chart is not typical of the industry, care to share or are you just blowing smoke.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 4:51am

      Re:

      It's funny that your major complaint is that the producer makes more money than the recording studio, when the artist is taking only about 1% of the profit.

      /begin sarcasm
      It shows that you are genuinely concerned with the guy that makes the music business possible (the artist).
      /end sarcasm

       

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    Jose_X, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 4:59am

    Band member included in the pie

    It's on the record diagram.. at just about 10:37:21 am.

    If you don't see it on the first try, keep in mind I had to stand up to position myself.

    And you'll see the pixel better with the lights off; however, if you find yourself staring for more than 10 seconds or so, you likely missed it and will need to rest your eyes first.

     

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    Shon Gale (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 5:18am

    'creating sustainable models for creativity' makes me goofy. Their is no model for creativity. Only non-creative people have the stupidity to even think that. Creativity is a non fettered process that if you could bottle it you would be rich, but you can't bottle it or categorize it. Before you know it, the non-creative bitches will force us to create in a regulated manner that produces only pablum and revolution. Remember Prohibition's lessons. You take something away from people that they want (Drugs, Gambling, Prostitution, ALCOHOL) they do it anyway and you create an underground more powerful than the government.

     

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    mike allen (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 6:06am

    This is why I hate record labels they all should die now without too much noise.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 8:26am

    Lawyer's Cuts

    A graph that I would find interesting would be one with all of the lawyer's cuts detailed. Not just the band's lawyer, but the labels' armies of lawyers, the studio's lawyer, agent (probably a lawyer), etc, etc.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 10:03am

    If that chart is true - that means an artist could just put songs up on an web-site, put up a 'donate' button and if 2% actually donate, they'll double their profits.

    Of course, if they add some value or setup a subscription service for even $9.99 a year, I'd bet they'd still profit more.

    That's what it's really about. The labels don't want that happening, it would send them into obscurity.

    It really goes for any product, once it can be replicated at will, the only way to attract business is to somehow add 'value' - such as the case in produce. Anyone can grow tomatoes, but we typically buy them. In essence, this concept has been around since the first person sold produce and made a profit.

    Of course, if you could click a button and instantly pop out tomatoes, imagine the laws that Monsanto would instantly lobby for.

    But in the case of produce, you are paying for convenience and time. Seems to me the recording industry, if they are to stay viable - needs to find value to add. Doesn't matter what the laws are... the can of worms is opened - people *know* you can replicate music quickly and easily. Even if torrent was squashed, it wouldn't stop people trading CD's and ripping them, or even recording them from XM/Cable Digital Feeds.

     

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    mrharrysan (profile), Mar 11th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    As a former indentured servant of a couple of majors, the chart is quite typical of the distribution of money in a major label deal. My management and I have piles of contracts and receipts to prove it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2011 @ 4:55pm

    That diagram pie chart is idiotic. Every indie I know of gives 50/50 splits. And every self released artist gets 100% of the profit.

    Pirates don't only pirate from major label acts. They don't really care who they pirate from.

     

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