by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 10th 2013 11:27am
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jan 7th 2013 8:45am
from the but-the-industry-is-dying dept
And, yes, the "but what about my $100 million movie" crowd will scoff and argue that this number is so "small." But, two points there: first, this number is growing very, very, very fast. And if you can't understand how trends explode, then you're going to be in trouble soon. Second -- and this is the more important point -- those funds helped create 8,000 films. For those who have been arguing about culture and how we're going to lose the ability to make movies... this suggests something amazing and important is happening which goes against all those gloom and doom predictions. By way of comparison, the UN, which keeps track of stats on film production, claimed that in 2009, 7,233 films were made. Worldwide.
Also, some will inevitably suggest that these aren't "real" films and don't "count" or aren't important. But, of course, the data shows that it's creating a nice long tail of film production, and that includes some very "real" films no matter how you measure. According to the Kickstarter post:
- At least 86 Kickstarter-funded films have been released theatrically, screening in more than 1,500 North American theaters according to Rentrak. Another 14 films have theatrical premieres slated for 2013.
- According to Rotten Tomatoes, three of the 20 best-reviewed films of 2012 are Kickstarter-funded (The Waiting Room, Brooklyn Castle, and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry). Another Kickstarter-funded film, Pariah, was among the best-reviewed of 2011.
- Two films have been nominated for Oscars in the past two years: Sun Come Up and Incident in New Baghdad. A third, Barber of Birmingham, launched a project after being Oscar-nominated. Three documentary features and two documentary shorts are currently shortlisted for Oscar nominations in 2013: The Waiting Room, Detropia, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, Inocente, and Kings Point.
- Kickstarter-funded films comprised 10% of Sundance’s slate in 2012 and 2013. In total, 49 Kickstarter-funded films have been official selections at the prestigious festival.
- Kickstarter-funded films comprised 10% of the 2012 slates at the SXSW Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival. In total, 57 Kickstarter-funded films have premiered at SXSW and 21 at Tribeca.
- At least 16 Kickstarter-funded films have been picked up for national broadcast through HBO, PBS, Showtime, and other networks.
- Kickstarter-funded films have won at least 21 awards at the Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Cannes, and Berlinale festivals.
- Eight Kickstarter-funded films are nominated for Independent Spirit Awards this year.
by Tim Cushing
Mon, Jan 7th 2013 5:39am
from the let's-discuss-this-rationally----I'll-start-by-setting-an-insane,-but- dept
Now, if you ask this same question of a certain 22-piece self-described "feminist alternative choir," the answer would be much, much different. Your initial estimate would need to be upped by approximately $4,850. Gaggle, the 22-member choir, has announced that they are selling their new single for £3,000 per download (no physical option exists). Why? Because they've chosen to use the persuasive power of economic fallacies to get people talking about "value."
Here's the womanifiesto:
"The Power of Money. What does money mean to you? How do you put a value on the things you care about? Is money the same thing as worth? Like it or not, money means that some people are rich and others poor, some considered successful, others failures. It determines your healthcare choices, education, clothes and how long you have the heating on for – whether you can have the things you want. But money is made up. Without our participation in the illusion, it's meaningless – in fact, if meaning equated to value, we would happily burn all the money tomorrow. Gaggle, of course, uses money. But Gaggle is an exercise in the power of other things as well – otherwise we wouldn't, and couldn't, exist. The Power of Generosity, Inventiveness, Courage. The Power of Flirting, Improvising, Blagging, Hard Work and Being Nice and Polite. The Power of Friendship, Faith, Obligation, Ambition, Anxiety…..Dreams. Without these Powers this track would not have been made. This song is precious. And yet, we're told that 'a single' is almost valueless. And that pisses us off. So we have done a budget of how much this single 'cost'. The many hours it took to write, arrange, compose, master; the expertise of all the musicians, technicians, designers, producers involved; the combination of all the Powers described above and more – we've totted it all up as best we can and… …we are putting this tune to market for the sum of £3000. The power of money? Let's see."Well, good luck with that. It's been said time and time before, the customer has little to no interest in your fixed costs. This factor is completely irrelevant to purchase decisions, which are most often based on a more subjective perception of "value." While Gaggle may value their creation highly, it would be ignorant to assume that potential purchasers will value the track accordingly. In an era where creative output is at its highest, the sheer number of competing, cheaper options would be enough to bury this track's chances, even if Gaggle decided £5 was a reasonable amount to ask. (It isn't.)
Beyond that, there's some questions as to Gaggle's math. Are they intending for one sale to reimburse the entire creative effort? 10? 25? Wouldn't it be better to sell a few thousand copies at a price that people will actually pay, rather than pin the hopes of the collective on sales in the single digits? For that matter, wouldn't this scenario be more likely as well? And is it really fair to ask purchasers to support 22 musicians through the purchase of a single track? Aren't you running about 10-15 members over the upper limit for potentially successful bands that aren't named Broken Social Scene or Chicago?
But the issue at hand here really isn't £3000 or the perceived value of a single track versus the true cost of production. Gaggle's move here is a publicity stunt, primarily aimed at raising awareness of the band with a secondary aim of opening a dialogue about the value of artistic endeavors. All well and good except that it's rather hard to hold a discussion with a group whose opening gambit is to hurl themselves off the deep end while everyone else looks on in bemusement.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 4th 2013 5:37pm
from the isn't-that-backwards? dept
And, the initial results are fantastic. They brought in $333k in the first day, which is pretty amazing. The site has a staff of seven, and it sounds like they're hoping to get over a million to cover salaries and expenses. Also interesting is that the $19.95 payment is a minimum option: there's a pay-what-you-want option above that, and "on average, readers paid almost $8 more" than that minimum. Of course, that data might be skewed by the fact at least one person ponied up $10,000.
First off, I'll say that I think this is a cool experiment and hope that Sullivan succeeds (as it appears he's likely to do). Considering that we're a site with somewhat similar traffic numbers (from what's been reported) and staff, it's encouraging to think that readers would step up and support it to that level. I'm happy that he's not going with a "paywall," but a solution that recognizes the value of having his readers be able to share and link to the blog without fear of bumping into a wall. Also, I agree wholeheartedly with Jay Rosen who highlights that what makes this work is the incredibly strong relationship Sullivan has built with his community. What's that saying? Oh yeah, connect with fans, give them a reason to buy. I've heard that one before. Also, something about being open, human and awesome. Sullivan hits on all those points. So it's very cool to see in action.
As excited as I am to see cool business model experimentation, and to see it in a manner that really is built on not locking up content, there are a few things that strike me as odd about this. These aren't criticisms, per se, because as I've said, I think that the idea is wonderful for a site like Sullivan's Daily Dish, and I think it's quite likely to succeed. But some of the statements that Sullivan made in announcing this, and some of the explanation, just doesn't ring true to me. First up, he tosses out that old chestnut about how "if you're not paying for the product, you are the product." And this is just days after we had a good explanation for why that saying is mostly bullshit. He follows that line with this one:
We want to treat our readers better than that, because you deserve better than that.That strikes me as equally inaccurate. Treating your readers "better" means making them pay? Really? Yes, it's working in that they're willing to pay (which is great), but it seems ridiculous to argue that your readers are so valuable... that they should pay you. Getting people to pay is a perfectly fine business model if you can pull it off, but it's no more noble than other business models. The readers in that situation may not be "the product," but now they're "the money," and that has its own issues.
Now, of course, we have plenty of experience with this ourselves. We've set up ways that readers can pay us directly as well (and we appreciate each and every one who has supported us in that way!). But we don't claim that one way is somehow more pure than the other -- and we try to focus on providing additional benefits for those who do decide to support us: whether it's neat features, opportunities to hang out or cool merchandise. But there's nothing more "pure" about one model than another.
My second issue is really the flipside of the first. Along with highlighting the "purity" of getting his audience to pay, he denigrates the entire concept of advertising:
The decision on advertising was the hardest, because obviously it provides a vital revenue stream for almost all media products. But we know from your emails how distracting and intrusive it can be; and how it often slows down the page painfully. And we're increasingly struck how advertising is dominated online by huge entities, and how compromising and time-consuming it could be for so few of us to try and lure big corporations to support us. We're also mindful how online ads have created incentives for pageviews over quality content.Now, it's absolutely true that an awful lot of advertising sucks in exactly the manner described above. But that doesn't mean it needs to be that way. There's a growing recognition in the industry that intrusive and annoying advertising is not the way to go for exactly the reasons that Sullivan explains above. But as we've discussed, when you do advertising right, it's simply good content itself that people want. That's why a month from now, the most popular thing on Superbowl Sunday won't be the football game, but the commercials. There are times that people seek out advertising and are happy to see it. And compelling ad/sponsorship campaigns need to be about that.
Now, it's reasonable to admit that many marketers haven't full grasped this concept, and dragging them, kicking and screaming, into this new era is not something that Sullivan and his team wants to take on. And that's a reasonable argument (and, as someone who's spent way too much time trying to convince marketers of this thing, only to see them default back to silly, pointless, misleading ad metrics, I can completely respect such a decision). But, it seems wrong to slam "all advertising" into a single bucket, just because some (or even a lot of) advertising is done really poorly.
Again, I think this is a great move for Sullivan and his blog, and wish him tremendous success. We're certainly watching closely from over here. But, it still makes me cringe a little to see those two claims being made in his announcement. Yes, perhaps it helps in the positioning -- and framing the whole thing as some grand social experiment in purity over crass commercialism. In other words, it's a form of marketing all on its own. But, I still think it's a bit unfair and exploitative, without being particularly accurate.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Dec 26th 2012 8:50am
from the you-can-watch-it-if-you're-not-in-a-country-that-banned-it dept
But, then, they took lots of folks by surprise and announced that they had put a copy up on The Pirate Bay as well. Even though they're selling it as an $8 DRM-free download, you can also get a copy at The Pirate Bay, where the 2 Player Production folks left a nice note:
Greetings Pirate Bay!Seems like they're taking a page straight from Louis CK and being open, human and awesome. I know it got me to hand over my $8 to them, and I imagine many others will do the same as well. Of course, if you live in the UK, where they've decided that nothing good could possibly happen on The Pirate Bay, you're not even supposed to see that message or apparently you might do something evil... even if they're saying it's fine to download it. Seems silly.
This is 2 Player Productions here, and we hoped we could be the first to upload our new movie "Minecraft: The Story of Mojang". We've never uploaded a torrent before so hopefully this isn't all screwed up.
We wanted to come here first because we knew the movie would end up here eventually, and the best thing to do seemed to be opening a dialogue. Torrents and piracy are a way of life and it probably won't be going anywhere anytime soon. There are many people that want to punish you for that, but we have a more realistic outlook on things.
We've been there. We've all needed to do it at some point. Maybe you don't have the money. Maybe you want to try before you buy. Maybe you're pissed at us for premiering the movie on Xbox Live. These are all fine reasons. But if you feel that piracy is, in Gabe Newell's words, "a service problem," please consider that we are selling DRM free digital downloads that you can watch in whatever manner you please.
We're just three guys trying to make a living doing what we love. We love the world of video games, and we love making it real. If you buy the movie, you support those efforts. The reason we Kickstarted this movie in the first place was that we didn't have enough money to make it ourselves, and even then, we still put A LOT of our own money into it. Not to mention nearly two years of work.
Watch the movie. Hopefully you'll like it, and understand what we're trying to do. Please consider supporting us by buying the $8 DRM-free digital download of the movie at www.theminecraftmovie.com, or the $20 DVD from www.fangamer.net.
We've worked with a lot of amazing people in the games industry and had the incredible fortune to make some great films the way we wanted to make them. Please consider helping us continue on this path. The best has yet to come.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Dec 19th 2012 2:56pm
Choose Your Own Hamlet Becomes The Largest Publishing Project On Kickstarter, Thanks To The Public Domain
from the you-can't-do-this-with-catcher-in-the-rye dept
- Copyright: Even if the head of the Author's Guild doesn't seem to know this, Shakespeare's works are in the public domain, meaning that anyone can use them however they want -- whether it's to make an exact copy (and, yes, there are plenty of those on the market) or to do a derivative work. There have been tons of remakes and updates on Shakespeare's work, and many of them are super creative, such as this one. Kinda demonstrates just how ridiculous it is for copyright maximalists to argue that without strong copyright protection, creativity gets killed off. Just the opposite, it seems. The ability to build on the works of the past quite frequently inspires amazing new creativity.
- Trademark: North refers to this as a "choosable path adventure" because:
"Chooseable-path" you may recognize as a trademark-skirting version of a phrase and book series you remember from childhood. Remember? Books in which... an adventure is chosen??Yes, they're not using the widely known phrase "choose your own adventure," because it's trademarked, and the owner of the mark has sued before. Of course, the story of the mark is interesting in its own right. Apparently, Bantam Books who helped popularize the original choose your own adventure books let the trademark lapse, and it was bought up by Ray Montgomery, who had run the small press that published the original books, but had not held the original trademark on it.
Either way, the book looks absolutely awesome, and if you want in on the Kickstarter offering, there are just a few hours left.
Wed, Dec 19th 2012 8:45am
from the not-exhaustive dept
That's exactly what Geek.com has put together, putting four other creators alongside Psy with brief descriptions of how they spurned copyright and were successful in spite of, or perhaps because of, that decision. The list includes names you should recognize by now, from Cory Doctrow to Louis CK and on to Peter Mountford. But one new name you'll see on this list is Shahrzad Rafati.
Where most content producers see pirated video as a negative for revenue, Shahrzad Rafati saw an opportunity. Rafati started Broadband TV in 2005 with the aim of monetizing and legitimizing pirated video. The Canadian company searches video sharing services, looking for copyrighted material. Instead of removing it, Broadband TV re-brands the content, includes relevant ads, and reposts. What once was infringing video has become a revenue source.
Rafati realized that people uploading videos aren’t doing it to be malicious. They just really enjoy the content and want to share it. A heavy handed approach to enforcement won’t work long-term. Broadband TV currently works with some big name partners like the NBA, Warner Brothers, Sony, and YouTube. The company also has a YouTube channel called VISO where users can watch sports, movie trailers, and news programs.Like the others, where Rafati had success is utlimately in identifying what people wanted and figuring out an amicable way to intersect that desire with content producers to create yet another success story. But, what you'll notice in these stories, the first step is in identifying and satisfying a public's need or want. What they never start with is a knee-jerk or angry reaction to that need.
The list is growing, regardless of what critics might suggest. If major media wants to get on board with these kinds of stories even further, they can win. If they don't, then I guess we'll just keep collecting the names and stories of others who do it better.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Dec 13th 2012 12:07am
from the a-swimmer? dept
But what’s more spectacular than the times, places, and races is Anthony’s unusual and creative marketing campaign and his unorthodox methods for connecting with fans and formulating his own brand. It’s something we’ve never really seen before. And as some of the post-Olympic sponsorship money begins to dry out for elite swimmers, it could be a precedent going forward -- a way to generate and self-brand and connect with fans, a way to keep going.A big part of this was an IndieGoGo campaign last fall, which raised $12,704, by really reaching out to his fans. And, as with typical crowdfunding campaigns, he's let some of his unique personality come through with the campaign and the possible awards. Since he's well known for dabbling in music as well, he offered to write people their own songs. And, of course, he also has offered up private swimming lessons for big donors as well.
What struck me about this is an entirely new way for swimmers to fund some of the more expensive swim tours out there. By providing creative incentives – like singing a song, or making a phone call – Anthony is literally giving back to the swim community dependent on the amount of support he gets. Also, throughout the Tour, Anthony’s journey is being updated. So not only can you donate, and then receive an autographed postcard, but you can also feel like you’re on the World Cup tour with him. Check out his Tweets, or his website. He’s uploading pictures of him talking to kids in Sweden, traveling around Russia.Of course, some may argue that there's nothing "new" here. And, to some extent, that's absolutely true. Lots of people are doing crowdfunding for different things these days. But it's still neat to see that these kinds of ideas are permeating into different areas where they haven't been used before, and that people elsewhere are taking their cue from some of the success stories in the music business. At the very least, it suggests that, perhaps, those embracing these new music business models aren't just on the right path, they're blazing a nice trail for tons of other areas as well.
It’s almost like Anthony has embraced some of the rock band roots he has and created his own “rock tour” of Europe, partially funded by his very own street team of loyal supporters. What’s amazing about all this is that bands have been doing this for years. Start-ups, films, photographers, long-distance athletes, too. And now, we’re seeing Olympic swimmers take to the Internet, to help fund their travels and excursions and training.
by Leigh Beadon
Wed, Dec 12th 2012 4:08pm
from the reason-to-buy dept
Back when we first launched the Insider Shop, we made two PDF ebooks available at any price you choose: Mike's Approaching Infinity (on new business models and the economics of abundance) and our Sky Is Rising report on the state of the entertainment industries. More recently, we launched three fiction titles by our own Tim Geigner—Digilife, Echelon and Midwasteland—also available on a pay-what-you-want basis. They were an instant hit, and we're in the process of preparing new ePub versions.
The thing we noticed right away was that a lot of people were choosing to pay, even though you can download all the books for free. Almost half of all book downloads were paid, with most people choosing the default $5 per book—even when buying four or five books at once—and several going above and beyond, with a few even paying $20 for a single title.
At this point, there's plenty of evidence that people will gladly, even eagerly, pay to support creators despite being given the option of getting something for free—and we're glad to add the success of our Insider Shop ebooks to the list. For those who want a closer look at the numbers, I put together a quick infographic:
Thanks to everyone who has downloaded our ebooks, whether you paid $0 or $20 or anything in between! If you haven't gotten your copies yet, head on over to the Insider Shop and check them out.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Dec 11th 2012 8:01pm
from the well,-that's-an-idea dept
In the FAQ, he makes it clear that the full name is absolutely required:
Q: I’m going to put a weird fake name in there, like Hoobop Skibbyskabby Lorbowl–will you say it?As for buyers, he notes that they can "sell it to somebody else for more than you paid for it–you can auction it off, you can exhibit it. All that stuff." Though, he makes it clear that he still retains the copyright, he also notes "there will doubtless be some sold person-to-person, or bootlegged, and I accept this as the nature of the world."
A: No. Essential to this piece is the actual, full name of the person who purchases it. If your name is indeed along the lines of “Hoobop Skibbyskabby Lorbowl,” you may be asked to provide documentation proving this is indeed your name.
Q: I hate my middle name! Will you omit it from my recording of “Dogs/Demons”?
A: Again, essential to this piece is the real, three-part name. If you have no middle name you may be asked to provide documentation; the same goes for multiple-middle-name possessors.
Q: I’d like the name of my friend, colleague, or partner said on my version of “Dogs/Demons,” as well as my own name, can you do that?
A: Alas, no: only one name can be in each recording.
He admits that he's more or less copying the idea of artist Ray Johnson as shown in the documentary How to Draw a Bunny.
While it's certainly not the best way to get that particular song heard widely, as part of a continuing strategy to draw attention for doing some unique things (and, who knows, maybe make some money in the process), it seems like an amusing experiment.