'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.

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Comments on “'Free' Culture Folks Discuss Models For Sustainable Creativity”

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Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Jose_X (profile) says:

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.

Shon Gale (profile) says:

‘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.

Overcast (profile) says:

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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