Author Robin Sloan Offers Up Money To Fans For Good Remix Ideas

from the but-remixing-isn't-creative! dept

I'm always amazed at the claims by some of our usual band of critics in the comments that "remixing isn't creative." They never seem to explain how something like what Kutiman has done could ever be considered not creative. Nor do they explain how taking a clip of a note and using it to make a new song is really different from using a keyboard (which plays "pre-recorded" notes) and playing a song. And we've certainly seem plenty of content creators encourage remixing of their work, and now more and more musicians have been purposely releasing stems and asking fans to make their own mixes. But how about with a book?

A few months back, we wrote about how author Robin Sloan was offering a tiered support model, similar to what many musicians have done, so he could write a novella. He used Kickstarter, and it turned out to be a huge success, with him earning much more than he originally targeted as his goal. The novella has been published, and apparently it's getting quite a response. But Sloan has realized that you don't stop there.

He's taking things a step further, and has reserved $1,000 as a "remix fund," to encourage people to take the book that he just wrote (which is available for download in a variety of formats under a Creative Commons license) and do some sort of remix project on it. He's asking his supporters to pitch remix ideas (including how much it would cost to do), and then those who helped pay for the creation of the original story will vote on the ideas -- and the top ones will get funded (until the $1,000 runs out):
I wrote and published Annabel Scheme with the help of about 600 patrons. It's got­ten a warm reception from read­ers, but I'm greedy! I want more: I want other people to trans­form it and make it their own. If you're a writer, an artist, a musician, a mathematician, a pastry chef--or a fan of one of the above--where could you or they take this story? I want to find out.
It's yet another cool way of connecting with fans, and going explicitly against what copyright allows. It's explicitly encouraging people to copy his work and even offering money to them if they do a good job. I imagine this will confuse those who will say "but... wait, he should be getting paid any time anyone wants to do something with his characters." But what Sloan appears to recognize is that building up a larger audience for his works will certainly pay off a lot more in the long run than trying to squeeze people in the short run.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2009 @ 5:30am

    I don't think keyboards actually use a "pre-recorded" notes. The note is generated by the circuitry each time the key is pressed.

     

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  2.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Dec 31st, 2009 @ 7:26am

    I imagine this will confuse those who will say "but... wait, he should be getting paid any time anyone wants to do something with his characters." But what Sloan appears to recognize is that building up a larger audience for his works will certainly pay off a lot more in the long run than trying to squeeze people in the short run.

    Mike, you lack in originality, just like most remixers.

    If a writer wants to put something into CC, just like open source software, or the like, they are more than welcome to do it. What is objectionable would be someone like you using this example and hitting every other author over the head and telling them this is the only way to operate in the future.

    It's just like giving music away for free. If an artist wants to do it, more power to them. But the rest of the music world shouldn't be dragged into it unless they want to be there.

    There is a huge difference between consensual and non-consensual acts. In the real world, it's the difference between making love and rape.

     

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  3.  
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    Richard (profile), Dec 31st, 2009 @ 7:58am

    Re:

    You're wrong there - some do - but then again what's the difference?

    The sound that a CD player makes is also "generated by the circuitry".

    Once you get into a compressed format like mp3 then there is really no clear distinction between playing back and synthesising.

     

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  4.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 31st, 2009 @ 8:21am

    Re:

    "What is objectionable would be someone like you using this example and hitting every other author over the head and telling them this is the only way to operate in the future."

    Show me where he did that and I'll join you in a chorus of calling Mike a moron. I just don't think he's EVER suggested a uniform approach to any content creation/distribution/business. But hey, I've been wrong before, so feel free to show me....

    "But the rest of the music world shouldn't be dragged into it unless they want to be there."

    Agreed, but we can certainly share some of the success stories here, can we not?

    "There is a huge difference between consensual and non-consensual acts. In the real world, it's the difference between making love and rape."

    Okay, the correlation is kind of silly, but that reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by that idiot Bobby Knight:

    "I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it."

     

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  5.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Dec 31st, 2009 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re:

    Mike does it by pulling the "smart dumb" routine. He calls people who are giving away their music and looking to sell scarcities as smart, and anyone trying to protect their rights as dumb. He says it is dumb to fight piracy, which implies it is smart to pirate.

    He absolutely suggests a uniform distribution model: Put it on the internet for free and quit fighting.

     

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  6.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 31st, 2009 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "He says it is dumb to fight piracy, which implies it is smart to pirate."

    Er, no, I don't think so. Doesn't it imply that it's smart to EMBRACE piracy, on the content creator side?

     

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  7.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Dec 31st, 2009 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It does both - it both says you should embrace piracy, and that it is smart to pirate (because all the cool kids are doing it).

    Piracy without pirates is, well, nothing, right?

     

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  8.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Dec 31st, 2009 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry, I don't follow the logic there.

    But I also seem to recall severall instances when Mike discusses specifics in which he says something along the lines of "This won't work in all cases", or "This might only work for...", so I fail to see where uniformity is promoted here. Also:

    "He absolutely suggests a uniform distribution model: Put it on the internet for free and quit fighting."

    Such an overgeneralization is kind of ridiculous. You can do better than that. Make me think, not snigger....

     

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  9.  
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    Get Money, Dec 31st, 2009 @ 9:35am

    Great idea!

    This is a great idea. Sometimes these guys need a little help in the creativity department.

    I bet he'll get a lot of takers on this offer!

     

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  10.  
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    The Anti-Mike, Dec 31st, 2009 @ 9:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And once again, I commit an epic fail. Reading comprehension and willingness to be wrong are not things I, as the Anti-Mike, understand. And this echo will persist as long as I, the Anti-Mike, keep letting my troll side (see the other TAM above) get out of control. Anyone have a sledgehammer handy?

     

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  11.  
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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Dec 31st, 2009 @ 11:51am

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

    Mike usually drops into the "won't work for everyone" mode when pressed, but for the most part the presentation of ideas here is "this is smart, the old way is dumb" period.

    When it comes to distributing music, Mike sees only one way, put it on the internet for free, end. Unless of course you artificially create a scarce good by making some shiny plastic discs and including a $3 guitar amp with them or something.

    Basically, he doesn't seem to think that there should be any retail market for recorded music, it should just be considered advertising, and those lazy ass musicians can go out and work for a living like the rest of us, doing as many shows as they need to make a living at it.

    His perfect model is Corey Smith.

    It goes down to his very basic belief, that what he learned in first year econ (supply and demand) has said that music is infinite supply, thus has no retail price. It is free.

    It is a fairly poor application of the concept, but it his underlying idea, and it drives everything else on the site regarding music (and to some extend movies as well).

     

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  12.  
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    Dementia (profile), Dec 31st, 2009 @ 12:14pm

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

    Please show me where he has ever said there should be no market for recorded music. I will freely admit that he strongly hints that, but he also justifies it. Certainly perfecting their art took time, effort, and money, but that doesn't mean recordings, which cost next to nothing, should be outrageously expensive either. The scarcities should be, and are, worth something. The infinite, or nearly so, are not. In the modern age, when an artist can perform live in a different city every week, recordings should become a way of building a fan base, not your prime method of making money. Although, to be honest, recorded music has never been a prime money maker for the artist, has it?

     

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  13.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 1st, 2010 @ 11:13am

    Re:

    Some keyboards are synthesizers, and some are samplers. Most good ones are the latter (synthesizers are better at creating new sounds than mimicking something like a piano) - and the samplers do indeed use a set of pre-recorded notes.

     

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


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