Which Is Better: A Tiny Number Of Creators Hitting The Jackpot... Or Many Making A Living Wage?

from the take-your-pick dept

When we point to examples of musicians or other content creators embracing new business models to make a living, one of the complaints sometimes is that the amount of money they're making is not huge. They're making a living, but they're not living the rockstar lifestyle. We sometimes get snide comments like "get back to us when so-and-so doesn't have to share an apartment any more." But, of course, the people who complaint these creators aren't making a huge amount of money are comparing the wrong things. They're comparing these independent creators to the massive success stories. What they should be comparing these artists to is where they'd be under the old system. That's because the old system had an extreme bimodal distribution. A tiny, tiny, tiny percentage became superstars, and everyone else went home and did something else. That is, the old system was akin to a lottery ticket. Most people end up with nothing, and a very very few end up with a ton.

However, what the changing marketplace and lowering barriers now allows is for people who almost certainly never would have won that lottery ticket in the past to make a decent living doing what they love: creating content. In the past, that would have been relegated to a hobby, rather than a career. Today, it has a much higher likelihood of being a career. No, this doesn't mean "anyone" can be a musician, but it does mean that those who want to be a professional creator have many more opportunities to make it happen today. Peter Friedman points this out in a post about how artists today learn to "cobble together successful careers," which is built off of a post by Laure Parsons at QuestionCopyright referring to "the cobbler" model for content creators.

In that post, Parsons calls the old model -- the one we described as the lottery ticket -- as the "gambler model," where you're basically rolling the dice on whether or not your career will be a success or will plummet. And notes that the "cobbler model," may not be as sexy, but you have a higher likelihood of success. The risk is lower, and the payoff is likely lower, but you can actually build a predictable career around it -- and for many content creators, that's certainly good enough. This isn't to suggest it's the only model. In fact, it's not. There's still room for rock stars and lottery tickets. But, when we're looking at some of these content creators who are making a good living as professional musicians, the proper comparison is not to Mick Jagger, but to what they'd be doing if they were living in the world a few decades ago: and the answer is they probably wouldn't be making music at all.


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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 7:45pm

    If someone who is successfully and actively bringing joy and entertainment to thousands, tens of thousands, or more people can't reliably pull down the salary of your average software developer or junior attorney on that basis alone, the system is broken and the market has failed.

     

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 13th, 2010 @ 7:54pm

      Re:

      But that's what we have now except that the the salary would be more like a dishwasher in a diner than the average software developer for the vast majority.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 7:59pm

        Re: Re:

        But that's what we have now except that the the salary would be more like a dishwasher in a diner than the average software developer for the vast majority.

        Yep, and we are moving to a model where they've been upgraded from dishwashers to Subway sandwich artists, and the top guys are pulling down just enough to rent a one bedroom condo in LA as long as they don't have any real health problems. Where are my sunglasses, the future is so bright and shiny I can barely look at it.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 8:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Odd. Could you point me to these top guys that have been cursed to such average lifestyles?

          I know of plenty who are in big trouble with tax agencies, and will probably have their 5 mansions reclaimed sometime in the next five decades, but I don't think that's who you're describing.

           

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          TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 6:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I, too, am curious to know where these top guys are who are pulling down so little.

          It's not like the actors and musicians so slavishly followed by the gossip mags, "entertainment" shows and so on are what the vast majority of us would call poor. If that is the case then I suspect something other than a lack of copyright is the problem.

           

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          wrckl, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 12:47pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Please get with the program forget average it is silly the normal programmer the MODE makes 50,000 - 60,000 they are not Rock Stars they just make a living and so do the artists do some deserve more yes do some deserve less yes LIFE is not FAIR and you are an idiot.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 8:09pm

      Re:

      How did you reach such an odd conclusion? After all the software devs work may also be successfully and actively bringing joy to thousands.(and more importantly bringing practical solutions to thousands)

      Besides artists would be getting paid based on how their product is valued, how is that in anyway a failure of the market? (current value was created via monopoly and thus was artificial to begin with)

       

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      cc (profile), Aug 13th, 2010 @ 8:34pm

      Re:

      Obvious flamebait... but I'll bite.

      Software developers not only create something of practical value that improves people's daily lives, they occasionally have to take on a HUGE amount of responsibility -- who do you think writes the software the runs the internet, or your car, or airplanes, and so on? People's lives depend on the devs doing a good job!

      Entertainers are just.. clowns. They are a luxury for those who have money to waste, and even if they all disappeared tomorrow, it would make little difference to the world.

      I simply HATE it when people put "artists" on a pedestal like they are something special. They aren't.

       

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        MrWilson, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 12:34pm

        Re: Re:

        More obvious flamebait, but I'll bite...

        Just because art is on a higher and thus less essential tier of Maslow's hierarchy of needs doesn't mean that art isn't valuable. And when the population is so high, everyone needs a job, and some people have talent that lies in entertaining others. All those software engineers would be depressed if they couldn't go home and watch the SyFy channel after a hard day of writing code.

         

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          cc (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 4:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Just because art is on a higher and thus less essential tier of Maslow's hierarchy of needs doesn't mean that art isn't valuable. And when the population is so high, everyone needs a job, and some people have talent that lies in entertaining others."

          Didn't say it wasn't valuable, just that it's less valuable.

          You brought up Maslow's hierarchy, so let's work with that: software is in the bottom two levels, art consumption (opposed to creation) isn't even there. "Creativity" is placed at the top, but that could equally imply either art or software development.

          If you remove software, then people move down the hierarchy; if you remove prefab art, then what happens exactly?

          "All those software engineers would be depressed if they couldn't go home and watch the SyFy channel after a hard day of writing code."

          Of course, I'm sure ubergeeks would slit their wrists if they didn't have the syfy channel!

           

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            JEDIDIAH, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 3:54am

            SyFy as an example of Art Crassius Maximus would love..

            >> "All those software engineers would be depressed if they
            >> couldn't go home and watch the SyFy channel after a hard
            >> day of writing code."
            >
            > Of course, I'm sure ubergeeks would slit their wrists if
            > they didn't have the syfy channel!

            Yeah. If anything, the Sci-Fi channel is the perfect example of how the current regime fails utterly. They put out dreck make fan made videos appear elevated by comparison. Meanwhile, the classics of the genre are all played on other channels that don't have any apparent connection to Science Fiction.

            SyFy is the perfect example of what happens when you let bean counters looking out for the lower level of Maslows pyramid try and create "art". You get trash that devalues itself.

             

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        Cixelsid, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

        Re: Re:

        As a software developer I approve of this post!

         

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        vivaelamor (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 1:01pm

        Re: Re:

        'Software developers not only create something of practical value that improves people's daily lives, they occasionally have to take on a HUGE amount of responsibility -- who do you think writes the software the runs the internet, or your car, or airplanes, and so on? People's lives depend on the devs doing a good job!

        Entertainers are just.. clowns. They are a luxury for those who have money to waste, and even if they all disappeared tomorrow, it would make little difference to the world.

        I simply HATE it when people put "artists" on a pedestal like they are something special. They aren't.'


        Isn't that putting software developers on a pedestal? They're not special either. Anyone can develop software, some people choose to do it for a living. Anyone can create art, some people choose to do it for a living. Software may seem in more demand right now, but I'd wager that art will be here long after all the useful code has been written.

         

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          cc (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 4:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No. I make no claim that software engineers are special, just that software is of more practical value to society than art. Similarly, doctors are more valuable to society than software engineers.

           

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            Anne, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 10:59pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            A world of health care and IT professionals with no music or TV.

            Now I really do want to slit my wrists.

             

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            vivaelamor (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 3:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "No. I make no claim that software engineers are special, just that software is of more practical value to society than art." Firstly, software is art, it's just not a widely entertaining form of art. So for clarification, I'm comparing software to 'art for entertainment'. Let's look at the evidence. We know that software is not essential because it's recent. We know that entertainment is as old as our nature. We don't know if we'll need to always create new code. I can't imagine a world without people wanting new entertainment. Software is only a means to an end, whereas entertainment is an end in itself. Software could potentially save the planet from destruction, a lack of entertainment might make the issue of destruction a moot point.

             

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            vivaelamor (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 3:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "No. I make no claim that software engineers are special, just that software is of more practical value to society than art."

            Firstly, software is art, it's just not a widely entertaining form of art. So for clarification, I'm comparing software to 'art for entertainment'.

            Let's look at the evidence. We know that software is not essential because it's recent. We know that entertainment is as old as our nature. We don't know if we'll need to always create new code. I can't imagine a world without people wanting new entertainment.

            Software is only a means to an end, whereas entertainment is an end in itself. Software could potentially save the planet from destruction, a lack of entertainment might make the issue of destruction a moot point.

            (defaulting to html sucks)

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 12:44pm

      Re:

      I dish out $20+ to go to plenty of indie Hip-Hop & Rock events packed with anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand people. From what I see, they get a decent cut from the door and merchandise sales for a one to two hour show. If they are talented and have a good work ethic they will make decent money, just like in any other industry.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 2:23pm

      Re:

      Apples and oranges still. Software developer and attorney are professional jobs. Proper comparison is to any artisan working a skilled trade. Carpenter, plumber, electrician.

      Artists, artisans, professionals, laborers, service providers. Any given 'job' overlaps several of these categories. Your 'content creators' are largely artists, with a touch of artisan. Therefore THAT is the comparison you should make.

      And those with talent, luck, or both, can still win the lottery and be elevated to rockstar status.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 11:06pm

        Re: Re:

        Actually, professional jobs are those that require a) some sort of advanced academic training, and b) a license to practice. Software developer is as much of a skilled trade as a musician, artist, or writer.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 3:11pm

      Re:

      Supply and Demand

       

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    RD, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 8:02pm

    Wrong answer

    "Which Is Better: A Tiny Number Of Creators Hitting The Jackpot... Or Many Making A Living Wage?"

    Neither, according to the Big Greedy Media companies. The correct answer is, the "essential" middle-man and corporate leaders taking 90+% of all monies for themselves. At least, thats what APPEARS to be the answer since that is what they try to DO.

     

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      MrWilson, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 8:38pm

      Re: Wrong answer

      Hey! The music wouldn't exist without the middle man!

      If the recording executives all quit today, the musicians would quit too, realizing that there was no reason to go on. Musicians don't know how to manipulate the market to make a number one hit. They just pluck strings and bellow made up lyrics. The executives are the real content creators!

      How are artists supposed to understand how payola works? What rock star has the time to find a good lawyer to sue all his fans for copyright infringement? Don't you understand how music is created? It couldn't exist without the industry!

      /sarcasm

       

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        Ed C, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 9:34pm

        Re: Re: Wrong answer

        Ironically, you're right! The media-manufactured "pop stars" would NOT exist without the industry. Personally, I think that's all the more reason why the industry needs to DIE--to make room for all of the real artist. (Not to say that there aren't any real artist caught-up in the machine--there will be plenty of room for them in the NWO.)

         

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        Simon, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 5:18am

        Re: Re: Wrong answer

        I was going to click "funny", but the redundant '/sarcasm' tag ruined it.

         

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          MrWilson, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 12:30pm

          Re: Re: Re: Wrong answer

          I've noticed that some people on the internet have turned off their sarcasm detectors (I'm pretty sure Internet Explorer hasn't implemented that feature yet), so I try to save myself the effort of having to response to silly accusations that I was being serious.

          Next time, I'll leave it out.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 8:40pm

    Well...

    ...if Minecraft is any example, the former is definitely better, because I'll be damned if it isn't a better game already than nearly anything I've played from a major studio in the past five years.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 8:43pm

    Many making a living wage is my vote.

    But that is besides the point, the real question is can they?

    I'm sure they can, even with the reality that there will be a free part included in the business no matter what some may wish for, that part is not negotiable, never was and is not even up for discussion, people will take it and there is nothing others can do about it, if they didn't find a way to stop it in 20 years what makes some think there will be a solution anytime soon in the near future?

    Sometimes I think mold is smarter than some people, at least it doesn't keep dwelling in things it can't control it just moves on to the next meal and in the process it always find the best way to do it, it doesn't try to swim against the current, it doesn't go against the grain if it doesn't have to.

     

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      Chris Eastvedt (profile), Aug 13th, 2010 @ 9:59pm

      Re: AC #10

      For the right creator, the independent route can absolutely be the best way to go. The corporations that be were not always so mighty- they got their start at the bottom like everyone else and had to learn how to build themselves up.

      Anyone with the capacity to learn from mistakes and the passion to persevere has a decent shot at reaching success. That's what's so amazing about this point in time; technology is a great equalizer. It's not about having a bottomless wallet, but how wisely and creatively you apply the resources you do have. That's what grassroots campaigns are all about, and some of them, do make it big. Politics is a prime example.

       

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    Trav, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 8:48pm

    What the?

    After been surprised that few friends did not know who Stephen Hawking is, I asked a few more 5/5 knew who Justin Bieber was 0 knew who Hawking was.

    Geniuses like that do not come around often. But if every celebrity died, we would replace them with a hundred new ones in months, they come and go like flies.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 9:03pm

    I saw in Youtube an interview with Harlan Ellison the guy is batshit crazy still it kept me thinking about creation of works and how Cameron that is more successful than Ellison described him as a parasite because of the lawsuit on the Terminator.

    Every content creator engage life to create anything they will even tell you in college to do it, but I think from now on they also will tell you to not tell anybody from where your inspiration came from or you risk ending up like Cameron that said he got the ideas for Terminator from 2 short stories from Harlan Ellison who later sued and told on camera that if people just asked he would give it for free and some years later is saying "I don't take a piss without getting paid", would Mr. Ellison tell people were he got his ideas from? I doubt he would be honest.

    Most people complaining about don't seem to value work, they are quick to make fun of blue collar jobs or macjobs, I don't think those people value others work but are asking to be respected even though they don't extend the same courtesy to others, funny how things work.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 11:02pm

      Re:

      You do know the rest of the story, right? That Cameron went around bragging to some reporters that he "ripped off" a couple of Ellison's stories for Terminator? And that anyone who is in the business knows how pugnacious Ellison is and how quickly he'll take up a fight if he thinks he's being screwed? And how he's said that if only Cameron had come to him and said, "I've got a different twist on this idea you had, would you mind if I did something with it," he would have told Cameron to go ahead with his blessing?

      So much of what pisses off writers, artists, musicians, and the like is being treated as stupid and someone not even due common courtesy.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 12:51am

        Re: Re:

        Yes still even though I don't like Cameron that much I don't think he should have to pay anything to Mr. Ellison is just that the justice system enable juvenile behavior on the part of people.

        Copyright should never cover "derivative works" which is what Terminator was, it was not a verbatim copy it got some loose parts of those stories and made something iconic. If Mr. Cameron had not bragged about it to the magazine, which to me seems a lot like somebody asked him the question "from where the inspiration for Terminator came from?" and he answered "I got it from some stories of Ellison's" or "I ripped off from some stories Ellison wrote years back", Mr. Ellison would have never had a chance in hell in court because he wouldn't be able to prove, it was a derivative work and wouldn't be able to prove infringement even if it was even more close to the stories he wrote, copyright at least for now only protects expressions of ideas not ideas.

        Mr. Ellison uses the judicial system to hurt others he don't like, he is the poster boy of what is wrong with copyright laws with his repugnant behavior, even Asimov told people that Mr. Ellison is the most disagreeable person he ever met and that is code for "jerk".

        What pisses people off should never be relevant to the law specially when it have no real impact on security and well being of people.

        I think those writers, artists, musicians and the like should learn patience and no confrontational methods for conflict resolution and not be enabled by the law to act like 5 years old "its mine! its mine! its mine!" trying to expand the already vast rights they have even further.

        For that they have no sympathy from me.

         

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        JEDIDIAH, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 4:03am

        Crass is still crass even if you poke it with a stick

        Ellison is a jerk. The fact that someone chose to "punk" him does not alter the fact that he has no class when compared to the likes of Flint, or Herbert, or Kurosawa, or even JMS.

        Ellison is the poster child for why there needs to be a more sane copyright term. He's the kind of idiot that causes Fox to sue Universal over Battlestar Galactica.

        Having actually seen Harlan's Outer Limits episodes I think he's one big fat joke.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 9:16pm

    What is the difference from a story teller that is a genitor and a story teller that is a hollywood screenwriter?

    Do the son of a genitor cares about a hollywood screewriter or likes less his father's stories because he is a genitor?

    Do kids place more value on the stories "professionals" tell than the stories they hear from their friends, teacher and other people they engage in life?

    Do people care if good music comes from the guetto or from a big label?

    Rap came from where?
    Soul music came from where?

    I think those SOB's forgot what culture means and are just to vain to understand how things work, this will harm them tremendously but I don't care, I'm angry at those people, for being selfish and not having the balls to live life without spoiling it for everybody else.

    When I lost my job I didn't blame anybody else, I tried then I realized it was just life and I should move on, which was great I found a better living, I think everyone should go broke at least once to learn what is like to fail, what is like to not have control over things and bla bla bla, is good for the soul, it is hard but I do truly believe it makes people better persons when they are able to let go of things, I don't expect things anymore, it makes me anxious, it makes me angry when it comes short of my expectations, it makes me combative and anti-social, F. let go of your expectations and live a better life, treat others as equal no matter what they do for a living or how intelligent they are, we all depend on each other and we all have a role to play inside society does it really matter what we do? or is more important that we do something anything.

     

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 8:20pm

      Re:

      "Rap came from where?" The black ghettos of large US cities even if it was an update of talking/walking blues. Essentially it's rhyming slang to music and scratches. The cockney's in London latched onto it because they've been doing rhyming slang for centuries as well.

      "Soul music came from where?"
      Essentially it's secularized hymn singing styles from black churches in the southern USA. Sometimes sped up, sometimes not.

      Anyway, they have no idea of culture just who they can screw to get more money in their pockets. For now copyright perversion is the easiest way.

       

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 13th, 2010 @ 9:57pm

    The rise of the part-time creator

    I'd say the true new model is the opportunity for millions of people to create stuff in their part-time and upload it.

    YouTube just ran a crowdsourced video contest inviting people to submit videos that might be incorporated into a movie.

    YouTube's 'Life in a Day' Receives 80,000 Video Submissions from Around the World: "Submissions for YouTube's Life in a Day project came to a close on Saturday, July 31, 2010, with the total number of submissions reaching 80,000 and representing 197 countries, in 45 different languages. Of the results, Executive Producer Ridley Scott (Robin Hood, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down) said, 'I'm thrilled at the success of the Life in a Day project to date. The sheer number of uploads to the channel is astonishing and exceeds our expectations. I'm as fascinated as anyone by what kind of videos people have uploaded and the kind of film which will result from this innovative endeavor.'"

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 13th, 2010 @ 10:10pm

    Re: The rise of the part-time creator

    And this will give you an indication of what is happening in book publishing. I added the bold.

    Self-Published Titles Topped 764,000 in 2009 as Traditional Output Dipped: "A staggering 764,448 titles were produced in 2009 by self-publishers and micro-niche publishers, according to statistics released this morning by R.R. Bowker. The number of 'nontraditional' titles dwarfed that of traditional books whose output slipped to 288,355 last year from 289,729 in 2008. Taken together, total book output rose 87% last year, to over 1 million books."

     

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      cc (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 12:02am

      Re: Re: The rise of the part-time creator

      That's interesting, thanks for posting.

      Just struck me that even though the book publishers may be the last ones to join the internet/piracy panic, they may be the first ones who will be decimated.

      Unlike the music and film publishers, the book publishers are the only ones who haven't had any big disruptions by technology since Gutenberg -- perhaps their lobbyists weren't as prepared for this fight as the other industries'?

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 3:40am

        Re: Re: Re: The rise of the part-time creator

        "Unlike the music and film publishers, the book publishers are the only ones who haven't had any big disruptions by technology since Gutenberg"

        You're right, but I'd also suggest that book publishers have less media obsolescence (sp?) to deal with than movie/music publishers. How many people do you know that are REALLY attached to their CD jewel case? Or that weird DVD case that's impossible to open?

        Books are different that way. People, a great many people, LOVE holding the tome in their hands. I don't know if it's enough to save printed publishing, but it's there....

         

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          cc (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 4:40am

          Re: Re: Re: Re: The rise of the part-time creator

          True. I personally don't think it will be enough to save the book publishing industry, especially in the long run. The younger generations seem to be perfectly content with ebooks, as they have no emotional/nostalgic attachment to the dead-tree format. I don't doubt that there will always be demand for physical books, though I expect the volume to decline (we could draw a parallel with vinyl vs CDs, I suppose).

          What would really put the nail in their coffin would be on-demand printing of ebooks by small print-shops...

           

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            Jon Renaut (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 5:10am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The rise of the part-time creator

            The book publishing industry has had its chance to learn from the music industry, who got hit first by digital distribution. For the most part, they're making the same mistakes as music did.

            At the same time, just like in music, I think we're better off with a ton of authors making a decent living rather than a bunch of writers with second and third jobs plus a few rock stars.

             

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            TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 11:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The rise of the part-time creator

            I'm not to sure. Which isn't to say that e-books don't have they're place but there are many cases where an e-book is NOT the answer and is unlikely to be such as manuals, cook books, some gardening books and other places where the situations that the document is being used either aren't idea or require/invite making notes, dog-earing and so on.

            As long as copyright stays as it is I can't see a publisher allowing on demand printing without a stiff price equal to, at least, the cost of the shelved book.

            And I'll line up with Dark Helmet on this one the serious readers I know under 35 think the Kindle and it's like are jokes, hard to read and just silly and they actually prefer the dead tree version.

            The reasons range all the way from them not being books or as flexible as books to the DRM and the fact that properly bound books are simply "better" in their eyes. The up front cost is a factor as well.

             

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              nasch (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 8:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The rise of the part-time creator

              Which isn't to say that e-books don't have they're place but there are many cases where an e-book is NOT the answer and is unlikely to be such as manuals, cook books, some gardening books and other places where the situations that the document is being used either aren't idea or require/invite making notes, dog-earing and so on.

              You're referring to current e-books. It is certainly possible future e-books could do all of those things well. Obviously you can't literally dog-ear a page but there will be good bookmarking systems. I doubt paper books will ever completely disappear, but inevitably ebooks will get much, much better, and a lot cheaper too. The near obsolescence of paper reading seems equally inevitable.

               

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          Dementia (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 4:47am

          Re: Re: Re: Re: The rise of the part-time creator

          I have to admit to being one of them. I much prefer to read an actual book, be it hard cover or paper back, than to try and read a story off of a screen.

           

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        Simon, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 6:29pm

        Re: Re: Re: The rise of the part-time creator

        Book publishers still have a potential role to play as ‘guarantors of quality’. The barrier of entry for self-publishing is so low that finding something worth reading can be tough given the oceans of dross out there. People’s time is valuable to them, and unlike a music track or video, it can take a while before you realize that the novel you’re reading is dreadful. They are going to have to seriously adjust their business models and become far more efficient though.

         

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          JEDIDIAH, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 4:08am

          The DJ Concept

          Well, Music has also had the opportunity to exploit this sort of "trusted Disk Jockey" model and has failed miserably. If anything, the entire industry seems to have moved away from that idea rather than towards it. Conventional radio is being ruined and homogenized by consolidation (clear channel) and the new independent broadcast channels (internet) are being run out of business.

          I think a stream put together by my favorite artist with hyperlinks to Amazon would be a great thing for the publishing industry in general. Pandora already kind of provides something along these lines but it's limited in scope since their methods and data are trade secrets.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 11:37pm

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/08/11/news/companies/health_care_medical_travel/index.htm

    Also there is other industries that should be looking hard at making a living or they will end up in the same situation as the entertainment industry.

    Remember those health insurance companies telling everybody that healthcare reform was going to take away jobs, well they are doing a better job at it sending people to other countries to have surgery. Third country nations have the same capabilities as U.S. medical staff who knew.

     

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      JEDIDIAH, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 4:10am

      Don't you people read the news, even online?

      ...actually, people are coming back from those 3rd world nations with monster infections and contaminating 1st world hospitals. No, the 3rd world does not have the same quality, or capabilites, or oversight.

      Sometimes stuff is cheap for a reason. If it's not due to near-zero marginal production cost then you should be suspicious.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 11:49pm

    Food for thougth.

    What happens when the economic shift to Asia becomes more apparent.

    India, China, Japan, Sourth Korea have the man power and resources to create their own self contained economy, China's influence on Africa the mineral deposit of the world is growing and it may lead to shortage of raw material to build things in other places (i.e. U.S. and Europe).

    Technology often fallows the economy so exactly what others have to offer that Asians would want?

    Anybody thinks those companies relying on legal crutches will survive?

    I doubt it.

    But one thing I do know is that how we treat them is how they will treat us in the future.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 1:18am

    "They're making a living, but they're not living the rockstar lifestyle."

    To live the rockstar life style takes money, connections to TV, Radio, and distirbuters before you become a rockstar.

    That is the old theory and way of doing things.

    We have had several indies show up on the iTunes top 50 recently. Everyone in the recording industry will say these are one hit wonders ... Statistics are catching up with the record lables and they are seeing it.

     

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    jamie, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 3:02am

    with the average uk salary being betwenn 20-25k per annum anyone making this or more should be glad they can make a living out of doing something they love as there are millions of people earning less doing sh1tty jobs they hate

     

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    AG Wright (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 5:38am

    Reply to MrWilson

    What you don't understand is that there are millions of people that make music just for the sake of doing it. If all of the recording executives were to evaporate tomorrow we wouldn't stop making music. We wouldn't even slow down enough to notice.
    The recording industry is a way of delivering music to the public. That's all. Given the salaries and costs ingrained in that method of music delivery it's an incredibly inefficient form of delivery.
    I can take a guitar, a computer and a bit of equipment costing less than $1000 and make an album. I can make copies of that album for less than $1.00 and give them to my friends. I can even distribute the resulting songs on a web site for free, as long as I meet the draconian laws on what songwriters need to be paid.
    The web site costs a little but can probably be paid for by asking for donations.
    A performer can write, perform and share their music for relatively little money and much more efficiently without a recording company.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 9:10am

    What Is Happening In Book Publishing.

    To: Suzanne Lainson, #18, Aug 13th, 2010 @ 10:10pm

    The statistics you quote derive from R. R. Bowker, the publisher of _Books In Print_. Let's understand what we are talking about. R. R. Bowker comes to know about a book when you send in an order to have the book listed in _Books In Print_. Getting something listed in _Books In Print_ traditionally meant, in the time before the internet, that a storefront bookstore knew how to special-order copies for customers. If you just publish a book on a website, free for anyone to download, R. R. Bowker doesn't know anything about it.

    The growth in Nontraditional Books is basically represented by three companies, which produce about 200,000 titles each, and which do not employ appreciable numbers of editors. BiblioBazaar pulls down public-domain material from the web, and reprints it, for people who want to have it on paper, to the extent to 270,000 titles a year. Obviously, they are riding on the coat-tails of Google's library-digitizing projects, the Internet Archive, etc. Books LLC and Kessinger Publishing are approximately similar. Between them, they account for something like 700,000 nominal titles. I think you will find that they produce largely the same lot of titles, so the numbers actually reflect each out-of-print-and-out-of-copyright book getting republished three or four times. Listing them as "self-publication" was an error on the part of Publisher's Weekly. Self-publishing companies, what used to be called Vanity Presses, operate on a much smaller scale, typically ten thousand titles per company. They list every book they publish to Books In Print, and bill the author for all expenses. In one case I happen to know about, which I found interesting, the author of a book I found promising started by publishing with a vanity publisher, back in the 1990's, when he had little alternative, but when the internet opened up, he got himself a website, and put the book up on the web.

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/42850-bibliobaz aar-how-a-company-produces-272-930-books-a-year.html
    http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/in dustry-news/publishing-and-marketing/article/42884-big-gains-for-new-players.html

    Now, looking at the source you cite:

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publishing-and-marketing/article/ 42826-self-published-titles-topped-764-000-in-2009-as-traditional-output-dipped.html

    what Bowker calls "Traditional Books" are in slow decline. However, "book" books, things like fiction, are in rapid decline, at the rate of fifteen percent annually, or thereabouts. The big compensating growth is in areas like textbooks. As we know, a textbook publisher can always pump up demand by using a computer to re-number textbook exercises at regular intervals, and make sure that every book becomes obsolete after being used once by one student. Additionally, special editions are being spun out for particular schools. Again, with computers, this is no big deal to manage-- it is very much what teachers have always done with mimeographed material.

    The number of books which are actually being published in the ordinary sense of the word, rather than "computer-regenerated," is in more or less precipitous decline. Jerry Pournelle once observed, as former president of the Science Fiction Writers Association, that there were about twenty people who actually made their living from writing science fiction-- and he meant a hamburger-level lifestyle, not a rockstar lifestyle. Allowing for other kinds of books, there might be five hundred or a thousand people who actually make their living by writing books. There are probably a considerably larger number of journalists who write a book occasionally, but actually make their living by doing advertising-supported journalism. There are lots of teachers who write books, but their literary earnings are not remotely high enough to make them even consider giving up their civil-service jobs. There are additional people who are collecting pensions and writing books. What is happening, I think, is that a lot of people who write things, but who are not economically dependent on royalties, are setting up websites instead.

    Someone who can write a good book usually has other qualities. For someone like that, the alternative is not working at McDonald's. People like that are likely to be teachers, or engineers, or nurses, or accountants, or carpenters, or any number of things. Pop music is different from books in terms of its social assumptions. Working at some place like McDonald's, with its combination of both minimum-wage pay and extreme regimentation, puts you in about the bottom tenth of the labor force. That of course goes with pop music's fundamentally underclass orientation. It doesn't exactly require genius to climb above the bottom tenth of the labor force.

     

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      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

      Re: What Is Happening In Book Publishing.

      I've been a professional writer for 30 years. I know what is happening in the industry.

      Self-publishing isn't new. People have been doing it for a long time. And some people have done well enough with it. The reason more people haven't done it over the years is because it's a hassle to order a bunch of books and have them sitting in your garage while you sell them, either yourself, at bookstores, in alternative outlets, or a conferences where you speak.

      My point about the vast increase in the number of books isn't that writers are making a living at this. It's how many people think they have a book in them. And even more will come into the market with ebooks.

      The digital world -- in music, in books, in photography, in design -- has allowed and encouraged many more people to upload their creations. Many aren't of interest to most people, but some are quite good. I'm a fan of photography and I'm blown away by all the great photos I can find online these days.

      I think there are going to be far, far more people putting out relatively small amounts of creative content, and very very few of them will make their living solely within creative fields. The model, I think, is that many people will be creative and also have day jobs which may have nothing to do with their creativity but will pay the bills.

      I continue to look for ways to push creativity down to the bottom levels, so that everyone participates. The recession is going to keep a lot of people from buying creative items, but with low cost tools they should still be able to create for themselves.

      I want to see those free concerts in the park where it might be a local band playing, but the families come out with their kids and everyone has a good time. And I am looking at things like giving the kids bubbles so that they can run around and play and it's affordable for even the most hard hit towns.

      It's a different world than promising every aspiring, talented artists/musician/designer/writer that they can make a living at this. No, most of them can't, in part because there's a worldwide recession that will likely stay with us a long time and people are cutting back on what they are spending.

       

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        TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 11:59pm

        Re: Re: What Is Happening In Book Publishing.

        Let me add, if I may, that this same digital world has allowed people like designers, photographers, individuals who design fonts and a whole slew of others to meet and come together to help a writer self publish now with near "professional" level quality. (Actually better if some covers I've looked at recently are any indication.)

        It's becoming, in that sense a co-operative effort between these people to an end.

        I've seen the results. (Toss in mandatory plea for people to visit the local ma and pa book store cause that's often where you find these things because the owners themselves are book lovers.)

        What begins at the bottom level often bubbles up in new and interesting ways that don't involve, want or need traditional publishers, record companies and other "gate keepers" particularly in times of economic stress where that's often the only way the middle class gets to join in the creation of art.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    It's naive to think the industry is hunky dory for anyone. Very very few people can make a living wage doing any kind of art. Unfortunately in today's society most people think they have a right to free content, and most content particularly music and movies, are not paid for or supported. In the end if you consider minimum wage a living wage, do you honestly think many artists are making even minimum wage for every hour they put into their craft? These are the absolute worst areas to make any money in.

    The reality is, most artists out their who really do make good content people like, have to do it as a side job, or "hobby", and they have to have a full time job to make ends meet.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 10:44am

      Re:

      What do you mean "in today's society"?

      What you describe has been around for half a century, if not more. It's common practice for Garage bands to survive on full-time, low wage jobs, playing in pubs and bars during the nights while waiting for their "big break".

      The difference between now and then is that you actually have an opportunity to make your own break, instead of waiting for some industry scout to think your band looks presentable.

       

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        Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 1:11pm

        Re: Re:

        The difference between now and then is that you actually have an opportunity to make your own break, instead of waiting for some industry scout to think your band looks presentable.

        I'm not sure anything has changed, really. People who want to make music make music without regard to waiting for a label deal. Local and touring bands have been putting out their own cassettes and CDs for as long as the technology has been available to them.

        What I see happening now is that the dream of getting a label deal has been replaced by the dream of making a living without a label. It's still hard and there really aren't more opportunities than before. The average working musician has always needed to do things like teach lessons and play weddings and that hasn't changed. If anything, it has gotten harder for the average musician to make it than it was 30 years ago because bars don't pay guarantees so much anymore and lots of bars, weddings, and frat parties switched from using live bands to DJs.

         

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          PrometheeFeu (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 10:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I for one would love to see the evidence supporting your statements.

           

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            Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 10:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What evidence do you want to see?

            I can point you to an article that says the price paid for photography is going down.

            I can point you to an article that says the number of designers is exploding and crowdsourcing is driving down the price being paid to them.

            I can point you to an article that says the low end of the live music market in the UK is shrinking (the biggest acts are making most of the money).

            I was just looking at some info that says entertainment spending in the US is going down.

            Are you a musician yourself? If so, how are you doing?

             

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              Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 10:30pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I was just looking at this. Many consumers really don't have the money, so it has got to filter down into what they can and can't spend money on.

              ROI: Is a Crash Coming? Ten Reasons to Be Cautious - WSJ.com: "6. The jobs picture is much worse than they're telling you. Forget the 'official' unemployment rate of 9.5%. Alternative measures? Try this: Just 61% of the adult population, age 20 or over, has any kind of job right now. That's the lowest since the early 1980s--when many women stayed at home through choice, driving the numbers down. Among men today, it's 66.9%. Back in the '50s, incidentally, that figure was around 85%, though allowances should be made for the higher number of elderly people alive today. And many of those still working right now can only find part-time work, so just 59% of men age 20 or over currently have a full-time job."

               

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 11:18pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm not sure anything has changed, really. People who want to make music make music without regard to waiting for a label deal. Local and touring bands have been putting out their own cassettes and CDs for as long as the technology has been available to them.

          Payola schemes for radio coverage vs. the Internet. And you don't think anything has changed? :::sigh::: You are always, always an idiot.

           

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            Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 6:46am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Payola schemes for radio coverage vs. the Internet. And you don't think anything has changed? :::sigh::: You are always, always an idiot.

            Grateful Dead, String Cheese Incident, Phish, Yonder Mountain, etc.

            The jamband scene has been driven by bands that have toured and done very well without radio. That's been my model in music for as long as I have been involved.

            I love it when you call me an idiot. Respect is wonderful, isn't it?

             

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      cc (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 10:57am

      Re:

      You mean this industry?

      http://tv.yahoo.com/blog/who-are-tvs-top-earners--1459#earners

      Laurie makes $400k an EPISODE?? He wouldn't make that much if he was a real doctor and saved real people.

      So, like the original article says, some people make a ridiculous amount of money, while others don't make nearly enough.

      The current system encourages this. Remove the distributor monopolies and let the artists self-organise in the free market and you have a much fairer system.

       

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      abc gum, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 11:52am

      Re:

      "Unfortunately in today's society most people think they have a right to free content"

      I do not think you typed what you intended to state. For example, if the content is free (as in beer) why would people not be within their rights to use it? Or if the content is free (as in freedom) why would people not be allowed to use it as they see fit? What you obviously meant to state is something like - people think they can infringe upon copyright without consequences.

      Anyway ... I'm not sure who you are referring to with the "most people" thing. It is probably something thrown out there knowing full well it lacks any supporting data. Are you implying that over half the population knowingly infringes copyright or that they just think it is ok to do so? I would be interested in where this data comes from. If it comes from the RIAA, MPAA, BSA or any related groups it is suspect at best. Is there any peer reviewed statistical data which supports your ambiguous claim?

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 12:09am

      Re:

      "The reality is, most artists out their who really do make good content people like, have to do it as a side job, or "hobby", and they have to have a full time job to make ends meet."

      I'd not only like to know how this is any different from the last quarter century but the last half dozen or so.

      Just where, please, is it set in stone that someone setting themselves up as an artist deserves to earn a middle class or better income simply because s/he calls themselves an Artist. (Almost always with the capital A when they start on about this.)

      To you it may be sad that they might have to work for it, rather like the rest of us, but that's the way it is, has been and always will be.

      I hate to tell you this but the rest of this rabble you say demands "free content" are capably creative in our own right even holding down full time jobs and do that creative thing because we love it.

      Not every garden out there went in courtesy of a landscape artist or bored housewife. Most went in by people dragging thier asses home at the end of the work day and in a labour of love created something beautiful.

      Any more complaints?

       

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    Tom Landry (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 10:48am

    Creators/artists simply aren't going to make the ridiculously high incomes they've made in the past due to the monetary value (not to be confused with the spiritual/personal) of music bottoming out.....simple as that.

    How about doing things the way it all started? Make your music because you want to make art and if you get paid for it, all the better.

     

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    herodotus (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    "Software developers not only create something of practical value that improves people's daily lives, they occasionally have to take on a HUGE amount of responsibility -- who do you think writes the software the runs the internet, or your car, or airplanes, and so on? People's lives depend on the devs doing a good job!

    Entertainers are just.. clowns. They are a luxury for those who have money to waste, and even if they all disappeared tomorrow, it would make little difference to the world.

    I simply HATE it when people put "artists" on a pedestal like they are something special. They aren't."


    So I am going to give you a chance to convince me that you are not a philistine and ask you if you really mean this literally.

    Do you really think:

    That this applies to all artists? Beethoven? Bach? Shakespeare? Sophocles? Homer?

    That history wouldn't change if all of these artists were to somehow disappear from it's pages?

    That they are all less important than, say, any of the people on the Committers list at the ASF?


    Really?

    Or would you like to add a bit more nuance to this characterization?

     

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      cc (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 5:16pm

      Re:

      I'm going to give you a chance to convince me that you are not a luddite and ask you: if you were forced to make a choice, would you give up all science and technology, or all art? Which do you think is a luxury, and which is vital for the betterment and possibly the survival of the human race?

       

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        Henry Emrich, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 7:50pm

        Re: Re:

        He's not a "Philistine" -- just a barely-coherent dumbass.

        1. The "Average software developer" creates "useful things in the world". Sure they do -- we all know Halo 2, and suchlike are "useful". What's that you say? Game coders are "just clowns?"

        Kindly STFU and die. I'm not in a particularly good mood lately, and the last thing I want to do is attempt (vainly) to debate the Utilitarian-merits of particular fields of endeavor. The only "entertainers" who are "just clowns" are......CLOWNS!
        And, while we're on the subject, the "Average software developer" is probably involved in creating something stunningly non-utilitarian, such as the latest "let's shoot random strangers in the head" masterpiece.

        "philistine?" Don't give the sad little shit-stain any undue credit.

         

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          cc (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 9:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Strange, I don't remember the last time you WERE in a good mood. You are always huffing and puffing and telling people you disagree with to STFU. However, that's thankfully not a problem because you are a retard, so we know not to take you too seriously.

          Cheers for the input, though! Would you be willing to tell us why we shouldn't debate the utilitarian merits of particular fields of endeavour?

          Is it because there clearly IS a huge difference between fields? Afraid what conclusions such a debate might lead to, perhaps?

          Like I said, I have no intention of praising artists just for being "artists" -- or games programmers, whatever. These are not a useful lines of work, imo, and I hate to see governments grant draconian laws for their sakes, especially when such laws stifle other, more useful industries.

           

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        Chrisse, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 12:34am

        Re: Re:

        "I'm going to give you a chance to convince me that you are not a luddite and ask you: if you were forced to make a choice, would you give up all science and technology, or all art? Which do you think is a luxury, and which is vital for the betterment and possibly the survival of the human race?"

        So we have to choose between the world in equilibrium and living in a cave (with paintings on the wall!) in the stone age? None is especially appealing.

         

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 2:02pm

    Time to move on to a new model

    The previous Techdirt post is this: "Why Waiting Until A New Business Model Is Proven Doesn't Work"

    It makes me smile in that talking about the great middle class artist movement is already outdated, too. There have been people self-publishing books, putting out their own music, and producing their own movies for decades. (Warren Miller, for example, in 1949 began putting out ski movies himself and renting theaters to show them. It turned into a hugely successful business.) So for people to think now is the time for artists to jump on this means that the best opportunities have already passed.

    That's why I am trying to tell everyone: "Push the envelope." To me, in music, that starts with iPhone and iPad technologies that make average people into music creators, and movie-making technologies that let people create short animations to upload onto YouTube. Start looking at ways to create technological tools so that the average second grader is creating art equal to or even better than what the industry is currently doing. The revolution is in the tools.

     

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    Karl Fogel (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 2:33pm

    You can see the gambler-to-cobbler conversion happening in real life.

    You can actually see the gambler->cobbler conversion happening even in the most industrialized parts of the copyright system. For example, in the (now somewhat famous) New Yorker article on Haim Saban, who made millions by licensing the rights to television cartoon music, he basically takes the "gambling" winnings when they come and pays the musicians a steady "cobbler" income. An uncharitable way to see it is that they do the work and he gets the lion's share of the rewards; a charitable way is that he absorbs risk for them, but takes the payoff in return:

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/05/10/100510fa_fact_bruck

    Passages to search for:

    "In 1983, Saban moved to Los Angeles, and made the same offer to many production companies that he had to Heyward: free music in exchange for publishing rights. Levy and Kaniel joined up with him there and began composing, but there was so much work that Saban had to hire more composers and arrangers. They were paid salaries, and signed contracts in which they relinquished their rights to royalties. Kobi Oshrat, an Israeli musician who has been a friend of Sabanâs since 1972, said the deals made sense for artists in their position."

    and

    "Kaniel worked for Saban until 1995, when he moved to Paris. For a number of years, Saban continued to pay Kaniel a salary, while Kaniel worked on his own projects. Still, Kaniel had composed music for cartoons for sixteen years. When he was asked if he had received royalties for any of the music, Kaniel said, reluctantly, 'Basically, no.'"

    The point is not that Haim Saban has done a bad thing (it's an interesting article; read it and draw your own conclusions). The point is just that the cobbler model is what artists naturally gravitate towards anyway. Only now they have the infrastructure -- both technical and licensing -- to do it without needing Haim Sabans.

     

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      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 2:56pm

      Re: You can see the gambler-to-cobbler conversion happening in real life.

      Of course, this is the way it is in corporations, with even bigger distances between what workers make and what CEOs make. The spread has gotten considerably greater over time.

      Executive PayWatch: Trends in CEO Pay

      In 1980 the the average CEO to average worker ratio was 42. In 2000 it was 525. In 2008 it dropped back down to 319.

       

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    herodotus (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 3:16pm

    "Start looking at ways to create technological tools so that the average second grader is creating art equal to or even better than what the industry is currently doing. The revolution is in the tools."

    So the only thing preventing a second grader from writing Beethoven's ninth Symphony is that the software isn't intuitive enough?

    And here I thought that it was life experience and hard won compositional skill.

    OH, I get it, you are talking about 'the industry', where childish non-songs are the norm.

    It's sad that while the industry is dying at last, everyone is still talking as if it's lowest common denominator 'standards' still meant something.

     

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      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 3:31pm

      Re:

      So the only thing preventing a second grader from writing Beethoven's ninth Symphony is that the software isn't intuitive enough?

      Yes, actually. It's been discussed over and over again in Techdirt that everyone borrows from the past. So if we program computers in the right way, they will creatively do the job for us.

      OH, I get it, you are talking about 'the industry', where childish non-songs are the norm.

      Yes, unfortunately. A lot of what is extremely popular right now can be cranked out pretty easily. People with little skill will be able to do a passable popular song on their iPhones.

      People don't necessarily want "great" music. As the old American Bandstand line says, "Can you dance to it?"

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 3:46pm

      Re:

      Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is like a research paper, honestly. The people who truly value it are the ones that take the time to understand all the technique and theory behind it. To everyone else, it's just "nice music".

      Granted, it has been so infused with culture that it's more akin to Galileo's heliocentric theories where, despite being so "intellectual", the average person knows of it simply because they're "supposed to", and values it because that's what everyone else does.

      Your average 2nd grader may never create a Beethovenesque masterpiece, but frankly, if you want to make money, that's not what you should aspire to. The "highest common denominator" in the music business can be as simple as an earworm or a popular meme, and I think we can all agree that a 2nd grader is more than capable of that.

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 12:24am

      Re:

      As long as we're on the topic of Beethoven's 9th or the majority of other works he created let's recall that he was being paid by a patron or commissioned by some prince or other to create these works.

      That doesn't make them better or worse that's merely the way it was.

      And no, it's not all about life experience or hard won skill, often it's about youth, enthusiasm and sheer talent, as well. As it was in Beethoven's case.

      It's been a long time since composers could find a baronet or prince or monarch to support them so things have changed, just a tad, don't you think.

      Now, if the serious ARTS community would let go of the piece and just let the rest of us enjoy it perhaps we, too, might find the ART in it. Ditto for Shakepeare, just let me go to the play, keep your opinionated yap shut and let me see it. (Newsflash, Shakespeare wasn't interested in art or ART he was interested in bums in seats so he could pay the mortgage on The Globe Theatre.)

      It's our fault the recording industry is pushing out tripe?

      And no, we're not talking lowest common denominator we're talking a chance for others to take part in their (our) own culture.

      And I'm sure if you were in charge of the "standards" we'd be silent and kept that way. So would Gilbert & Sullivan, Rogers and Hammerstien, Lennon and McCartney and shall I go on?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 11:20pm

        Re: Re:

        Yes, but alot of artists, such as Amanda Palmer, are actively working towards a patronage society, which I think is awesome. :)

         

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      JEDIDIAH, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 4:22am

      The general poor quality of math education.

      > So the only thing preventing a second grader from
      > writing Beethoven's ninth Symphony is that the
      > software isn't intuitive enough?

      The actual creative process is the "hard" part. The rest is what is being devalued. Also, the fact that all previously released works continue to be available either for pay or for PD download also devalues work. Demand remains more or less constant over time while supply continues to grow.

      Market price is bound to suffer eventually.

      A 50 year old copy of Beethoven's 9th is equally useful in the digital age. You don't have to bother buying a new performance of it or even buy something new. It continues to entertain year after year.

      My own media collection contains works that were created or recorded 50 years ago and works that are derivatives of material that is quite literally thousands of years old.

      You want to complain about how Hollywood remakes TV shows from the 60s and 80s into movies but they are still redoing stories from the dawn of recorded history.

       

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 4:36pm

    Street fairs and street vendors

    Most of the people I know who have kids gave up their concert going, trading it in for activities they can do as a family.

    So summer concerts that are local, family-friendly, and free are a great way for everyone to get out and enjoy themselves. Many times popular local bands are hired to play.

    A step down from that is the street fair or block party. You have a group of people getting together to hang out. Music is likely to either be a local jam session or CDs on an inexpensive sound system. In that setting you might have local people selling food that they have made.

    And then a step down from that are the street vendors who sell burritos and tamales out of an ice chest. Some people might leverage that into full-time careers and buy carts or even start food manufacturing companies. But most will treat it as a way to bring in some extra cash.

    It's interesting when we talk about music careers, we are envisioning middle class musicians making enough to make car payments, have a mortgage, and buy health insurance. We don't usually talk about music as the equivalent of a street vendor and yet in many respects that's more like the reality. It isn't really glamorous and the amount of money you bring in is relatively small. There's nothing shameful about being street vendor, and there's nothing shameful about being a weekend musician, and yet we suggest that musicians, if they have talent, work hard, and have business sense, will be grossing at least $50,000 to $100,000 a year.

     

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    herodotus (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 4:44pm

    "Yes, actually. It's been discussed over and over again in Techdirt that everyone borrows from the past. So if we program computers in the right way, they will creatively do the job for us."

    Thus are centuries of tradition reduced to a cheap slogan.

    I won't try to convince you of it, but I think I should at least mention the possibility that there might be more to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony than you are seeing (or rather, hearing).

    I love it when people talk about algorithmic music like it will fill the same function as real music. I wonder, will algorithmic science take the place of real science?

    What, science can't be created by an iPhone app? Why not?

    Why is it always music that is going to be made by machines and not, say, physics papers? I mean, you'd think that computers would be more into doing science than art, wouldn't you? And yet, one hears nothing about science being done by some clever computer algorithm.

    In science, computers are the slaves, but in music they are in line to be the next Beethoven.

    Almost like these fantasies are conceived by scientists who mistake their own very shallow conception of music for music-in-itself.

    It's possible, right now, to have an algorithm that could create music that would fool people who know nothing about music. It's also possible, right now, for anyone with half a brain to invent an encryption method that would stymie people who know nothing about codes.

    And in both of these cases, the proper response is: 'So what?'.

     

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      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 5:10pm

      Re:

      You've read about this guy? For the average person who wants to write something sounding classical and be able to put his name on it, this would be enough. And if you have computers generating millions of programs, chances are something extraordinary would come out at least a few times.

      David Cope: 'You pushed the button and out came hundreds and thousands of sonatas

      In terms of computers doing science, I believe it is being done quite a bit now. Here's one example:

      Science team creates synthetic life using computer generated genome

      And for your amusement:

      SCIgen - An Automatic CS Paper Generator: "SCIgen is a program that generates random Computer Science research papers, including graphs, figures, and citations. It uses a hand-written context-free grammar to form all elements of the papers. Our aim here is to maximize amusement, rather than coherence.

      One useful purpose for such a program is to auto-generate submissions to conferences that you suspect might have very low submission standards. A prime example, which you may recognize from spam in your inbox, is SCI/IIIS and its dozens of co-located conferences (check out the very broad conference description on the WMSCI 2005 website). There's also a list of known bogus conferences. Using SCIgen to generate submissions for conferences like this gives us pleasure to no end. In fact, one of our papers was accepted to SCI 2005! See Examples for more details

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 1:46am

        Re: Re:

        As a young child, I enjoyed pushing buttons to see what would happen.

        For example, I pushed a button a few times and am suddenly graced with interesting people like Dark Helmet. The thing is that sometimes pushing buttons sometimes creates good things, and then there are bad things. The two equal themselves out in the long run, like when I trolled Mike's Dad on Thursday. That was a good one until Mike pushed his own buttons to show he was in control, and released earlier iterations of the comments.

        Yes, pushing buttons requires some self control at times, or just a big head.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 7:02pm

      Re:

      There is plenty more to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony than simply sound, but very few people (comparatively) care about that.

      Entertainment consists of things that "sound good", or "look good", "are fun", etc.

      Once you start discussing intricacies of sound and musical theory, you've gone far past the area of marketable, commercialized goods for a general audience.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 7:40pm

      Re:

      It pains me to agree with the lady but I do understand one thing.

      Technology is a reflection of human knowledge which is not that great compared to all the mysteries out there. Because we can't do it is not by any means impossible to be done if you have observed in real life. Creating limbs is possible, creating life is possible, creating machines that grow is possible, creating machines that auto repair is possible, creating machines that can outperform humans is possible.

      If Beethoven was capable of doing it, that is enough to prove there is a way to do it and machines can do it also.

      Curiosity about Beethoven's work, one of his symphonies have a part that is a rip off of a songbird singing, how he managed to catch the melody and slow it down without modern equipment is anyone's guess. So in a sense birds are also capable of creating symphonies.

      Also I think you are not familiar with "evolutive algorithm's" that created a new anthenna design for NASA which no one have thought it before.

      http://ve3mpg.blogspot.com/2008/11/unconventional-antennas-from-nasa-labs.html

      That is applied physics created by a computer, so algorithmic science is already taking the place of real science whatever that means also drugs are all tested on virtual worlds were a computer test billions of combinations and spills out probable solutions. Computers are not yet good at pattern recognition which means if they were in a hostile environment they probably die, but give it time.

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 12:49pm

      Re:

      "I won't try to convince you of it, but I think I should at least mention the possibility that there might be more to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony than you are seeing (or rather, hearing)."

      There might be but for pretty much 99.99% of us it's the music that's important and not what critics and "analysts" have piled on since it was written. I'm equally certain that that's all that was in Beethoven's mind when he wrote it and none of the layers applied since.

      Music, as you point out, isn't an algorithm it's a human creation which has broad appeal to us for a number of reasons. Our species is unique in that not only do we use musical tones for communication but for sheer enjoyment. We are alone in that we use it for synchronized activities such as dance or work.

      Music strikes our emotions in a way that no other art form is capable of.

      None of that precludes using a computer program or series of programs to help create it.

      Think of distortion pedals that guitarists use. They're little computers. So, of course, are synthesizers which can be purchased inexpensively from any Radio Shack or similar store you might name. (One can argue that large pipe organs are large synthesizers as well.)

      "What, science can't be created by an iPhone app? Why not?"

      Depends on the app but I wouldn't rule it out. Not advanced science but still science unless you are wedded to the notion that science is some mysterious practice only the initiated are capable of creating or understanding.

      That seems to be your argument around music.

      "In science, computers are the slaves, but in music they are in line to be the next Beethoven."

      Let me correct that. In science computers are the tools as they are in music.

      As long as you're on endlessly about Beethoven one of the reasons, perhaps the only one, that the 9th is well known is that he wrote is as he was going deaf. People who aren't musicians or blessed with musical talent, of which Beethoven had oodles, find this amazing. It isn't really.

      Why? He knew and lived music.

      He knew notation like the back of his hand. It was, after all, his tool. Deaf or not he could still hear the music in his head.

      He could still "hear" what he wanted to express and used the notation (code) to express it. He knew orchestras and the sound of the instruments and could arrange it. Again using such things as notation (code) and charts (more code) to get it across. He knew the sounds the human voice is capable of and could, when called on, use notation and charts to arrange that as well.

      By the by, western musical notation isn't the only notation (code) used in the world.

      I'm a singer, a passable guitarist and I read music but I don't see the notes in my head as I'm singing or playing I "hear" the song, hymn or chorus in my head microseconds before hitting a note on the instrument of with my voice. That part of me I didn't need training for, I was born with it. It just is.

      I can "hear" the music in my head even if no one is playing it and sing the song note for note perfect.

      "It's possible, right now, to have an algorithm that could create music that would fool people who know nothing about music."

      I honestly doubt that for no other reason than humans are innately able to discern the real for the fake with music just as we are able to, to this point, discern the real from the fake when we "discuss" with a computer. The Turning test hasn't been passed in either discussion or music as of yet.

      But, then, that depends on your meaning when you say music. Do you mean music in the broad sense of all music or are you, as I suspect, one of those elitists who defines music as that of the historically short lived "classical" period (for sake of discussion I'll include that over blown horror known as Grand Opera) then on to "modern" and "post-modern" orchestral composers who seem more interested in being clever than in actually making and performing anything remotely recognizable as music.

      Just what separates music from the tools used to make it, be it instruments, notation or a computer program is that thing that is still uniquely human which is our complex emotional response to it. That's something that a computer program no matter how well written either understands or is capable, as yet, or recreating.

      The proper response to your fearful and ignorant responses in this discussion is, then: "So what?"

       

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        Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 1:19pm

        Re: Re:

        Just what separates music from the tools used to make it, be it instruments, notation or a computer program is that thing that is still uniquely human which is our complex emotional response to it. That's something that a computer program no matter how well written either understands or is capable, as yet, or recreating.

        I have trouble listening to a lot of the heavily compressed music that is popular today. It sounds very brittle to me, like nails on a chalkboard.

        But obviously a lot of people like it and actually prefer it to a warmer sound.

         

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          TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 2:41pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'd say that's an artefact of the production and, I admit, that I find it hard to listen to as well. It sounds hollow and mechanical and rather like the TRON computer of so many years ago.

          A lot of that kind of production is used for "dance" music where the point is to communicate a dance rhythm, invariably in 4/4 time dominated by percussion rather than voice which gets mixed in later.

          In that sense it's kinda throw away music rather than the sort of thing you'd want to lean back and listen to for any other reason. It's still music and the computer(s) creating the effect are still tools whether I like the outcome or not.

          Ironically, the cross over from dance to pop can be blamed, if you want, on Cher who needs no electronic help at all to belt out a song, who used the compression in a hit and opened the floodgates on the pop side. I'm sure there that she and her producer used it strictly as an effect rather than flooding the song with it.

          If you're ancient enough (he says leaning on his wheelchair) to remember when the Beatles released Rubber Soul complete with this strange sitar thing that it only seemed weeks before everyone else was ab/using it as well. The recording industry does nothing so well as copy, you know.

          I have to agree with your overall theme that given a number of factors things are changing in music and that we aren't going back no matter what.

           

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    Karl (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 5:23pm

    Nitpicking

    But, when we're looking at some of these content creators who are making a good living as professional musicians, the proper comparison is not to Mick Jagger, but to what they'd be doing if they were living in the world a few decades ago: and the answer is they probably wouldn't be making music at all.

    Slight critique:

    It would be more accurate to say "they probably wouldn't be making money from music at all."

    Just about everyone goes into music knowing full well that they won't make a profit on it. That never stopped them before, and it won't now.

    Also, this is hardly a new phenomenon. But the democratization of music creation and distribution has leveled the playing field a lot more in the past ten or so years. And this is definitely a good thing - even for the rock stars that make millions.

    This is one area where Suzanne and myself disagree. Her thesis is that tools allowing the non-trained to make music, will eventually replace the demand for trained musicians. I believe it will create more demand.

    Take guitar playing, for example. Just about everyone can do it, but that only allows the "hotshots" to make more money. How much do you think people like Yngwie Malmsteen or Joe Satriani would sell if their fans didn't themselves play guitar?

    But either way, things are looking up.

     

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      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 5:52pm

      Re: Nitpicking

      This is one area where Suzanne and myself disagree. Her thesis is that tools allowing the non-trained to make music, will eventually replace the demand for trained musicians. I believe it will create more demand.

      I'm factoring in a recession which I think will be with us for awhile. So while I think people will continue to consume music (via streaming and YouTube), the money they will have to spend on music may be limited. There are endless ways for talented musicians to give away their music, but far fewer ways for them to sell their music-related services to consumers with little cash.

      So my world is one where there are endless amounts of music but relatively little money changing hands for it. Will there be traveling musicians who play in exchange for a free meal, a place to stay, and enough gas to make it to the next town? Yes. Will there be musicians who work day jobs and then play in their neighborhoods for the joy of it? Yes. Will there be lots of people composing and remixing little ditties to upload on YouTube? Yes.

      Music has always been around, even in the poorest neighborhoods. But having a big enough consumer base to support all the musicians who want to make a living at this seems unlikely in today's world. Therefore, I am trying to give people realistic expectations. Make music because you love it. But it may not pay your bills, even if you are talented, and clever. A lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck and they can't support you. In fact, you may need to give them your music to help them get through their lives, rather than them giving you money to help you get through yours.

       

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        Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 6:12pm

        Re: Re: Nitpicking

        It's statements like this that make me very cautious about projecting how much money is available for entertainment spending. Sure, the wealthy can support the arts. And I hope that they do. And the affluent should have enough money, but a lot of other people just don't.

        If you envision a middle class musician being supported by middle class and wealthy patrons, yes, there will be some of that. But there are other musicians who don't tap into fans with any money.

        Analysts Bullish on the Eve of Upfront Week: "Explained Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett: 'When the bottom 40 percent has [only] $100 to spend every month after shelter, food and transportation, the idea that it's OK to charge $80 for basic cable is very dangerous.'"

         

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        Karl (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 7:37pm

        Re: Re: Nitpicking

        But having a big enough consumer base to support all the musicians who want to make a living at this seems unlikely in today's world.

        While this is true, it's a bit of a red herring - because it would be true even if the democratization of music didn't happen.

        Also, this has always been true to some degree. There have always been far more people making music than the musical "ecosystem" could support, financially speaking.

        The thing is, a larger base of "casual" musicians means that more people will be personally invested in music. That never hurt pro musicians, only helped them. I don't see that changing.

        In the end, I think the amount of "pro" musicians will not decrease - at least, not due to users making their own music. The economy and the changing music landscape will mean that the number of artists making money from "legacy" business models will decrease in the short term, but I still think the long-term prospects are as good as they ever were, possibly better.

        I can see why you wouldn't want to get musicians' hopes up. But on the other hand, some people might interpret these trends as a "threat" to pro music, and your viewpoint seems to say they're right. I doubt that's your intent, of course, but that could be the message that some take away from your statements. I don't want pro musicians to see it that way - because they'd be wrong, in my opinion, and ultimately hurting themselves.

         

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          Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 9:18pm

          Re: Re: Re: Nitpicking

          I can see why you wouldn't want to get musicians' hopes up. But on the other hand, some people might interpret these trends as a "threat" to pro music, and your viewpoint seems to say they're right. I doubt that's your intent, of course, but that could be the message that some take away from your statements. I don't want pro musicians to see it that way - because they'd be wrong, in my opinion, and ultimately hurting themselves.

          All of the musicians I have worked with are "pro" musicians. That's what they want to do for a living. They only take day jobs when they must.

          But I have been at gigs with them where they are playing to maybe three people. One woman (the one who is making the most money in music as a DIY artist-- around $150,000 a year) would play that gig with respect, playing to those three people. She was always happy when anyone showed up, so she put on a damn fine show whether there were three people there or 1000.

          Another artist (also very talented but never making enough money in music) would essentially give a very abbreviated show if only three people were there. Her impulse was to leave.

          In order to make it this business long term you have to play your heart out even on the bad days. You have to play your heart out even if the bar owner screws you out of the money he promised you.

          So I try to be very honest with musicians and tell them how little money they are likely to make, how touring may mean sleeping on floors and having your car break down in the middle of nowhere, etc.

          The people who want to be full-time musicians, knowing full well that they may never make any money, will at least have in their heads that they want to keep going under the worst of circumstances.

          All the talk of making a middle class living sounds great, and I'm sure lots of musicians think they can pull it off (just like lots of them used to think they could get record deals), but it's still extremely hard to make money in music.

          At least now there are lots of ways to record cheaply and upload your music online, so if that feels like a music career to you, then it's attainable for virtually anyone who can record or mix some music. That's where it is today and there will only be more people doing it. And I think that's great. It makes everyone feel creative.

          A lot of musicians saw their incomes disappear when DJs became popular alternative entertainment. It had nothing to do with major labels. I think music technology will transform the industry even more. A lot of audience members just want to have a good time. They don't necessarily need people playing instruments in front of them.

          My dream is to create music/art instillations that cost very little to make or maintain which can be put in parks and public locations around the country so that every community, no matter how broke, will have a place for kids and their families to come together to make sounds, music, etc. I want kids who have no money and no chance at music education to still be able to be creative and to share it with their friends and their communities.

          I don't think it is possible to give everyone who wants it a middle class income in the arts. But I do think it is possible to give everyone the opportunity to create. Just think of it. What if we could create nifty devices so that the 70-year-old Wal-Mart greeter can make music and call it her own? People are going to be broke as long as the world economy is down, but they can still be creative. If free music is a good thing, then let's create even more of it and let everyone participate.

           

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            Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 14th, 2010 @ 9:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Nitpicking

            I guess here is what I am saying, in a nutshell.

            1. Technology is allowing far more people to create music, and upload it.
            2. The world economy isn't doing so well.
            3. We will have more music than ever, but less money to spend on it, so the average income per musician will go down.
            4. I think it is far more likely that wealthy musicians will become middle class musicians than poor musicians will become middle class musicians. As the economy takes its hits, pricing pressure will drive down what musicians can charge, and I think even taking out the middlemen, there won't be enough money to support most musicians other than as a part-time endeavor.
            5. Having people doing day jobs for income, and music as a hobby, is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact it may turn out to be a very good thing because lots of people can do it.

             

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              Karl (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 12:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nitpicking

              I actually agree with the future you present. The thing is, you seem to believe that this future conflicts with the idea of skilled, professional musicians making a living. I don't see it that way at all.

              Yes, less musicians will be able to make a living, due to the economy. That's the fault of the economy, not the fault of the democratization of music. If and when the economy improves, I think we'll see a resurgence of skilled musicians being able to make a living again.

              The inevitable democratization of music will certainly result in everyone, even the completely unskilled, being able to make their own music. Obviously this is a good thing for society and musical culture as a whole. But a more musical culture will only increase the demand for people who are knowledgeable about the techniques for creating high-quality music. All other things being equal, this will only help musicians who hope to make a living off of their art.

              It's not an either-or situation. It's a win-win situation. Musicians should be encouraging the ability for the general public to make music, because in the long run, they will benefit as well.

              If indeed people will have less money to spend on music, that's all the more reason for pro musicians to encourage the musically illiterate to get into the game. That will create a market, in an environment where a market is sorely needed.

               

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                Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 1:49am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nitpicking

                If and when the economy improves, I think we'll see a resurgence of skilled musicians being able to make a living again.

                I suppose I don't know what a skilled musician is anymore. Technology has become so incorporated into some performances that it's one person with a computer. At what point is the person unnecessary? Do we need to watch the person interact with the computer, or could a robot do it?

                My faith in the democratization of music is that I know the person creating music will be pleased with himself.

                I also believe people enjoy communal participatory experiences. So tapping into activities where everyone in the room contributes should be popular.

                But whether or not a person needs to pay to watch or listen to someone else create, I don't know. Certainly Lady Gaga is popular right now, so that over-the-top spectacle has fans. But what if we could create an experience that doesn't have a star? What if it was an art instillation that anyone could manipulate and use to generate a pleasing response? And what if it sat out in a park so that it was unattended, but average people could walk by and use it?

                I see the concept of the musician and his/her fans as rather one-sided. Like I said before, I'd rather go into Wal-Mart, hand the greeter some sort of magical music box and have that person be the star of the moment.

                I have many talented musician friends who range from local unsigned artists to multi-platinum major label artists. I certainly want them all to make a living at this. But if I step back away from what I want for my friends, and look at what gets me most excited about the future of music, it's those applications that let everyone make music. And if everyone creates, then everyone has music to give. The division between who makes good music and who makes average music might disappear with smart tech tools. Then it would be hard to say who's the professional.

                Doesn't open source software work like that? Do you have stars, or does everyone just contribute as they can?

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 2:05am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nitpicking

                  You seem to be missing some things.

                  Lady Gaga is a test.

                  She is popular only because she and her music was sent to the Netherlands prior to being immediately released in the US.

                  Usually overseas artists are run in Europe before visiting the US. But what happened with Lady Gaga is the reverse. She's a US artist who was audio-engineered in the Netherlands.

                  Repeat: Interscope/Geffen took a US artist, and reverse engineered the creative process. Brilliant. It kinda makes all the David Geffen bashing we do here worthwhile.

                   

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                  Karl (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 12:24pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nitpicking

                  Doesn't open source software work like that? Do you have stars, or does everyone just contribute as they can?

                  That's actually not a bad analogy. Because the OS community has both.

                  Users contribute, or not, depending upon their time and/or inclinations. But users who contribute more usually have a higher knowledge level about coding, project management, etc. That can easily translate into a higher-paid job in the software industry (especially those industries based on open source).

                  A good example is web design. Now, there are a ton of easy-to-use CMS's (Content Management Systems) that are completely open, such that anyone can install and use one on their own website.

                  Does that mean that you can't get a job as a web designer? No, it doesn't. Quite the opposite. It is easy to set up a CMS, less easy to theme it (though not out of the bounds of anyone with a little knowledge of CSS and HTML). But people still pay web designers, because they have the skills and knowledge to make the website look great.

                  In fact, the amount of paid web designers has only increased with the widespread adoption of open source web tools.

                  Partially, it's because web designers are simply more talented, artistically. But also, it's because any tool that is simple to use, is limited by that simplicity; so if you want to work "outside the box," you're going to need more complex tools, thus more knowledge and experience with those tools.

                  I don't see music becoming any different. Tools are going to crop up every day to let the unskilled create music. But the music you can create with those tools will be limited by that very simplicity. You will be able to create some decent-sounding music, but it will be music that sounds like all the other music produced with that tool.

                  That may be fine for a lot of uses, but people really can tell the difference between unskilled "generic" music, and music that is made with greater skill (and more complex tools). They can usually appreciate it better, even if they don't understand why.

                  It's also like painting or drawing. Paint, canvas, and ink aren't cheap, but they're within the means of most individuals. That doesn't make good paintings less valuable.

                  So, tell your multi-platinum friends that they, too, should be excited by a future where everyone has music to give. That future is good for everyone, themselves included.

                   

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                    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 1:14pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nitpicking

                    I don't see music becoming any different. Tools are going to crop up every day to let the unskilled create music. But the music you can create with those tools will be limited by that very simplicity. You will be able to create some decent-sounding music, but it will be music that sounds like all the other music produced with that tool.

                    There are musicians who I think are so talented they should be doing music as their full-time activity. So I support the concept.

                    I'm just looking at what fans seem to want in music and how music has changed over the last 100 years or so. In my parents' generation, live music was a big band. Now there are acts (some of them popular enough to sell out very large venues/festivals) that consist of one guy and a computer.

                    I'm not making a judgment on which type of music is better. I'm just saying I am seeing popular music shifting to something that can come preprogrammed out of a box. I'm also seeing popular acts that don't actually have to have any musical skills. They lip synch and dance to prerecorded music that is the creation of a producer rather than themselves.

                    So I'm not sure fans/audiences base their interest on musical talent in a traditional sense. If the show entertains them, they will support it. I just read that a popular offering on the county fair circuit is racing school buses and having them crash into each other.

                    And of course there are all the reality TV stars who don't seem to have much in the way of talent but have still become popular.

                    So I can't be sure that income will be related to musical genius.

                     

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                      Karl (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 2:33pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nitpicking

                      In my parents' generation, live music was a big band. Now there are acts (some of them popular enough to sell out very large venues/festivals) that consist of one guy and a computer.

                      I'm not making a judgment on which type of music is better. I'm just saying I am seeing popular music shifting to something that can come preprogrammed out of a box.


                      If that "one guy and a computer" was just playing something that came "preprogrammed out of a box," you can bet that he wouldn't be selling out large venues or playing festivals.

                      Now, he may not have musical skills in the traditional sense (reading notes from a staff), but he's almost certainly got talent in some musical area - production techniques, sound manipulation, song structure, whatever.

                      Lots of other people have computers and access to the same software, so if he was just pressing a button, people would call bullshit on that, and he'd be usurped by someone with more talent and skill.

                      Now, what people view as "music" is certainly changing, and some of the legacy players won't have a market in the future. But that doesn't mean talent won't be appreciated.

                      Probably the legacy players picked up skills that will translate into the new musical forms, so they'll have a leg up on the competition, if they choose to go that route. But even if not, it just means that a new generation of talent will emerge, with a slightly different skill set.

                      Really, this whole argument has been done before, whenever a new form of "unskilled" music came into the marketplace. The "talentless" accusation has been hurled at punk, rap, folk, etc. And those accusations have always been misguided at best. None of these genres have "ruined" music, even for then-traditional musicians.

                      I'm not saying this won't have an effect, nor am I saying you shouldn't be interested in this subject. I'm just saying that perhaps you're making a mountain out of a molehill, at least as far as pro artists are concerned.

                       

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                        Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 6:42pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nitpicking

                        I'm just saying that perhaps you're making a mountain out of a molehill, at least as far as pro artists are concerned.

                        Okay, here's where we agree. Music will continue to advance.

                        Where we may disagree is that you make reference to professional musicians and I'm expanding the term to suggest that the future talent in music will be the developers who create the tools to make music.

                        Instead of a musician creating music that an audience listens to, the developer creates the hardware/software that responds to each person using it to create music.

                        So the new "musician" is not physically present in the room. And he/she doesn't create anything where he/she is identified as the composer or performer. But he/she is present, in a sense, every time a person or family gets out that music device and does something with it in the living room.

                        So instead of people purchasing a prerecorded disc that they listen to on a music player, they purchase a magic music box that can play whatever they imagine. The "new" musician will be the facilitator.

                        The new rock stars will be people like Ge Wang.

                        Ge Wang | Bio: "Concurrently, Ge is the Co-founder, CTO, and Chief Creative Officer of Smule, a startup company exploring interactive sonic media on the iPhone. Smule serves as a unique platform for research and development combining the state-of-the-art in computer music research with the potential to bring its visions to a wide population. Ge is the designer of Ocarina and Leaf Trombone: World Stage for the iPhone, and Magic Piano for the iPad. These expressive social musical instruments currently enable over two millions users to expressively play and share music with one another around the world.

                        Overall, Ge's mission is to deeply explore new ways with which people think, do, and interact through sound, technology, and music."

                         

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                  TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 3:03pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Nitpicking

                  "Doesn't open source software work like that? Do you have stars, or does everyone just contribute as they can"

                  Open source has it's stars as does every other endeavour. Others contribute as and when they can. (For star of open source see Linus Torvalds.)

                  "And if everyone creates, then everyone has music to give. The division between who makes good music and who makes average music might disappear with smart tech tools."

                  There have been a number of discussions over the decades that have ended up asserting that everyone does, in fact, have music to give be it banging on a drum to composing the 9th.

                  That said the professional will continue to exist because it not only takes more talent than the pedestrian musician it also takes more in the way of drive.and the willingness to make the bet on his/her ability to make music.

                  Recording industry or not music and professional musicians will continue though, perhaps, somewhat differently than they do today.

                  Cast back to the idealized village and there are people making and creating music there out of whatever exist that they can use as instruments. The steel drum, is a good example of that.

                  Computers are no different in how they're applied as tools or instruments in their own right. Sooner or later producers will stop layering effects over singers voices that makes them sound like 1950s robots or compression on radio announcers voices that make them sound annoyingly unreal.

                  As I've said before our ears and our emotions call tell the difference between the real and the unreal when it comes to music.

                  There are, it seems to me, already two styles of professional. The first is the musician who makes a living off only music and the second is a creator who creates no matter what and does it with all their skill and talent and expects no living from it. Of course there are many colours and hues in between.

                  Either way its how it affects you emotionally that counts not how it was made. If it gives you an emotional uplift it is good (for you) and if it doesn't it's not. No matter what anyone else has to say.

                  Music is now and always will be a primarily emotional event. We humans are wired that way. For whatever evolutionary reason we fall in love to music, we cry with music, we hate with music, we dance with music, we celebrate and grieve with music. It is the one thing we do which bypasses our intellect completely and connects with our emotions. If you prefer, our souls.

                  The professional is the musician or composer who makes those connections in us. How they do it or whether or not they have a day job, use or don't use computers, or are superstars is irrelevant. The resulting music is good only if it connects to those emotions deep inside us as nothing else short of falling (and staying) in love can.

                   

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 12:28am

    Where the consumer spending is going

    Since the recession began in 2007, spending on telephone equipment has increased 16.6%. So I think money that once might have gone to record labels or perhaps to directly to musicians may be going to smart phone makers.

    Where Americans Are Spending More.."Right there up at the top is America's love affair with mobile devices, where spending has soared almost 17% since the recession started. Also supporting my thesis of a communications boom--spending on wired, wireless, and cable services have risen by 5%.

    In addition, Americans still care about their pets, their children, their hair, and their guns."

     

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      Karl (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

      Re: Where the consumer spending is going

      money that once might have gone to record labels or perhaps to directly to musicians may be going to smart phone makers.

      That's a bit unfair, as a smart phone isn't a "musical" device, or really even an "entertainment" device. It's primarily used for communications, or (lately) as a general-purpose computer.

      I mean, users are spending much more on transportation costs too. Does that mean "money that once might have gone to record labels or perhaps to directly to musicians may be going to oil companies?"

      It might be a bit more accurate to compare spending on music vs. spending on movies. And, indeed, as DVD sales increased, CD sales declined.

       

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        Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 12:59pm

        Re: Re: Where the consumer spending is going

        That's a bit unfair, as a smart phone isn't a "musical" device, or really even an "entertainment" device. It's primarily used for communications, or (lately) as a general-purpose computer.

        Actually I do think a mobile device qualifies as everything: a phone, a mini-computer, a game player, a musical device, a musical player, an audio/video player, a camera.

        So I think people are paying Apple and the like for the device to watch, listen, and create music. You buy the device and pay the monthly connectivity fees and then you have unlimited options with it.

        We don't have direct evidence that spending is shifting from music to smart phones, but we do know recorded music buying is down, concert spending has been hit hard for Live Nation, and video game spending is down (even as social media games are doing well). This article suggests that electronics spending is eating into consumer spending on furniture and clothing. So I am speculating that people have been shifting what they might have spent in the past directly on music into gadgets that give more access to music and other forms of entertainment that they can get for free.

        Tech Gadgets Steal Sales From Appliances, Clothes - WSJ.com

         

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    Andrew D. Todd, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 12:32am

    Re: Re: What Is Happening In Book Publishing.

    To: Suzanne Lainson, Aug 14th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

    I have been directly and peripherally involved with do-it-yourself printing and publishing for many years. There are some rather funny stories, for example, the time the Doberman pup got into a box full of stored copies of a paperback philosophy treatise, and chewed a dozen or so. Why chew a philosophy treatise? I have never quite understood, except that Dobermans are more than usually inscrutable and surreptitious dogs. An any rate, the baggage which goes with do-it-yourself printing is about like the weather-- there's no point in complaining about it.

    One time, about twenty-five years ago, I did an educational board game, and that involved dealing with six different suppliers, viz: a typing service (to do what was then called "cold-typesetting" in the course of designing the gameboard); a photocopy shop (to print the 11" by 17" gameboard); a poster framing store (to mount the gameboard sheet on a sheet of corrugated cardboard); an art-supply store (for cheap boxes of pushpins for the players to stick in the cardboard, as game counters); an offset printer (to inexpensively produce disposable worksheets); a college bookstore/stationer (supplying "Press-Type"[*], printing the manual, and actually selling the assembled package to students). Each firm had its narrow range of capabilities, and I had to integrate them. I started by drawing the gameboard with my mechanical drawing tools (this being before CAD/CAM), cut out and pasted up the bits of text which I had bought from the typist, and then took the resulting master-copy along to the photocopying shop. I had to go back and forth from one store to another, and finally to hold a "collating party" in a university office, with lots of vacant desks, to assemble all the different pieces, and pack each game up in a plastic bag.

    [*] Press-Type was a kind of decal which was in use back in those days. It came in transfer sheets, with rows of letters, numbers, and symbols. You positioned the letters on your drawing board, and carefully rubbed the transfer sheet with a stylus to cause the decal to transfer itself to the paper below. I achieved what I thought was a moderately clever design by laying out the game's name in two-inch Helvetica Press-Type, and then going back and drawing in a lot of india ink lines connecting up the letters as if they were integrated circuits on a computer motherboard.

    The point of all this kind of thing was not really to make money-- it was to get on with the business of college teaching and research/scholarship without tolerating external restrictions. One thought that there ought to be a scholarly journal dealing with a particular subject, because one's friends were all writing papers on that subject, and mailing them to each other, and getting rejected by regular journals-- so one founded such a journal. One though that a particular method of teaching might be useful--so one wrote and published a textbook. The mentality was that of Open Source Software, in fact.

     

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      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 2:08am

      Re: Re: Re: What Is Happening In Book Publishing.

      I was a huge fan of the Whole Earth Catalog. It was my reference for everything. Some of the books they recommended were truly self-published gems. You wouldn't necessarily get a bound book. Sometimes you'd get a chapter at a time held together with brads. I ordered several of those. One was the Owner Built Home. Another was a collection of recipes and other sorts of back-to-basics stuff.

      These handmade books were truly helpful. Of course now you can find that sort of info online.

      I've also followed along with quite a few discussions by writers on self-publishing. Very specific kinds of stuff like where to store your books so they won't mildew.

      So I definitely appreciate the joys and limitations of putting out one's own book. I've also had experience with a traditional publisher. I was contracted by a book agent to write a business book, which was put out by a major publisher and then picked up by Fortune Book Club. I've also contributed to several other books, both trade and textbooks. And I did the equivalent of a self-published book by weekly uploading sections of it online. When I needed to give someone a print copy, I just printed out the pages myself from my computer and put them into a three ring binder. It was several hundred pages before I put the project aside and started working on something else.

       

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    herodotus (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 12:58am

    "I'm going to give you a chance to convince me that you are not a luddite and ask you: if you were forced to make a choice, would you give up all science and technology, or all art? Which do you think is a luxury, and which is vital for the betterment and possibly the survival of the human race?

    Way to dodge the question.

    But as for your false dichotomy of 'science and technology' and 'art' I suggest you consult this book by a genuine scientist, a man named Geza Szamosi, who is Professor of Physics at the University of Windsor in Ontario.

    The chapter of this book that is most relevant here is the one entitled "Law and Order in the Flow of Time (Polyphonic Music and the Scientific Revolution)"

    But just in case you don't have the time to search out and read this book, I will provide a short summary of the relevant chapter: the conception of time as a measurable entity, something that can be broken up into consistent numerical identities that can meaningfully be measured against each other; this conception of time, a foundational element of modern science, was created by musicians who wrote music for the Catholic church.

    Let's say that again:

    The modern idea of measurable, chronometric time was created and developed by musicians who wrote music for the Catholic Church.

    Now if you can develop the ability to wrap your head around this sort of ideologically inconvenient truth, you might be able to understand why the dichotomy between 'art' and 'science and technology' is a spurious one.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 2:39am

    Answer for Suzanne

    You seem to be missing some things.

    Lady Gaga is a test.

    She is popular only because she and her music was sent to the Netherlands prior to being immediately released in the US.

    Usually overseas artists are run in Europe before visiting the US. But what happened with Lady Gaga is the reverse. She's a US artist who was audio-engineered in the Netherlands.

    Repeat: Interscope/Geffen took a US artist, and reverse engineered the creative process. Brilliant. It kinda makes all the David Geffen bashing we do here worthwhile.

     

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    DoxAvg, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 6:21am

    Let's go to the source

    Let's see... how about whichever one most "promotes progress in the science and arts"?

     

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    darryl, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 8:36am

    So if im successful at something, its DUMB LUCK not talent, skill and hard work, and its OR not AND. cant we have all??

    All these people completely agreeing with your Mike, must feel great.

    Ofcourse, in your world, there can only be black and white, equality for all.

    I guess you think its a real shame all those people, the human population make their choices on what they want to buy and you have so little say over them.

    I know you would love to have it put into law, your equality for all. The "for the people, by the people" type thing.

    But in the real world, its not OR, its AND.

    We have all levels of musicians and performers, its not a 'lottery', by any means.

    You are saying there are a small group of superstars and 'everyone else goes home and does something else'. Well that is plainly WRONG....

    If that was the case then there would be ONLY superstars, and no one else.

    No pub bands, no upcoming bands, no garage bands, and so on.

    This is not the case Mike, its clear again, your initial assumptions are wrong, and based on those wrong assumptions you create a nice peice of flame bait.

    And again, you seem to talk from a perspective of having almost no experience in the real world.

    You are aware that historically are few societies have tried such schemes and found them lacking.
    These types of schemes means meadeocrity and stilted technical progress.

    Its not a lotto, do you think a CEO of a major company got there by luck ? or do you think he worked hard and applied his skills and talents?

    Do you think talent, hard work, dedication and so on are irrevalent ? and its just plain old DUMB LUCK, that determines your success ?

    You seem to think the music industry is just musicians, and that there is no requirement for anything else.

    Again, this shows a complete lack of understanding of even the fundamentals.

    You think people are buying hit music because the performer won a lotto ?

    I never heard of that, is that how you buy music ? because I buy content that I want to watch or listen too !.

    That is what everyone does, they do not buy something that is crap, and they do not buy something that they dont like.

    OR, buy it because someone told them the artist won some kind of lotto.

    NO, Mike, in the real world, it does not work that way, as you well know.
    There is a huge body of performers or of different levels, if those performers get good enough, or are talented enough to write or perform a popular song, then they too might become superstars.

    What about "one hit wonders"? did they get the runner up prize ? in your dream lotto ?

    So do you think musicians are paid money they have not earned ?

    No, sure they might get a lump sum, for the copyright, and a percentage of the sales, that is to spread the risk of producing the song or CD or movie.

    It's and agreement !!!!, you seem to imply that performers are forced to sign contracts, or that they do so unwillingly. Both are wrong..

    So you have been successful once again, to create some flame bait.

    But I have to think your not being serious, or if you are actually serious then your model of how markets and the world works is distorted. (to put it gently)..

     

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      Karl (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 3:09pm

      Re: So if im successful at something, its DUMB LUCK not talent, skill and hard work, and its OR not AND. cant we have all??

      Nice straw man arguments, Darryl.

      You are saying there are a small group of superstars and 'everyone else goes home and does something else'.

      He is saying that those who made a profit were a small group of "superstars." Everyone else (like the pub bands you mentioned) still made music, they just didn't make a profit from music.

      If you don't think that's accurate, then you know nothing about the music business.

      You think people are buying hit music because the performer won a lotto ?

      I never heard of that, is that how you buy music ? because I buy content that I want to watch or listen too [sic]!.


      People bought "hit music" because that's the only form of music that was available to them. There may have been thousands of other bands that people would have liked, but they didn't know about those bands, because the bands couldn't make it past the gatekeepers.

      Considering how those gatekeepers decided what music they'll allow to get to the public, a "lotto" is not such a bad metaphor. They allowed you to make it big, or you didn't make it at all.

      Because there are more ways to bypass those gatekeepers, there's a bigger "middle class" of musicians. I see absolutely no downside to this.

      Or are you really that upset at the notion of musicians getting paid?

       

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    darryl, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 8:56am

    The cathlocs "created and developed" time !!!!! WOW..

    The modern idea of measurable, chronometric time was created and developed by musicians who wrote music for the Catholic Church.

    Who said that, that professor ? or physics ?

    Really, mabey you should talk to your great physics guy and ask him if he has heard of Einstain, and his 'modern' concepts of time.

    there is no "modern measurable time", the 'ticking of time' is not a modern concept, its an old and outdated concept.

    So without going into 'frame of references' to confuse you, just understand that time, is different everywhere, and its is not a modern concept that time is constant and 'ticks'.

    Again, it just seems some of the claims and idea's grown here seem quite odd. But as long as it fits a belief its ok I suppose.

    Always telling us how we are all wrong in buying what we want and how we should be buying things because there are more of them.

    And how if you are successful in a career you must have been cheating, or won some lotto.

    Its democratic now, people buy what they want, they vote with their wallets.. and there is squat you or anyone else can do.. Except take away that choice..

    And do you really want to do that ?

     

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    herodotus (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 10:13am

    "Who said that, that professor ? or physics ?

    Really, mabey you should talk to your great physics guy and ask him if he has heard of Einstain, and his 'modern' concepts of time."


    With so many misspellings and misused punctuation in such a short paragraph it is hard to take you seriously, but what the hell....

    The book in question mentions Einstein many times, I see a total of 30 actual references, in addition to obiter dicta.

    And the 'ticking of time' is neither old nor outdated. It is what allowed physicists to determine that light had a speed and what that speed was.

    All of the advanced notions such as Proper Time and Space-time are refinements of the idea of clock time, not replacements of it. The fact that modern astronomical observatories use quartz and atomic regulators instead of 'ticking clocks' doesn't change the fact that they are measuring the same hours and seconds as an Earnshaw chronometer made in the eighteenth century.

    Indeed any standard physics equation that has a 't' symbol in it assumes the existence of clock time.

     

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    Freak, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 10:41am

    I'm sorry, I had to reply because you're so horribly wrong, Herodotus.

    Time, and the 'ticking' of time, and time as small measurable quantities, was long, long, long, long before the catholic church, let alone musicians hired by the catholic church.

    For an example, let us simply look at hourglasses and water clocks, which may predate the catholic church by millenia, and were around in the times BCE. Nearly older than the church by tens of millenia, actually.
    They clearly break down time into small measurable bits.


    I think that you greatly misunderstood what the book meant; I don't have the book or a copy, but perhaps he intended that the idea of a constant beat in music, and of metronomes, was invented by catholic musicians? Of the modern instance, that's entirely arguable. I don't know my history of music to well, but from what you quote, he seems to intend breaking down music in such a way that you can compare different musics against each other in measures of time, (ie:"160 beats per minute"), and then the notes in the music relative to each other, (Ie: "A whole note is played as long as four quarters" or "A whole note is an entire measure, so in 4/4 time, 4 beats")(I'm not that good with music terminology either, I apologize), so it's entirely possible that catholic musicians came up with the measurement system for music we currently use.

    But if you would say music time measurement systems, period, not just the current system, you'd still be wrong because the first metronomes also belong to BCE.

    And evenso, you seem to not understand that the physical idea of simultaneity is entirely false. There is no such thing as two simultaneous events, as in some viewpoint of some observer moving at some relative speed, the two events will happen at different times. We have to specify the frame of reference they are simultaneous in. Thus, we measure clocktime in the rate of radiations of some Caesium-133 that is in the same frame of reference as us.
    That frame of reference bit is important, because it entirely changes the idea of time.

     

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      Karl (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

      Re:

      I've actually studied music, and I don't entirely buy that either.

      However, the fundamental point - that music and science are intimately related - is sound. For example, Pythagorus didn't just study mathematics, he also studied music, and came up with the foundations of the tuning system we still use today.

      I suspect most people here have already read this... but if not, I highly recommend a book called Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter.

       

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      abc gum, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 2:58pm

      Re:

      I concur ... The statement "The modern idea of measurable, chronometric time was created and developed by musicians who wrote music for the Catholic Church." is completely ridiculous.

      http://anthro.palomar.edu/time/time_4.htm
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clock
      http:/ /physics.nist.gov/GenInt/Time/early.html

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 3:14pm

      Re:

      I suspect he's rather looking for a dichotomy that didn't exist in the question or just deflecting the argument himself.

      That said, he's right in that western musical notation did come out of the Church though not only the Roman church but the Orthodox church as well. In fact, notation began in the Orthodox church as was borrowed by Rome then borrowed right back again. Not BCE.

      That there was music notation before that isn't arguable though we haven't the faintest idea in what we call the west what it was.

      The idea of a metronome existing in the form and function that it serves now two thousand or more years ago I find interesting though I have my doubts.

      Time does and has always existed in music on that we agree ever since Og picked up his first rock and clipped out a steady beat on another rock.

      The argument about Newtonian/Einstienian (new word?!) time in a discussion about music is a red herring as the two applications and context are entirely different.

       

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    Andrew D. Todd, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 12:44pm

    From Music To Dance.

    A case can be made that dance is more real than music. A dancer actually has mass, velocity, momentum, etc. There isn't any equivalent of Auto-Tune for dance. Dance can't really be faked.

    http://web.hep.uiuc.edu/home/g-gollin/dance/dance_physics.html
    http://artsbeat.blogs.nyti mes.com/2010/06/03/on-dance-a-physics-lesson-from-karole-armitage/

    Some kinds of dancers, eg. English Morris dancers, have always danced with bells attached to their ankles, giving a rough percussion accompaniment. Suppose that your new-model dancer has some small electronic motion sensors sewn into her clothes, which automatically drive a music synthesizer to provide a fully orchestrated accompaniment, without the need for a band.

     

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    PopeRatzo (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    The Crux of the Matter

    Having a few people hit it big and the rest losing out is a pretty neat description of our economic system. It's the way it was designed and it's working even better than hoped.

     

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      Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 2:38pm

      Re: The Crux of the Matter

      Having a few people hit it big and the rest losing out is a pretty neat description of our economic system.

      True. It's a "winner take all" approach and some say it's more the case than ever now.

      However, when we send kids to college, the idea is that although most won't become millionaires, presumably a good college education will enable them to get decent jobs. So there is supposed to be a positive result for everyone who goes.

      In sports, the odds are miniscule that high school athletes will end up with professional sports careers. Some understand that from the beginning, and others only grasp it when their careers stall. But there comes a time when most people accept that they are recreational athletes.

      In stuff like ballet, most little girls who take it are not expected to become professional dancers. It's just part of a well-rounded education they parents expose them to.

      Music, for some reason, seems to attract a lot of people who do think they will be able to make a living at it (and not by having to give lessons or play weddings).

      It might be that a lot of popular musicians don't seem to be that talented so everyone assumes they can do it too.
      Or that we only hear about the overnight successes.
      Or the fact that unlike sports, music doesn't have clear cut definitions of what is good. So if you try to tell a musician that his music isn't that great, he often thinks you're the problem, not him.

      Having been exposed to people in a lot of different fields (writing, business, sports, music), I find musicians to be the hardest to coach and the most likely to believe they are God's gift to the world. That's one reason I try to interject a dose of reality into discussions like this. Everyone needs to understand just how many other people want to do exactly what you want to do. YouTube and MySpace are two indications of how many people will upload videos and MP3s of themselves performing. There are millions of people hoping to be noticed.

      On the upside, I think this is why free or low-cost, easy-to-use tools that let everyone play rock star will find a market. People will be very pleased with themselves if they create something that can be shared online or emailed to friends.

       

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    Phoenix, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 4:25pm

    I'm for freedom of choice

    As a content creator, I should be able to use any business model I want, just as any other entrepreneur can do. If I want to work with a label and go down the traditional path, that should be my choice. Just like it is the choice of an entrepreneur to work with VCs and P/E to develop and grow their businesses.

    OR, if I'd rather use a more self-directed model to develop my musical career, I can choose to do that too, just as an entrepreneur can choose to bootstrap his company or work with angels instead of going the VC or P/E route.

    When I decide to distribute my music, I should be able to put it up for sale, or give it away to build up a fan base, just as an entrepreneur building a Web service can decide to use a subscription model or give the service away for free and make money other ways.

    I see no problem at all with the coexistence of these options. Some will work better for some than others. It's great that all of them exist.

    Switching gears, as a consumer, I can choose to pay for music that I'm interested in, or pass on it, just as the consumer of a web service can choose to pay for a subscription or find something similar for free that someone else has produced.

    It all sounds good. Freedom of choice for everyone – and no guarantees of success. You have to earn it. It's the American way.

    So what's the problem? The problem is that there is a segment of the population that is stealing the option that content creators have to charge for their music. These people are 'taking' music that they have no legal right to take. This is just like hacking into a cable set top box or a web service and taking the content for free. Just because technology makes it possible to do it, doesn't make it right.

    By the way, it's nice that artists and entrepreneurs both have an increasing set of options to fall back on to make a living from their endeavors, but every artist and every entrepreneur that I know still dreams of the lottery ending to the story.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 8:43pm

      Re: I'm for freedom of choice

      So what's the problem? The problem is that there is a segment of the population that is stealing the option that content creators have to charge for their music. These people are 'taking' music that they have no legal right to take. This is just like hacking into a cable set top box or a web service and taking the content for free. Just because technology makes it possible to do it, doesn't make it right.


      What they are really doing is showing the frailties of that kind of model, trying to make monopolies out of sound is next to impossible, causes great pain to all segments of society and cannot be controlled without subjecting society to great discomfort and pain.

      In the past "content creators" had an illusion of control because they could force business which is easy to do, on the other hand they never had control over the private uses of those sounds and people will not accept anyone trying to tell them what to do in private, any rights people thing they have ends there.

      Just because the law says so it doesn't make it right.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 9:07pm

      Re: I'm for freedom of choice

      These people are 'taking' music that they have no legal right to take.


      Are you going to stop them?

      Consider this, China can't do it, Iran can't do it, the United States can't do it, so we can assume with a high degree of certainty that there will be no meaningful government help, how people with less resources and man power propose to stop that behavior?

      In the ex-Soviet Union it was a capital crime to own western music did it stop it from happening?

      Free was always part of the deal, it was never a problem before why it is now?

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 10:40pm

      Re: I'm for freedom of choice

      As a content creator, I should be able to use any business model I want, just as any other entrepreneur can do.

      And, indeed, you are absolutely free to choose any business model you like -- no matter how dumb it might be. But don't blame the messenger (us) for telling you how dumb one particular business model might be. It doesn't mean you can't use that business model. It just means you will most likely fail if you do.

      If I want to work with a label and go down the traditional path, that should be my choice. Just like it is the choice of an entrepreneur to work with VCs and P/E to develop and grow their businesses.

      Again, no one is taking away your options. But the market itself is showing you that choosing one of those models is probably a bad, bad idea. You can disagree, but that's your choice.

      When I decide to distribute my music, I should be able to put it up for sale, or give it away to build up a fan base, just as an entrepreneur building a Web service can decide to use a subscription model or give the service away for free and make money other ways.

      Indeed. But, let's say that the entrepreneur building a web service decides to, say, build a search engine that charges money to use. That's their choice. But the problem is everyone will go to the competition, which offers the same search functionality for free. Thus, they fail. It's not that they can't make that decision, it's just that it's a dumb decision.

      Same thing with a content creator.

      I see no problem at all with the coexistence of these options. Some will work better for some than others. It's great that all of them exist.

      Sure. But just because dumb options exist, doesn't mean you should choose them.

      So what's the problem? The problem is that there is a segment of the population that is stealing the option that content creators have to charge for their music. These people are 'taking' music that they have no legal right to take. This is just like hacking into a cable set top box or a web service and taking the content for free. Just because technology makes it possible to do it, doesn't make it right.

      Oops. No. One you've already destroyed your own argument when you claim that infringement is stealing. If you can't understand the difference, you're already starting with one armed tied behind your back. I would suggest not doing that.

      The issue is not that there is widespread infringement. The issue is that you chose a bad business model and now you're blaming everyone else for that mistake. We've shown over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again examples of artists who have embraced file sharing to make use of smarter business models -- and almost every single one of them came out *better* than when they tried to use the traditional business model.

      That says something. It says that the problem is not that file sharing exists. It's that some folks, such as yourself, apparently wants to pretend the market hasn't shifted. I would suggest not doing that.

      By the way, it's nice that artists and entrepreneurs both have an increasing set of options to fall back on to make a living from their endeavors, but every artist and every entrepreneur that I know still dreams of the lottery ending to the story.

      Good for them. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's still certainly possible for the lottery ending to occur. There won't be any fewer superstars. But they won't have to rely on the same gatekeepers any more.

      You wish to rely on the gatekeepers, and that's an option. It might work for you, it might not.

       

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        Phoenix, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 5:18pm

        Re: Re: I'm for freedom of choice

        I chose my words carefully. I didn't say that infringement was stealing, I said that infringers were stealing the option creators have to charge for their music. It was a comment on ethics, not a legal statement. If you illegally distribute a content creators work for free on the Internet, against his/her wishes, you are negatively impacting that creator's ability to charge for it. If I scrape and aggregate everything on techdirt, techcrunch, engadget, etc., why would people go to your your individual sites? How would that affect your ad revenues? Does that mean you all have bad business models? Somehow I think you would be pissed and suddenly the subtle differences between infringement and stealing wouldn't matter as much.

        Whether or not a given business model is a good or a bad one is a matter of opinion. I'm not suggesting that my opinion is different from yours. All I'm saying is that content creators shouldn't have to design their business models around illegal activity.

         

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          nasch (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 6:08pm

          Re: Re: Re: I'm for freedom of choice

          I didn't say that infringement was stealing, I said that infringers were stealing the option creators have to charge for their music. It was a comment on ethics, not a legal statement. If you illegally distribute a content creators work for free on the Internet, against his/her wishes, you are negatively impacting that creator's ability to charge for it.

          You're still wrong. Content creators still do charge for their content even though it's available for free. How long that can continue is debatable though.

          If I scrape and aggregate everything on techdirt, techcrunch, engadget, etc., why would people go to your your individual sites? How would that affect your ad revenues? Does that mean you all have bad business models? Somehow I think you would be pissed and suddenly the subtle differences between infringement and stealing wouldn't matter as much.

          Wrong again, Mike doesn't care if you scrape and repost Techdirt. He encourages it actually.

          All I'm saying is that content creators shouldn't have to design their business models around illegal activity.

          I agree. Now where does that leave you? The same place as before: adapt or die. What people should do doesn't help identify business opportunities, only what they're going to do.

          Creators can pretend people aren't going to infringe copyright, or wish that they didn't, or cricicize them for doing so, or try to stop them, but none of that will help them succeed, and all of it will probably help them to fail. A better idea is to accept that it's going to happen and build the best business model possible based on that fact (I chose that word, "fact" carefully too).

           

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 10:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: I'm for freedom of choice

          I chose my words carefully. I didn't say that infringement was stealing, I said that infringers were stealing the option creators have to charge for their music.

          You're still wrong.

          When the pizza shop down the street sells pizzas for $20, and I open up my shop that sells pizza for $5, are you saying that I have "stolen the option of the pizza shop down the street to charge $20"?

          Because that appears to be what you're saying. And that makes no sense.

          f I scrape and aggregate everything on techdirt, techcrunch, engadget, etc., why would people go to your your individual sites?

          Lots of sites do that already. And, you know what, they get no traffic. People come here because they know that it's the original site for the content. They know that this is where the discussion will take place, and they know that they can trust the content here.

          How would that affect your ad revenues?

          Well, to date, no noticeable problem. In fact, it seems to have increased it. Probably because people quickly learn that the content doesn't originate on the scraper site, so those sites help more people discover Techdirt. That's pretty cool.

          Does that mean you all have bad business models?

          Huh? No. I've already explained how it helps us.

          omehow I think you would be pissed and suddenly the subtle differences between infringement and stealing wouldn't matter as much.

          Um. No. The content on this site is public domain. I've said over and over again that you are absolutely free to do that if you want:

          http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090116/0348223430.shtml

          I've said it for years. Knock yourself out.

          All I'm saying is that content creators shouldn't have to design their business models around illegal activity.

          Sorry. No one gets to decide if a bad business model is okay to choose. The market decides. All I'm saying is that this is the market saying that charging for that kind of content is a bad business model.

           

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            Phoenix, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm for freedom of choice

            "When the pizza shop down the street sells pizzas for $20, and I open up my shop that sells pizza for $5, are you saying that I have "stolen the option of the pizza shop down the street to charge $20"?"

            Good example! If you MAKE YOUR OWN pizzas and sell them for $15 less than the shop down the street, that's competition. That's America! (Or is it China... hmmm) If you TAKE $20 pizzas from the shop down the street when they're not looking and sell them for $5, that's definitely illegal douche baggery.

            Here's a better example: If Foxconn designs and builds a mobile phone and sells it at a quarter of the cost of an iPhone, that's competition. However, if Foxconn manufactures iPhones and sells them at a quarter of the cost that Apple does, that's infringement, and Foxconn is definitely depriving Apple of the ability to sell iPhones at the price Apple has chosen chosen. As with music sharing, MANY people who buy the cheaper iPhone from Foxconn would not have purchased an iPhone at full price, but some would have.

             

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              nasch (profile), Aug 17th, 2010 @ 1:35pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm for freedom of choice

              If you TAKE $20 pizzas from the shop down the street when they're not looking and sell them for $5, that's definitely illegal douche baggery.

              And you understand that's not at all the same thing as making copies of digital files and giving them away, right?

              However, if Foxconn manufactures iPhones and sells them at a quarter of the cost that Apple does, that's infringement,

              It may be infringement (that depends on the specifics) but it's definitely competition too.

              Foxconn is definitely depriving Apple of the ability to sell iPhones at the price Apple has chosen chosen.

              Thankfully, there is no law against that. Perhaps this is meant to support the "douchebaggery" part of the argument rather than the "illegal" part though.

               

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                Suzanne Lainson (profile), Aug 17th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm for freedom of choice

                Where do non-transferrable memberships or tickets fit in?

                In some cases contracts say that if you are a member of a club or buy a plane ticket, you can't let someone else use it. So even if you aren't using the ticket or not using the club that day, you can't pass it along to someone else.

                That doesn't seem to fit into the concept that if it is in my possession, I should be able to do whatever I want with it.

                I haven't seen discussions on Techdirt about that. Are people as passionate about that as abolishing IP protection?

                 

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              Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 17th, 2010 @ 1:36pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm for freedom of choice

              If you MAKE YOUR OWN pizzas and sell them for $15 less than the shop down the street, that's competition. That's America! (Or is it China... hmmm) If you TAKE $20 pizzas from the shop down the street when they're not looking and sell them for $5, that's definitely illegal douche baggery.

              Except, no. That's wrong again (you keep making this mistake, and it explains your confusion). If you take $20 pizzas from the stop down the street when they're not looking and sell them, then the shop down the street is MISSING those pizzas.

              However, if I, instead, simply go to the shop down the street, see how they make their pizzas and then MAKE MY OWN COPY and sell it for $5. That's competition.

              Welcome to the world.

              Here's a better example: If Foxconn designs and builds a mobile phone and sells it at a quarter of the cost of an iPhone, that's competition. However, if Foxconn manufactures iPhones and sells them at a quarter of the cost that Apple does, that's infringement, and Foxconn is definitely depriving Apple of the ability to sell iPhones at the price Apple has chosen chosen. As with music sharing, MANY people who buy the cheaper iPhone from Foxconn would not have purchased an iPhone at full price, but some would have.

              Again, this is wrong. Foxconn is not "depriving" Apple of selling it at the price it has chosen, at all. It's simply competition. You seem to have a mental block on this basic issue. And, even if Foxconn made replica iPhones (and some would suggest they do...) it wouldn't matter that much. People buy Apple iPhones for more than just the hardware -- they buy it for the service and the features and the brand and all the things that Foxconn can't just copy.

               

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                david geertz (profile), Aug 18th, 2010 @ 3:16pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm for freedom of choice

                "However, if I, instead, simply go to the shop down the street, see how they make their pizzas and then MAKE MY OWN COPY and sell it for $5. That's competition."

                This is all fine and dandy if the guy down the street is prepared to outlay the cost for the oven, dough, and other ingredients that go on the pizza. In fact if he chooses to kill the market by setting an unnecessary price anchor that's his business, and in most cases won't be in business for long.

                The same goes for media when someone is planning to copy and earn without compensation to the originator of the work. If I outlay 100K to make a film, I could give two shits if someone first pays out the debt that I have incurred by making the film in the first place. You seem to think that filmmakers and distributors actually care about IP and sharing when in fact, all they really care about is mitigating risk to ensure that they can continue on to the next project.

                You can copy my film all you like. Simply put into my pocket the total amount that it took for me to make it and off you go! When I'm free and clear...you can be too.

                Its not about protectionism....its about debt. plain and simple.

                 

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                  nasch (profile), Aug 18th, 2010 @ 3:56pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm for freedom of choice

                  You can copy my film all you like. Simply put into my pocket the total amount that it took for me to make it and off you go!

                  Kind of surprising that this needs to be pointed out, but people can copy your film for free. The only question is what you're going to do about it (where "stopping them" is not an available option).

                   

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      Karl (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 3:03pm

      Re: I'm for freedom of choice

      The problem is that there is a segment of the population that is stealing the option that content creators have to charge for their music.

      I'd just like to point out that this statement is entirely false. No amount of infringment can take away your ability to charge for music.

      Perhaps Justice Blackmun's statements in Dowling v. United States can make it more clear:
      interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The infringer of a copyright does not assume physical control over the copyright nor wholly deprive its owner of its use. [emphasis mine]

      Infringers haven't taken away your right to sell; they just haven't agreed to the price you set, so they get the product elsewhere.

      "Taking music" is a more appropriate term for those labels that contractually force artists to assign their copyrights to the label - thus depriving the artists of their copyrights, and the public from the use of that art.

       

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        Phoenix, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 5:26pm

        Re: Re: I'm for freedom of choice

        "Infringers haven't taken away your right to sell; they just haven't agreed to the price you set, so they get the product elsewhere."

        But the problem is, they don't purchase it elsewhere, or simply choose not to purchase it, they acquire it illegally. THAT is what's broken, and THAT'S what makes them douche bags..

        If you illegally distribute a content creators work for free on the Internet, against his/her wishes, you are depriving that creator of the ability to charge for it.

        No artist is forced to sign with any label. It is their choice to do so, and if they thought they could do better on their own, they wouldn't sign.

         

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 10:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: I'm for freedom of choice

          But the problem is, they don't purchase it elsewhere, or simply choose not to purchase it, they acquire it illegally. THAT is what's broken, and THAT'S what makes them douche bags..

          You're focusing on the legality/illegality. That's your mistake. Whether or not it's illegal, it's happening all over. So why waste time worrying about whether it's legal or not when you can embrace it and DO BETTER?

          If you illegally distribute a content creators work for free on the Internet, against his/her wishes, you are depriving that creator of the ability to charge for it.

          Again, you keep saying that as if it makes sense, but it does not. It's like saying that any business has a right to demand their business model work no matter what the market says. The market says that selling content doesn't work. So move on.

           

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          Karl (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 11:14pm

          Re: Re: Re: I'm for freedom of choice

          But the problem is, they don't purchase it elsewhere, or simply choose not to purchase it, they acquire it illegally. THAT is what's broken, and THAT'S what makes them douche bags..

          Strictly speaking, what's "broken" is the ability for publishers to dictate what the public can do with material that they own (including giving it away). But perhaps I nitpick.

          Illegal or not, infringers still pay for that content - with the risk of lawsuits, viruses/spyware, lack of convenience, inferior copies of the material, etc. The fact that they'd rather pay this price, rather than yours, suggests that your business model is faulty.

          I could probably get any movie I wanted through a torrent site, yet I still pay for Netflix. Millions of others do the same. You're not going to understand modern business models until you ask yourself why that is.

          Also, you might want to refrain from calling potential customers "douche bags." Studies show that people who file share buy much more content than people who do not.

          If you illegally distribute a content creators work for free on the Internet, against his/her wishes, you are depriving that creator of the ability to charge for it.

          Again: false. You want to charge for content? Nobody is stopping you. Infringement doesn't deprive you of that ability. (In fact, plenty of people charge money for public domain works, which have no copyright protections.)

          I didn't want to pay for an iPod, so I got a cheap Chinese MP3 player instead. Did that rob Apple of its ability to sell iPods? No, of course not.

           

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    herodotus (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 5:12pm

    "I'm sorry, I had to reply because you're so horribly wrong, Herodotus."

    Don't be sorry.

    "Time, and the 'ticking' of time, and time as small measurable quantities, was long, long, long, long before the catholic church, let alone musicians hired by the catholic church."

    Of course it was. For instance the Chinese were making astronomical clocks as far back as the year 979 of the common era. The thing is, that they didn't 'take' in that context. There weren't numerous clocks that could be checked against each other, nor were the clocks public. They were private playthings of the imperial household. Modern scientific clock time is inherently public, and uniquely western in origin.

    Sorry if that offends you, but the historical record does seem to bear this out. Check out David Landes' book 'Revolution in Time' for an overview. It has extensive and detailed notes if you want to investigate the matter further. There is also a good bit about more or less the same subject in the early chapters of Boorstin's book 'The Discoverers', and the bibliography is awesome.

    "For an example, let us simply look at hourglasses and water clocks, which may predate the catholic church by millenia, and were around in the times BCE. Nearly older than the church by tens of millenia, actually.
    They clearly break down time into small measurable bits."


    Clearly you can see that hourglasses, which tell different time depending on shape, the kind and fineness of the sand, and the humidity; and water clocks, which are influenced by temperature variations and other weather conditions, are unlikely to be the basis of a consistent, universal method of time measurement?


    "I think that you greatly misunderstood what the book meant; I don't have the book or a copy..."

    What, you haven't even seen the book and you are still certain that I didn't understand it? That's rather uncharitable, don't you think?

    Here's the deal: the notion of a universal, public, measured chronometric time is a specific thing. It has similarities to older attempts at time measurement, but that is all they are, similarities.

    The specific origin of this notion of time is, indeed, shrouded in obscurity, but the evidence is quite clear that it developed in the west from the 13th century onward, which was exactly when the notion of polyphonic musical notation was first developed.

    The reason Geza Szamosi thinks that the origin of clock time AS A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK came from the notation of early polyphonic music was that this was the first occasion known that time durations were tied to an abstract symbolic framework.

    13th and 14th century composers wrote out the separate 'parts' of their compositions (e.g. 'Soprano 1', 'Soprano 2', 'Alto', 'Bass', and so on) in separate part books. In many cases, these parts were rhythmically and metrically independent of each other. The 'Ars Nova' notation as it has come to be called, was a practical innovation that allowed composers to be certain that all of the parts would meet up at the right time. Any notational idea that didn't add up would becoming glaringly obvious as soon as the singers started singing and the parts didn't synchronize properly. For example, each section of each musical piece ended with a cadence sung together by the whole choir. If the parts were out of sync there would be a major train wreck at the cadence, if not long before. And so this whole system of symbolic time measurement was developed in a context where every new conception was subject to a rigorous series of practical tests. Any false notions would be audibly and painfully obvious as soon as they were employed.

    So a couple of hundred years pass, and Galileo has

    the realization that all of the important features of motion--the distance covered, the speed, the change of speed--could be expressed in terms of the time elapsed...Galileo saw that time is the independent variable in the description of motion.


    And yet...

    Galileo himself did not make much of his discovery. He treated it as just another mathematical trick and never seemed to realize its revolutionary character.


    Why? Because

    In the four centuries preceding Galileo, an important sensory model had been created in Western Europe by which a numerically well defined, exactly measurable, and exactly measured structure was imposed upon the experience of what we call the flow of time....the theory and praxis of polyphonic music and it's measured notations


    And finally, he points out that educated Europeans would all be aware of these concepts because "the study of music theory, like the study of geometry and astronomy, was compulsory in higher education."

    (Gosh, I hope all of those quotes are fair use.) ;)


    Now, it's possible that Mr Szamosi is completely wrong, but I have certainly never seen anyone even try to refute him, much less succeed in doing so. If you can find someone, by all means, tell me about their work.



    So to continue with your objections:

    "But if you would say music time measurement systems, period, not just the current system, you'd still be wrong because the first metronomes also belong to BCE."

    Again see above regarding the idea of universal, public, measured chronometric time and it's specific origins.

    "And evenso, you seem to not understand that the physical idea of simultaneity is entirely false. There is no such thing as two simultaneous events, as in some viewpoint of some observer moving at some relative speed, the two events will happen at different times."

    None of which has much bearing on any of this. But even so, all of these conception have the notion of measured chronometric time at their basis. Relativity didn't supersede the concept of measured time, it used it.

    "We have to specify the frame of reference they are simultaneous in. Thus, we measure clocktime in the rate of radiations of some Caesium-133 that is in the same frame of reference as us."

    Well, sure.


    "That frame of reference bit is important, because it entirely changes the idea of time."

    Entirely changes the idea of time?

    So in other frames of reference, some seconds are longer than others? Sometimes hours have 65 minutes and sometimes only 49? Can this other kind of time be measured at all, or is it just sort of understood intuitively?

    Because, if it can be measured, it is simply a refinement of the same notion of time.


    Now, I'm sorry but I must bow out of this conversation, because I have a great deal yet to do tonight, but it's been a pleasure.

     

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      identicon
      Freak, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 8:47pm

      Re:

      "Modern scientific clock time is inherently public"

      Just checking something here, the concept of time depends on publicity?
      What are you arguing here, that the concept of time needs to be open to be considered, or that the church brought about the notion to the minds of the public?


      "Clearly you can see that hourglasses, which tell different time depending on shape, the kind and fineness of the sand, and the humidity; and water clocks, which are influenced by temperature variations and other weather conditions, are unlikely to be the basis of a consistent, universal method of time measurement?"

      Clearly you can tell that using 1/86400 of a revolution of the earth is inexact because that length is constantly increasing?
      Or that two caesium atoms will be nearly thousands of radiations off of each other over the course of a second?

      Now, if we bring relativity into it . . .

      The unit of measure or its precision are unimportant to the concept, as I see it, anyways.


      "What, you haven't even seen the book and you are still certain that I didn't understand it? That's rather uncharitable, don't you think?"

      I think either you are having great difficultly expressing yourself and saying what you mean to say, or that you are wrong.
      I think this because what you have said is wrong.

      "Here's the deal: the notion of a universal, public, measured chronometric time is a specific thing."

      I could argue that we still don;t have such a concept because starving people in Africa don't have accurate wristwatches. Until you provide me with an exact definition, nothing about it is specific, particularly when you try to attach words like universal or openness.


      "It has similarities to older attempts at time measurement, but that is all they are, similarities."

      Ah, now here you're talking specifically about time measurement. Why didn't you say so before? The measurement of time is much different from time itself, much as distance is much different from the meter.



      "The reason Geza Szamosi thinks that the origin of clock time AS A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK came from the notation of early polyphonic music was that this was the first occasion known that time durations were tied to an abstract symbolic framework"

      The bit here about "abstract symbolic framework" bothers me.
      So what, no one had ever, ever, before this point bothered to write down, record, carve, sing about, or even just think about the passage of time?
      Needs clarification.


      [snip]

      Okay, and here you can talk about how a mapping between arithmetic and time was applied to music to allow the timing of multiple sections to be synchronous.
      That still isn't a concept of time; it's simply adding up fractions to arrive at the same sum.
      It IS an application of time measurement, but only requires that the musicians keep the same speed as each other each time, not the same speed every time they perform.
      It ISN'T time or time measurement.



      "the realization that all of the important features of motion--the distance covered, the speed, the change of speed--could be expressed in terms of the time elapsed...Galileo saw that time is the independent variable in the description of motion."

      No . . . no that's not what he did. Or what he saw.
      You can treat any variable as independent in the equations he made/found/discovered. He himself preferred using distance as an independent variable. He DID develop standards for both length and time.


      "Galileo himself did not make much of his discovery. He treated it as just another mathematical trick and never seemed to realize its revolutionary character."

      This is perhaps, the worst bit. To Galileo, a mathematical model IS truth. If he could make a mathematical model that explained something, and it explained all the evidence, and it was the simplest such method, then it, and everything it implies, would be true to him. See: Heliocentrism.
      So calling something a "Mere mathematical trick to Galileo" is to call it true and revolutionary.




      "In the four centuries preceding Galileo, an important sensory model had been created in Western Europe by which a numerically well defined, exactly measurable, and exactly measured structure was imposed upon the experience of what we call the flow of time....the theory and praxis of polyphonic music and it's measured notations"

      I could pick apart the wording. It's horrible and contradicts itself. I won't, I'll try to understand what you meant.
      That polyphonic music and it's notations were the first measurement of time?

      Several things . . .
      1) You keep saying polyphonic music, and the church. Correct me if I'm wrong, didn't the pope ban polyphonic music from churches in the late 14th century?
      That's a nitpick, but it's been bothering me.

      2)Measured in terms of beats, yes. How many beats in a second? Unless you can provide me with a mapping, that's not numerically well defined. Beats only add up to beats, each song, to be precisely rendered, requires a mapping from beats to seconds, even to this day. And if we had a measurement such as seconds, Galileo would not have had to develop a standard for measuring time, nor would he have had to use heartbeats to measure acceleration.

      3) Yes, measured exactly. Exactly relative to itself. I could measure using the unit of "The distance between my front door and my neighbours". For a lot of people, that would be roughly similar, but to some people, that might kilometres. Similar to the last point, since there was no clocktime, given that there were no accurate clocks until centuries later, I could measure out and record my singers, pass the notes to someone else, and although the singers would still come in time with each other, they could be singing together at an entirely different speed.


      "So in other frames of reference, some seconds are longer than others? Sometimes hours have 65 minutes and sometimes only 49? Can this other kind of time be measured at all, or is it just sort of understood intuitively?

      Because, if it can be measured, it is simply a refinement of the same notion of time."

      Yes. If I am travelling relative to a clock, that clock, according to my observations, will move slower or faster. My own watch may record 60 seconds, and the clock record 40.
      See: the twin paradox

      As to whether such time can be measured . . . only if you specify the frames of reference and their motion relative to each other, and even then only in special cases. Only if two objects are in near enough the same frame of reference can time be compared, and even then, on the micro-level

      It's not a refinement, it's showing that the concept of time is completely wrong. The concept of time depends on relative simultaneity: If I have 2 identical clocks which follow 2 identical processes, then no matter who is observing them, they should strike 12 at the same time if they started at the same time with the same time.

      But If I am heading towards them at an angle and a very fast speed, I can observe one to strike twelve before the other, while at the same time, if you're sipping tea at a table between them, observe them to be happening at the same time.

       

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    Thomboykt (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 5:43pm

    Really?

    I could be considered one of the lottery winners. However, I would contend it had everything to do with skillful songwriting and producing, which took years of blood, sweat and tear to achieve. I'm a huge advocate of new technology and embrace the digital revolution, but I vehemently disagree with this article and the previous ones regarding Free music. Everyone always talks about the artists making money. What about the support positions like producer, engineer, studio musicians etc… which are really struggling about now because it's hard to justify the cost to produce music that ultimately is taken for free? Thus, fewer projects are being recorded, which affects more than just the artist. To further dispute your theory, I have an artist nearing 60 million youtube views. Last year we sold a whopping 50k singles. Guess who is making the money there? I have yet to find ONE real artist able to survive on the free model, not to mention the aforementioned team of co-creators it takes to sustain a career.

    If you can please take me step by step from the creation of the song to ROI, I'm all ears. instead of making these assumptions, please provide line item accounting that what you're stating is actually the truth. I can certainly provide accounting to dispute it.

    I look forward to hearing your response.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 7:36pm

      Re: Really?

      If you can please take me step by step from the creation of the song to ROI, I'm all ears.

      If you will just read every post on this site for the last several years you will undoubtedly be able to find all the answers you're looking for on your own. I don't know why everyone has to keep repeating themselves when this information is plainly available scattered across only a few hundred individual postings that vaguely touch on the subject you're asking about.

      Moreover, all the data may not be in yet on the successful models of the future but one thing is certain: they must exist, because the future is inevitably better than the past. That's why we're seeing all these wonderful experiments. Now, being experiments, some of those won't work, and when that happens you know they did something wrong. When some of the experiments work, even partially, they are doing something right. But the one truth across this is that you cannot cling to the old model, because if you wait until there is a new model to change to it will already be too late for you. Unless the old model does happen to work for you, in which case congratulations, but then again don't count on it.

      The point is, if you follow the advice given here, you will definitely be doing something different. You may succeed, in which case you did it right and the advice was correct, or you may fail, in which case you did it wrong and the advice was still correct. It's much like homeopathy: the treatment (or business model) in this case is somewhat different for every case, so you can't use past results to predict your future outcomes, except of course when you can.

      Hope that clears things up.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Phoenix, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 9:12pm

      Re: Really?

      @ thomboykt - the secret is mini-golf. You can have your artists go for lunch and mini-golf with their fans. I think that's what I read here as a flagship example. If you really want to ramp it up, I guess you could consider bowling or bingo.

       

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        Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 10:55pm

        Re: Re: Really?

        @ thomboykt - the secret is mini-golf. You can have your artists go for lunch and mini-golf with their fans. I think that's what I read here as a flagship example. If you really want to ramp it up, I guess you could consider bowling or bingo.

        Phoenix, I have responded to this asinine point many times before, and frankly it's stupid and insulting.

        No one -- NO ONE -- says that the secret is mini-golf and lunch. It's stupid and obnoxious and makes you look like a total idiot to even suggest that. We showed one (ONE) artist who WANTED to do that and had success with it, BECAUSE it was a model that fit HIS unique personality and style, and fit with what HIS fans liked and wanted.

        And that's really the key. Figuring out what makes the most sense for each INDIVIDUAL artist. For the vast majority of them, mini-golf and lunches with fans obviously won't work. No one ever suggested that it would work for everyone. But for the artists who WANT to do that and for which it FITS with what they do, it can be great.

        No offense, but it's really sickening when someone uncreative and with such a huge sense of entitlement to a broken business model mocks those smarter, more creative and more successful.

         

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 15th, 2010 @ 10:51pm

      Re: Really?

      I could be considered one of the lottery winners.

      Congrats.

      However, I would contend it had everything to do with skillful songwriting and producing, which took years of blood, sweat and tear to achieve.

      Let's be clear. In talking about the lottery winners, I did not mean to suggest that those who won the lottery did *not* work hard and have tremendous amount of skill. But, you have to admit that there's a large element of luck that was included in there as well. I know tons of incredibly skilled musicians, songwriters and producers who have not been successful -- and they're incredibly hard working. They just didn't catch a break. I'm happy for you that you did. I agree that hard work and skill are a part of it. But there's also luck and being able to get accepted by the old gatekeepers.

      The nice thing today is that there are now possibilities that don't require the gate keepers.

      I'm a huge advocate of new technology and embrace the digital revolution, but I vehemently disagree with this article and the previous ones regarding Free music.

      You vehemently disagree with fundamental economics? Really?

      I don't think you want to do that.

      Everyone always talks about the artists making money. What about the support positions like producer, engineer, studio musicians etc… which are really struggling about now because it's hard to justify the cost to produce music that ultimately is taken for free?

      You are talking about a few different issues, and it's important to separate them out -- otherwise you lump them all together in a single statement like you did above, which is designed to confuse, not educate.

      First of all, the market is changing, and I know it's been tough for some other roles as well. That's what happens in a transition period. When the phone system went to automated switching, the women (and they were all women) who connected phone calls lost their jobs. But it also opened up tremendous new job opportunities for many more people -- and most of those operators ended up with better, higher paying jobs in the long run.

      So, yes, there may be a shift, but the roles that you discuss are still roles that are important. And if, as we have seen, musicians who embrace these models are able to make more money doing so, then the demand for producers, engineers & studio musicians will go up. The problem is that too many people are spreading the ridiculous claim that it's file sharing that's the problem, rather than bad business model choices -- so not enough people are embracing newer smarter business models.

      Get past that, and demand for those other roles will go up.

      Thus, fewer projects are being recorded, which affects more than just the artist.

      Hmm. Actually, that's simply not true. More music is being released today than ever before. Now, it is true that a lot of it is being done cheaply with cheaper equipment and perhaps not employing the jobs that you discuss. But, again, as more musicians embrace smarter business models the demand for better recordings will increase, and thus the demand for those roles will also increase.

      To further dispute your theory, I have an artist nearing 60 million youtube views. Last year we sold a whopping 50k singles.

      Um. It looks like your problem is that you put in place a really really dumb business model. Contact us privately and we might be able to help. Stop trying to sell the music that's *ALREADY* available for free and start putting in place a smarter business model.

      I have yet to find ONE real artist able to survive on the free model, not to mention the aforementioned team of co-creators it takes to sustain a career.

      Then you're not looking very hard. We've discussed plenty and hear from new ones pretty much every day. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091119/1634117011.shtml

      If you can please take me step by step from the creation of the song to ROI, I'm all ears.

      You can check that post above, or many of the others on the site. I've done so many times. The mistake you seem to be making is in thinking that you have to sell the songs. You don't.

      I can certainly provide accounting to dispute it.

      Ha! So you are saying all the artists we talk to and work with are lying? Fascinating.

      Look, perhaps you made some poor choices with the artists you work with. Perhaps you work with bad artists. There are tons of reasons why the folks that you worked with have failed. But to argue that a few bad choice condemns the whole model when almost everyone we talk to and work with finds success, means that either we're living in two totally separate worlds, or someone is making some bad decisions.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 6:56pm

    Maybe it's not like "winning the lotto". Maybe it's that only a few, very few, have the talent to creating content that is worth reading, watching, listening to.... purchasing.

    Maybe those people are only going to be able to creating that content for a short time, a few months or years. If it is good, really good content, they might very well deserve lotto like payment.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 10:25pm

      Re:

      Yes. That is the point.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Michael, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 5:13am

      Re:

      Unfortunately, the problem with this is that the gatekeepers of the old system made the determination as to which content is "worth reading, watching, listening to..." and, as it turns out, they were often wrong.

      Many great artists have been ignored by the record companies. Many awful artists have been given the golden ticket. To say that the old system was the only want to ensure the art worth reading or listening to was created is clearly wrong.

      The old system greatly rewarded a small number of individuals - selected by a group of middlemen that took the majority of the money - and enabled this group of individuals to create more content. Great. However, the new system enables a much greater number of artists to make a living creating their art at the expense of the middlemen who were keeping the majority of the money in the old system. In addition, this new system allows society to select the artists and art they like.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2010 @ 8:23pm

    woo

    woo what?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 12:21am

    "the people who complaint these creators aren't" complainT really? typo alert

     

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    Brendan (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 12:26am

    Up to date!

    HA!

    Posting because I've _finally_ caught up in my techdirt reading. I've been perpetually ~ 2weeks behind for nealy two months.

    Starting Monday, my news commentary will be about stuff that's still news, yay!

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    NullOp, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 4:37am

    The American Way

    It's the American Way for a small group to make all the bucks. At the turn of the 19th century a few men controlled all the business in this country. They were known as the "Trusts". They were so popular with government the government came up with the anti-trust laws. Of course that was to help to ensure the government got more of the money. So in the end the lesson is: Greed is Good. Given the choice, any group will find a way to rationalize why they should have the major portion of the money, your money. Ain't life grand!

     

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


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