We Don't Want Everything For Free. We Just Want Everything

from the kids-today dept

Recently, I gave a Sita Sings the Blues talk to a roomful of 15-to-17-year-olds. Near the end I explained Free Culture and my stance against copyright, which led to some interesting discussion. Turns out most of them are manga fans, and familiar with publishers’ complaints about scanned and translated manga shared freely online. They all read them anyway (except one, who prefers to read entire manga in the bookstore). I asked them how they would choose to support artists they liked (once they had some disposable income) and they said:
  1. Donate buttons – with the qualification that they want to know as much as possible about where the donation is going. They said honesty and transparency are important.
  2. Kickstarter – They all knew about it (which was notable because none of them had heard of Flattr) and valued pitch videos that explained how the money would be used.
  3. Custom drawings
  4. Merch
  5. Physical copies
  6. Live Shared Experiences, including ballet, museum exhibits, and concerts. The event aspect was important; they wanted to be able to say, “Remember that one time when that awesome show was here…” They agreed seeing things in person is a more powerful experience than seeing things online, and worth spending more on. One said she would buy CD at a live show because “it reminds you of the show.”
  7. One said he would support artists by promoting their work to his friends.

Semi-related, I took an informal poll of how many would prefer to read a book on paper vs. an e-reader. The vast majority said paper, but what they really seemed to want was dual formats: paper copies to read comfortably and collect, and digital copies to search and reference. Makes sense to me. Only two of them had iPads, and none used them for “enhanced eBooks.”

My favorite quote of the afternoon, from a 15-year-old girl:

“We don’t want everything for free. We just want everything.

crossposted from ninapaley.com


Filed Under: artists, copyright, culture, free, honest, support, teens, transparency

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  1. identicon
    Quantum Flux, 24 Mar 2012 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not clear at all. You are laser focused on the RIAA and MPAA. I get it. You hate the massive organizations. I hear you. I agree actually.

    But this is about Manga artists.

    Lets take some loan Manga artist (and keep in mind, these kids claim to *worship* these guys... just IMAGINE their attitude for some other form of content)...

    What the kids are saying is... "I will pay SOME money if the artist produces even MORE for me" CUSTOM ART (must be kidding), LIVE productions... Sure. So writing books isnt enough now. You have to be a dancing monkey too and MAYBE you get paid.

    I fully "get" slamming the RIAA and MPAA. I do NOT get the specious argument of defending this attitude because it is convenient for your argument.

    The 7th kid said "well Id tell other people to support the artist". That one is the best.

    NONE of these kids even thought to say "Id offer the paint their house for free". These kids cant imagine *doing* anything for *anyone* - just consuming.

    You must not work in a field where your very ability to eat is directly tied to someone consuming an intangible product.

    What will happen, if this attitude were to become universal, is that creative jobs will simply no longer be viable.

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