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. icon
    Torg (profile), 24 Mar 2012 @ 8:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I find it hard to believe that the high-end content won't just migrate to somewhere better adapted to the digital age, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here. High-end content is dead, the companies that produced it nothing but a broken pile of bankruptcy paperwork and a page on Wikipedia doomed to never be updated again. No multi-million-dollar piece of media will ever be produced again, as people slowly realize that Double Fine and Wasteland 2 really were just flukes that will never be repeated (this is part sarcasm and part contribution to the hypothetical, in case you decide to interpret it as an admission of defeat). You know what happens then? All the mid-end stuff that's floating around rises to the top. Movies and series are made with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they're just as cool as they always were (no, seriously, check out L5; that show was made with $15k and has special effects and acting comparable to some of the late 90's better offerings). No actor will ever be paid millions of dollars per role again, but they will earn enough to live comfortably. Video games, are, of course, safe from all this, as the existence of Steam mostly protects them from the ravages of the Internet. People are making awesome music for no good reason all the time, and with the fall of the "high-end" stuff everyone else realizes that there wasn't really a high end there to begin with. Today's feast is tomorrow's buffet. It's not that terrible.

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