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
    Rikuo (profile), 25 Mar 2012 @ 2:02am

    Re: It's not generational

    "They have not had to work for a living, or to support others, as generally older and mature people do. They have been 'looked after' by people who have done the hard labor for them."

    I've had to look after myself for the last five years, haven't had a single hand-out from either my loser parents or the state. I got a job, held onto it and worked hard at it. I bet more or less the same thing can be said of most of the people here. Except for you, darryl, in your world view, anyone who disagrees with you must automatically not have a job.

    If I'm in a store, and looking at a physical product, I check the price on the shelf and I decide to myself whether or not its a fair price. Am I willing to pay it? Does it take care of the store's costs, plus make a profit? Since we're dealing with physical products here, the store has to constantly charge a price, because each unit has a production cost, a transportation cost, a stocking cost etc.

    Not so with digital goods. As the customer, I don't care if you sank $50 into production or $500 million. I'm wondering if the price you're quoting is a fair price, considering there's no physical product, just you telling the 1's and 0's on my hard drive to arrange themselves into a specific pattern. That is something that has no cost. I've got two people offering me the same movie: one, who's charging me 10-20 bucks and the other, who's offering it for free. Both offer the exact same product (but more often than not, the guy charging money is offering the more restricted product).

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