by Mike Masnick
Fri, Oct 26th 2012 10:38am
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Sep 24th 2012 7:58pm
from the ruckus dept
Art matters. And it’s hard. So we’re bringing a bunch of amazing people together to talk about how they make their art, get it online, and build a career.We've been seeing more and more stories of artists looking forward, rather than backwards. Of looking at opportunities, rather than looking for a place to point the blame finger in a changing market place. It's nice to see positive events like this one springing up.
We’re artists ourselves. And the changing digital tools, the power (or not) of the old system, and the pressures of the economy are all big, scary issues for us. We’re building RUCKUS NYC to help each other find a way forward.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 21st 2012 3:36pm
from the a-bit-late,-but... dept
OCAD got in touch to let us know that they've now put out a statement on the situation (pdf) in which they admit that the situation was far from ideal, and they're taking steps to deal with it. The dean claims to have met with the publisher, Pearson, who "was highly responsive." That's not too surprising, given just how much attention that original story got. They must have sensed that being on the wrong side of this one would not end well. The plan now:
- Guaranteed end-of-term buy-back of the custom text (dollar amount to be announced next week); they want to take it out of circulation.
- Provision (free) of print copies of the Stokstad text (which contains the vast majority of missing images) to all students who have purchased the reader, to use as a print-based cross-reference; these would be the relevant volumes of the portable version of Stokstad (much easier to carry) – details on how this will roll out next week.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Sep 11th 2012 7:55pm
from the an-art-project dept
Tweets in Space beams Twitter discussions from participants worldwide towards GJ667Cc – an exoplanet 20 light years away that might support extraterrestrial life. Simply add #tweetsinspace to your texts between 8:30 and 9PM Mountain Time on September 21st 2012, as part of the International Symposium on Electronic Art in New Mexico (ISEA2012). We will collect your tweets and transmit them into deep space via a high-powered radio messaging system. Our soon-to-be alien friends might receive unmediated thoughts and responses about politics, philosophy, pop culture, dinner, dancing cats and everything in between. By engaging the millions of voices in the Twitterverse and dispatching them into the larger Universe, Tweets in Space activates a potent conversation about communication and life that traverses beyond our borders or understanding.Perhaps it's not nearly as impressive as the record on the Voyager, but in some ways that's the point. One of the amazing things about the communications revolution we're living through today is how anyone can communicate just about anything, no matter how banal. Of course, mixed in with all of that are also some amazing insights and stories. And they don't need gatekeepers choosing who passes them along. Even if the likelihood of this project actually getting any tweets read by alien life forms is close to nil, conceptually, it's a fun idea that highlights how quickly the world of communications is changing.
* Disclosure: Stern and I went to college together and I consider him a friend, even if I haven't seen him in something like fourteen years.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Sep 4th 2012 11:30am
from the of-course-not dept
And then, finally, an exec speaks the truth. In a quite interesting New Yorker profile of Scooter Braun, the man who made Justin Bieber into Justin Bieber, Lucian Grainge, CEO of Universal Music Group (the biggest of the record labels) explains why he named Braun the company's first technology "entrepreneur in residence" by admitting that "art" has nothing to do with Universal Music:
The company likes hits, the fans like hits, and that's what he's there to do--make hits. We're not in the art business.It seems like people should remind him of this every time he or his lackeys claim they're defending art. Separately, the rest of the Braun profile is well worth reading. It highlights exactly what we've been saying for quite some time, that the real "business" these days is in finding other areas of the market you can build a business around -- areas that are made more valuable by digital content:
In the beleaguered music industry, few managers can afford to focus on just selling music anymore. When Braun met David Geffen, at a party a couple of years ago, he said that Geffen had one bit of advice for him: “Get out of the music business.” So Braun has been converting his twelve-person company, SB Projects, into a many-faceted organization: it now has film and TV arms (Braun recently sold a scripted show, and has reality shows in development), a publishing division, and a technology-investment unit, in addition to a label and a management company.And how is he building up many of those other businesses? By leveraging the star power of Justin Bieber -- something that can't be "pirated" and which is a true scarcity that Braun can control:
His YouTube channel is approaching three billion views, and on Twitter, where he acquires a new follower every other second, a single tweet from him can mobilize his supporters to perform stunning feats: sell out Madison Square Garden in seconds, conjure a horde of three hundred thousand tweens in Mexico City, induce fans to buy a hundred and twenty million dollars worth of perfume (Bieber’s fragrance, Someday), or influence the conversation about world events—in March, Bieber’s tweets brought attention to the campaign to apprehend the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony.As the article really highlights, there are plenty of ways to make money in the business today -- but a lot of it isn't specifically about selling music. And while some people insist that's "selling out," Braun sees it differently:
[....] Barry Lowenthal, the president of Media Kitchen, an ad agency that is promoting Bieber’s new fragrance, Girlfriend, told the Times that the reach of a Bieber dispatch across networks like Facebook and Twitter would cost ten million dollars to replicate through conventional advertising methods.
"I don't think you're selling out by allowing the masses to love your art."And the end result is what we've been saying all along. There's tons of opportunity in and around the music business if you're smart and you know how to build a good business around it. In fact, the market is growing, and Braun recognizes that:
"This isn't a dying business, this is a changing business," he told me. "CD sales have declined drastically, but the over-all business has grown: licensing, merchandising, digital sales."It always seems that, in these discussions, there's often an implicit conflict between art and commerce, when there doesn't need to be. But if someone's defending commerce, it should be clear that's what they're defending, and they shouldn't try to confuse that by claiming that they're really defending art or culture. Art and culture will live on no matter what. Commerce will shift around to the markets most appropriate. Neither need defending on their own, as they seem to survive just fine. The only thing struggling is one particular sector of the entertainment industry which built a "hit driven" business based on being a gatekeeper. And now we live in a world where such gatekeepers aren't necessary, and businesses can be built in other ways.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Apr 13th 2012 7:18am
from the join-in dept
One friend noted just how inspiring that graphic alone was, but reading the more detailed manifesto is worthwhile as well. It talks about just how much the internet and digital technologies have changes our lives, and changed the way art and creativity works -- in undoubtedly positive ways. Here's just a snippet of the larger piece:
The growth of the Internet and the proliferation of sites for searching out and/or sharing images online—Flickr, Photobucket, Facebook, Google Images, eBay, to name only the best-known—now mean a plethora of visual resources that was inconceivable as little as ten years ago: a phenomenon comparable to the advent of running water and gas in big cities in the nineteenth century. We all know just how thoroughly those amenities altered people’s way of life in terms of everyday comfort and hygiene—and now, right in our own homes, we have an image-tap that’s refashioning our visual habits just as radically. In the course of art history, periods when image accessibility has been boosted by technological innovation have always been rich in major visual advances: improved photomechanical printing techniques and the subsequent press boom of the 1910s-1920s, for instance, paved the way for photomontage. Similar upheavals in the art field accompanied the rise of engraving as a popular medium in the nineteenth century, the arrival of TV in the 1950s—and the coming of the Internet today.What I love most about this is how inclusive it is, and how much of it is about recognizing and embracing what an amazingly creative time this is for artists. All too often, we hear of artists who decry such things, who complain about the fact that their club doesn't feel as exclusive any more. For artists and an art exhibit to not just embrace, but joyfully celebrate the way creativity works today, while recognizing how these tools mean that anyone and everyone are creating art all the time, is really wonderful to see.
Across-the-board appropriation on the one hand plus hyper-accessibility of images on the other: a pairing that would prove particularly fertile and stimulating for the art field. Beginning with the first years of the new millennium—Google Images launched in 2001, Google Maps in 2004 and Flickr the same year—artists jumped at the new technologies, and since then more and more of them have been taking advantage of the wealth of opportunities offered by the Internet. Gleefully appropriating their online finds, they edit, adapt, displace, add and subtract. What artists used to look for in nature, in urban flaneries, in leafing through magazines and rummaging in flea markets, they now find on the Internet, that new wellspring of the vernacular and inexhaustible fount of ideas and wonders.
by Leigh Beadon
Fri, Apr 6th 2012 3:29am
from the artists-who-get-it dept
Full-time portrait artist Gwenn Seemel recently posted a brief video about how she feels when someone copies her work. To her, being copied means you have created something important and meaningful, and she notes that the most copied works of all time are also the most seminal cultural icons we have:
I do feel there are a couple of points that she could have made better. Firstly, she doesn't fully acknowledge the value of transformative works, although from her slideshow of examples it is apparent that she understands that value. Secondly, when she talks about her true scarce value—being the only genuine source of her artwork, which is an important thing for artists to recognize—I wish she had also noted that, just like every other artist in history, her work also draws on what came before it. Despite these small quibbles, it is a succinct and sincere statement from a real artist about why being copied is good, and why freaking out about it means taking an incredibly pessimistic view of things.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 5th 2012 1:02pm
from the always-nice-to-hear dept
A piece of art is not a loaf of bread. When someone steals a loaf of bread from the store, that's it. The loaf of bread is gone. When someone downloads a piece of music, it's just data until the listener puts that music back together with their own ears, their mind, their subjective experience. How they perceive your work changes your work. Treating your audience like thieves is absurd. Anyone who chooses to listen to our music becomes a collaborator. People who look at music as commerce don't understand that. They are talking about pieces of plastic they want to sell, packages of intellectual property. I'm not interested in selling pieces of plastic.Anyway, I was just catching up on some podcasts, and listened to an episode of The Nerdist Podcast in which they interview Jeff Tweedy (bonus geek points: Wil Wheaton joins the Nerdist crew for this one) and they have a good discussion on some of his thinking on these subjects. Wheaton actually brings up the whole Yankee Hotel Foxtrot story, and how the band's decision to put it online like that made him, as a fan, feel invested in the band's success because it was so kind to its fans. That lets Tweedy again make some key points that we've talked about here for a while, but it's always great to hear a successful musician saying similar things:
I'm happy with the amount of goodwill that seems to exist between us and our audience. I can only guess as to why that exists, and I've never been in a band where that didn't exist.... We have our collaborators and our patrons, who come to see us play, and I feel like we treated them as patrons of the arts and collaborators.And as for the decision to release YHF online for streaming, he first notes that there was no one around to tell them it was a bad idea. It was just a "practical" decision:
We needed to get out on the road, because that's how we make money -- we don't make money off of records. So our business model, if you want to call it that... we support ourselves on the road. And having our new record done and wanting to play those songs just meant, well, let's let people hear them so they'll know what's up. And it'll be more fun to play those songs for everybody....It's an attitude that has worked well for the band for at least a decade, and seems to work for many others as well. It still amazes me that so many others in that business tend to see their fans as criminals and don't make any effort to treat them right at all.
We just can't look at it as any individual thing is how we're going to be supported by anybody. If they get one record free, they might buy another record. If they get one record free, they might come see the show or they might buy a t-shirt at the show... For us, we've managed to keep our heads above water by not focusing on "the lost sales" but by focusing on the people who are there and are supporting us.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Feb 3rd 2012 7:21am
from the judges-as-art-critics dept
This is the truly horrifying part. Whether or not you appreciate the work, clearly some people do like it.
And, yet, that's what we have here. While the case is on appeal, the NY Times recently ran a pretty good overview of the case, and highlighted why the art world is paying so much attention to it. Especially for a younger generation, building new works of art on works that came before seems totally natural. It's a good thing:
“For the generation that I spend my days with, there’s not even any ideological baggage that comes along with appropriation anymore,” said Stephen Frailey, an artist whose work has used appropriation and who runs the undergraduate photography program at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. “They feel that once an image goes into a shared digital space, it’s just there for them to change, to elaborate on, to add to, to improve, to do whatever they want with it. They don’t see this as a subversive act. They see the Internet as a collaborative community and everything on it as raw material.”What you begin to realize is that, like the wider copyright battle, to some extent this is a "generational" thing. And I don't mean that totally as an "age" thing. There are plenty of "older" people who understand these issues (or who create works via appropriation), just as there are some younger copyright maximalists. But, in general, this does seem like a generational thing, where you have generations of people who simply find the process of building on the works of art completely natural, and those who don't.
At the same time the tools for mining and remolding those mountains of raw material are proliferating. In November a developer and a designer introduced an iPad art app called Mixel, aimed at amateurs but certain to end up in artists’ studios. It allows users to grab images from the Web or elsewhere, collage them almost effortlessly and then pass them around, social media style, for appreciation or re-mixing.
One of its creators, Khoi Vinh, a former design director of NYTimes.com, has been surprisingly frank when asked about the tsunami of copyright problems such an idea stirs up. “This is really a case of, you have to do it, try it and ask for forgiveness later,” he said to an interviewer. “Otherwise it would never get out there.”
But the part that really troubles me about these discussions is a rather simple point about fair use: if the new work does not, in any way, harm the original work, it's seems positively insane to me to think that it shouldn't be seen as fair use. This point is made by Prince's lawyers:
Joshua Schiller, Mr. Prince’s appeals lawyer from the firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner, said the boundary is whether a new work of art results from the borrowing. And he argued that it was clear that Mr. Prince had made parts of Mr. Cariou’s pictures into distinctive Richard Prince works, not just copy them to pass them off as his own and deprive Mr. Cariou of his livelihood. Whether the work was successful and whether Mr. Prince’s intentions were interesting or even explainable can be left to debate. But the primary intention was to create a work of art, Mr. Schiller said, and that is the kind of creativity the law seeks to encourage.I'm still waiting for someone (anyone!) to give me a compelling explanation for why it's a problem in any way, shape or form, if the new work does nothing to take away from the old work. In fact, in cases like this, it's easy to argue that the new work, since it came from a much more well known and successful artist, likely drew much more attention to the original work, thereby raising that artist's profile and stature.
“This is not piracy,” he said. “These are not handbags.”
by Michael Ho
Mon, Sep 12th 2011 5:00pm
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
- Sex sells. Here's a project that aims to prove it by advertising to monkeys. Photoshopping the ideal female monkey form must be a pretty weird job... [url]
- There's some research that suggests that the special status of fine art could be lost if used in advertising carelessly. Yah, like when I first heard The Beatles' Revolution in a Nike commercial. [url]
- Authenticity is important -- even to a Nazi. Psychologist Paul Bloom talks about how we're all essentialists at TED and mentions how kids could think veggies are tastier if they're included in a Happy Meal. [url]
- To discover more interesting advertising-related content, check out what's floating around on StumbleUpon. [url]