by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 25th 2013 4:03pm
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Feb 15th 2013 1:41pm
from the moving-on... dept
Apparently, the answer was that however the app was designed, it would be insanely expensive to port to other platforms. That seems like much more of a design mistake than anything else. It seems likely that her project failed for a few key reasons, including that it was just about porting an app that came out years ago, rather than anything new. Also, the "rewards" were somewhat unimpressive. And, of course, Bjork fans who were iPhone users had little reason to contribute as well. There's also the big one: unlike some other stars, Bjork really hasn't embraced connecting and communicating with her fans. That's her choice, of course. No one says she needs to. But, it's much harder to raise a ton of crowdfunded money that way.
Still, many are saying that the project failed because she's rich and famous and could have just paid for everything herself. But that seems silly. There are plenty of ways that the rich and famous can make use of crowdfunding and plenty of reasons why it makes sense to do so. The project failed because it was a bad project for crowdfunding, and because Bjork isn't necessarily connected with her fans in a way that makes sense for crowdfunding.
Amanda Palmer, who remains an example of "doing Kickstarter right" has weighed in on this issue, making some really good points about why anyone should be able to use Kickstarter, even the rich and famous. Here are a few snippets, but the whole thing is worth reading:
crowdfunding should, by its very nature, be available to EVERYBODY....And yet, people still get upset. To some extent, this feels a bit like "hipsterism." People feel that these platforms are special because the rich and famous haven't necessarily discovered them yet. But why is it so wrong if they do find them and do use them? If people want to support the projects they will, and if they don't, they won't. That's what makes these platforms so useful.
here's what i think: THE MARKET IS EFFICIENT.
if ANYBODY wants to give a go at having the community help them with a project, that’s the ARTISTS prerogative. if it fails, then the interest wasn't there.
it should't matter if it's justin bieber, obama, the new kids of the block reunion project, lance armstrong, oprah, or the friendless 18-year old down the street who's been hiding in his bedroom making EDM music.
ANYBODY CAN ASK. that's democracy.
and since crowdfunding is – by definition – in the hands of the community: THE COMMUNITY WILL DETERMINE WHETHER A PROJECT IS SUCCESSFUL.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Feb 8th 2013 5:34pm
Connecting With Fans In Unique Ways: Band Sets Up Treasure Hunt To Find Fan-Submitted Sounds In New Album
from the going-on-a-treasure-hunt dept
Anyway, the band is coming out with a new album -- and they've been releasing streaming versions of songs over the past few days leading up to the official release of the album. As in the past, because the band makes it easy to do so, I suggest you listen to some of the songs from the new album, which they're releasing one by one. You can hear them via the widget below. Feel free to hit play before continuing.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jan 28th 2013 7:27am
from the and-guess-which-way-that's-trending... dept
TorrentFreak highlights one key point: which is that of the surveyed musicians a mere 6% of revenue comes from the sale of licensed music. We've long argued that music sales make up a minority of the revenue artists make, so it's good to see some support for that. Of course, the report notes that different types of musicians make money in different ways, so this does not mean that the 6% number applies across the board to all musicians. There certainly are some musicians who make a large percentage of their income from sales. But the key point is that those artists are in the minority, and focusing solely on music sales and changes to that market gives you a very distorted picture of how artists are making money, and the impact of things like a decrease in revenue from music sales.
The end result is that artist attitudes towards technology and its impact on their careers is really mixed. In many cases, on key questions -- it seems like artists are almost equally divided. You can see that in the chart below:
The report also looks closely at how much copyright really impacts an artist's income. To hear some talk about this stuff, without copyright, there would be no way for artists to make money at all. However, as we've argued over and over again, many revenue streams have nothing to do with copyright, and the report bears this out. As noted above, direct sales only account for 6% of income on average, but the report digs in even more and looks artists across different income levels and genres, showing both differences across those different slices, but also confirming that there are many different revenue streams:
Putting it all together, DiCola created this wonderful chart that looks at copyright- vs. non-copyright income across different income levels and genres:
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jan 22nd 2013 8:00pm
from the how-it-all-works dept
Now, as the latest Sundance is underway, TopSpin's Bob Moczydlowsky has a post with some details of how it all went, noting that going direct to fan was massively successful for Peralta, allowing him to both make more money and still retain the rights to the film, rather than selling them off to some other entity.
And now, a year after the Sundance premiere and six months from the start of the direct-to-fan release powered by Topspin, Film Sales Company and our partners awe.sm and The Uprising Creative, Stacy has earned more from direct sales than he would have from the combined total of the domestic and foreign sales offers. And, because a Topspin direct release does not require licensing rights, Stacy and Andrew Herwitz from Film Sales Company were then able to do their own Transactional VOD and Third-party license deals. Stacy and his financing partners quickly recouped the budget of the film, and the copyright remains in their hands for the future.They also included a nice little pie chart (to scale), showing how much bigger the pie was with what Peralta ended up doing:
That really is the key. “I self financed, got the investment back, am now in profit and I own the copyright and will continue to earn all other sales for the next ten years,” says Stacy. “And it is all because I was empowered for the very first time to really do it myself from start to finish. Topspin has done for distribution what the Handycam did for shooting or the Avid did for editing. Topspin put it all in my hands and suddenly everything I needed was within my reach: pure and simple filmmakers democracy.”
One of the more frustrating aspects of discussing these business model issues with some people is their assumption that the "pie" is static (or, worse, shrinking). It's a classic mistake in economics for those who think that everything is a zero sum game. But one of the great things about new technologies and services is how they enable a much broader audience and increase the opportunities, opening up wider possibilities -- especially for creators who really know how to engage with their fans.
Wed, Jan 16th 2013 11:58pm
from the to-get-us-to-open-our-wallets dept
Well, shockingly, it turns out not everyone that produces a product has that mentality. Take, for instance, Matthew Pisarcik & Sebastian Sandersius, the founders of Bison Made, makers of some seriously well-made wallets (story sent in by Markiyan).
However, nothing is more frustrating than purchasing something expensive with your hard-earned dollars and having it fail on you. In this article, we want to address a common problem for men: their wallets don't hold up. It's a source of pride to build something that you can call your own.Too true, but one wouldn't expect that to result in a blog post by makers of quality wallets to teach everyone how to make their own quality wallets. The rest of the post is a rather detailed, informative set of instructions on how to make a wallet in the same manner that Bison Made makes them. It's essentially an informative version of a patent, minus all the supposedly progress-promoting restrictions. Perhaps you're asking why they would do such a thing. They do not answer that question explicitly, but I would suggest it's a simple matter of confidence. Take the way the post ends.
Bison Made uses these same basic principles when producing quality leather carry goods. Instead of paper patterns and hand cutting, we use high precision cutting dies to create consistent leather components that are hand finished and stitched. We have taken a position that by starting with high-quality raw materials and detailed precision, beautiful and functional works that are designed for life will follow.In other words: here's how to make what we make, and it's real, but we are really, really good at it. Also we have the materials, machinery, and know-how. So here's our designs. Here's what we do. Feel free to make it if you like. But if this explanation of what we do helps you appreciate all the work that has gone into our business, you could always spend a little money with us to get the real thing.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 10th 2013 11:27am
from the not-bad-at-all dept
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jan 7th 2013 8:45am
from the but-the-industry-is-dying dept
And, yes, the "but what about my $100 million movie" crowd will scoff and argue that this number is so "small." But, two points there: first, this number is growing very, very, very fast. And if you can't understand how trends explode, then you're going to be in trouble soon. Second -- and this is the more important point -- those funds helped create 8,000 films. For those who have been arguing about culture and how we're going to lose the ability to make movies... this suggests something amazing and important is happening which goes against all those gloom and doom predictions. By way of comparison, the UN, which keeps track of stats on film production, claimed that in 2009, 7,233 films were made. Worldwide.
Also, some will inevitably suggest that these aren't "real" films and don't "count" or aren't important. But, of course, the data shows that it's creating a nice long tail of film production, and that includes some very "real" films no matter how you measure. According to the Kickstarter post:
- At least 86 Kickstarter-funded films have been released theatrically, screening in more than 1,500 North American theaters according to Rentrak. Another 14 films have theatrical premieres slated for 2013.
- According to Rotten Tomatoes, three of the 20 best-reviewed films of 2012 are Kickstarter-funded (The Waiting Room, Brooklyn Castle, and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry). Another Kickstarter-funded film, Pariah, was among the best-reviewed of 2011.
- Two films have been nominated for Oscars in the past two years: Sun Come Up and Incident in New Baghdad. A third, Barber of Birmingham, launched a project after being Oscar-nominated. Three documentary features and two documentary shorts are currently shortlisted for Oscar nominations in 2013: The Waiting Room, Detropia, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, Inocente, and Kings Point.
- Kickstarter-funded films comprised 10% of Sundance’s slate in 2012 and 2013. In total, 49 Kickstarter-funded films have been official selections at the prestigious festival.
- Kickstarter-funded films comprised 10% of the 2012 slates at the SXSW Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival. In total, 57 Kickstarter-funded films have premiered at SXSW and 21 at Tribeca.
- At least 16 Kickstarter-funded films have been picked up for national broadcast through HBO, PBS, Showtime, and other networks.
- Kickstarter-funded films have won at least 21 awards at the Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Cannes, and Berlinale festivals.
- Eight Kickstarter-funded films are nominated for Independent Spirit Awards this year.
by Tim Cushing
Mon, Jan 7th 2013 5:39am
from the let's-discuss-this-rationally----I'll-start-by-setting-an-insane,-but- dept
Now, if you ask this same question of a certain 22-piece self-described "feminist alternative choir," the answer would be much, much different. Your initial estimate would need to be upped by approximately $4,850. Gaggle, the 22-member choir, has announced that they are selling their new single for £3,000 per download (no physical option exists). Why? Because they've chosen to use the persuasive power of economic fallacies to get people talking about "value."
Here's the womanifiesto:
"The Power of Money. What does money mean to you? How do you put a value on the things you care about? Is money the same thing as worth? Like it or not, money means that some people are rich and others poor, some considered successful, others failures. It determines your healthcare choices, education, clothes and how long you have the heating on for – whether you can have the things you want. But money is made up. Without our participation in the illusion, it's meaningless – in fact, if meaning equated to value, we would happily burn all the money tomorrow. Gaggle, of course, uses money. But Gaggle is an exercise in the power of other things as well – otherwise we wouldn't, and couldn't, exist. The Power of Generosity, Inventiveness, Courage. The Power of Flirting, Improvising, Blagging, Hard Work and Being Nice and Polite. The Power of Friendship, Faith, Obligation, Ambition, Anxiety…..Dreams. Without these Powers this track would not have been made. This song is precious. And yet, we're told that 'a single' is almost valueless. And that pisses us off. So we have done a budget of how much this single 'cost'. The many hours it took to write, arrange, compose, master; the expertise of all the musicians, technicians, designers, producers involved; the combination of all the Powers described above and more – we've totted it all up as best we can and… …we are putting this tune to market for the sum of £3000. The power of money? Let's see."Well, good luck with that. It's been said time and time before, the customer has little to no interest in your fixed costs. This factor is completely irrelevant to purchase decisions, which are most often based on a more subjective perception of "value." While Gaggle may value their creation highly, it would be ignorant to assume that potential purchasers will value the track accordingly. In an era where creative output is at its highest, the sheer number of competing, cheaper options would be enough to bury this track's chances, even if Gaggle decided £5 was a reasonable amount to ask. (It isn't.)
Beyond that, there's some questions as to Gaggle's math. Are they intending for one sale to reimburse the entire creative effort? 10? 25? Wouldn't it be better to sell a few thousand copies at a price that people will actually pay, rather than pin the hopes of the collective on sales in the single digits? For that matter, wouldn't this scenario be more likely as well? And is it really fair to ask purchasers to support 22 musicians through the purchase of a single track? Aren't you running about 10-15 members over the upper limit for potentially successful bands that aren't named Broken Social Scene or Chicago?
But the issue at hand here really isn't £3000 or the perceived value of a single track versus the true cost of production. Gaggle's move here is a publicity stunt, primarily aimed at raising awareness of the band with a secondary aim of opening a dialogue about the value of artistic endeavors. All well and good except that it's rather hard to hold a discussion with a group whose opening gambit is to hurl themselves off the deep end while everyone else looks on in bemusement.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 4th 2013 5:37pm
from the isn't-that-backwards? dept
And, the initial results are fantastic. They brought in $333k in the first day, which is pretty amazing. The site has a staff of seven, and it sounds like they're hoping to get over a million to cover salaries and expenses. Also interesting is that the $19.95 payment is a minimum option: there's a pay-what-you-want option above that, and "on average, readers paid almost $8 more" than that minimum. Of course, that data might be skewed by the fact at least one person ponied up $10,000.
First off, I'll say that I think this is a cool experiment and hope that Sullivan succeeds (as it appears he's likely to do). Considering that we're a site with somewhat similar traffic numbers (from what's been reported) and staff, it's encouraging to think that readers would step up and support it to that level. I'm happy that he's not going with a "paywall," but a solution that recognizes the value of having his readers be able to share and link to the blog without fear of bumping into a wall. Also, I agree wholeheartedly with Jay Rosen who highlights that what makes this work is the incredibly strong relationship Sullivan has built with his community. What's that saying? Oh yeah, connect with fans, give them a reason to buy. I've heard that one before. Also, something about being open, human and awesome. Sullivan hits on all those points. So it's very cool to see in action.
As excited as I am to see cool business model experimentation, and to see it in a manner that really is built on not locking up content, there are a few things that strike me as odd about this. These aren't criticisms, per se, because as I've said, I think that the idea is wonderful for a site like Sullivan's Daily Dish, and I think it's quite likely to succeed. But some of the statements that Sullivan made in announcing this, and some of the explanation, just doesn't ring true to me. First up, he tosses out that old chestnut about how "if you're not paying for the product, you are the product." And this is just days after we had a good explanation for why that saying is mostly bullshit. He follows that line with this one:
We want to treat our readers better than that, because you deserve better than that.That strikes me as equally inaccurate. Treating your readers "better" means making them pay? Really? Yes, it's working in that they're willing to pay (which is great), but it seems ridiculous to argue that your readers are so valuable... that they should pay you. Getting people to pay is a perfectly fine business model if you can pull it off, but it's no more noble than other business models. The readers in that situation may not be "the product," but now they're "the money," and that has its own issues.
Now, of course, we have plenty of experience with this ourselves. We've set up ways that readers can pay us directly as well (and we appreciate each and every one who has supported us in that way!). But we don't claim that one way is somehow more pure than the other -- and we try to focus on providing additional benefits for those who do decide to support us: whether it's neat features, opportunities to hang out or cool merchandise. But there's nothing more "pure" about one model than another.
My second issue is really the flipside of the first. Along with highlighting the "purity" of getting his audience to pay, he denigrates the entire concept of advertising:
The decision on advertising was the hardest, because obviously it provides a vital revenue stream for almost all media products. But we know from your emails how distracting and intrusive it can be; and how it often slows down the page painfully. And we're increasingly struck how advertising is dominated online by huge entities, and how compromising and time-consuming it could be for so few of us to try and lure big corporations to support us. We're also mindful how online ads have created incentives for pageviews over quality content.Now, it's absolutely true that an awful lot of advertising sucks in exactly the manner described above. But that doesn't mean it needs to be that way. There's a growing recognition in the industry that intrusive and annoying advertising is not the way to go for exactly the reasons that Sullivan explains above. But as we've discussed, when you do advertising right, it's simply good content itself that people want. That's why a month from now, the most popular thing on Superbowl Sunday won't be the football game, but the commercials. There are times that people seek out advertising and are happy to see it. And compelling ad/sponsorship campaigns need to be about that.
Now, it's reasonable to admit that many marketers haven't full grasped this concept, and dragging them, kicking and screaming, into this new era is not something that Sullivan and his team wants to take on. And that's a reasonable argument (and, as someone who's spent way too much time trying to convince marketers of this thing, only to see them default back to silly, pointless, misleading ad metrics, I can completely respect such a decision). But, it seems wrong to slam "all advertising" into a single bucket, just because some (or even a lot of) advertising is done really poorly.
Again, I think this is a great move for Sullivan and his blog, and wish him tremendous success. We're certainly watching closely from over here. But, it still makes me cringe a little to see those two claims being made in his announcement. Yes, perhaps it helps in the positioning -- and framing the whole thing as some grand social experiment in purity over crass commercialism. In other words, it's a form of marketing all on its own. But, I still think it's a bit unfair and exploitative, without being particularly accurate.