Category: independent

Earlier in the day, in response to Derek Sivers’ (founder of CDBaby.com) post I wrote:

“Lordy knows new models must begin to emerge – the existing climate for musicians, as vastly interesting as it may be, as de-centralized as it may be, is actually rather disheartening when it comes to the heavy task of producing an audiophile grade recording. At least the old bottleneck created a filter, the new era of the tastemaker will take some time to develop gravity and in the interim “indie musician” is a hard to thing to still consider a career path. But we persist, don’t we, because the irrepressible urge is there, and so is opportunity and a vast landscape for innovation.”

Dick M. replied:

“Keram – some real contrasts there… I don’t feel like my music has ever been a “career path”… ergo, my music is lumped in the “amateur” category (which is all right with me, because as you indicated, we persist because we MUST). To me, “indie” means it’s NOT a career, because if it IS, it necessitates compromise and time spent in pursuit of $$$… NOT saying there’s anything WRONG with that, just that if it’s for $$$, I don’t believe it’s “independent”.”

To which I countered:

“No dispute that the contrasts are there, Dick. But independent does not have to mean “amateur” or “unmonetizable” or “of no commercial value.” I have made thousands of dollars licensing songs independently to films and TV for over 15 years. The heartache is that when a proper album, that is a sequenced, mastered, carefully thought out collection of works (an album) is made available, there is a dwindling marketplace or even respect for the format. Short of spamming your friends on Facebook or Twitter, the general public has less and less interest in investing in the works of the artist, but rather, flipping, rifling through the latest. I am speaking of the new majority. I should confess that I am saying this as framed by the fact that the “middlemen” continue to find many ways to monetize the musicians’ output – be they the club owners who begrudgingly share the door after the first 50 people, or the repackaging music portals like Lala, last.fm, Amie St or countless others..”

Dick M.
Keram, you’re right “on” here… I haven’t made any significant $$$ with my music, but that’s probably ‘coz the “right” money guy (the one with the coke spoon shoved up both nostrils) hasn’t happened across it. WOULD I “take” $$$ for licensing fees? u BET! Would it compromise my integrity? Not one IOTA.

I think it’s just that when I first hooked up with the Internet (’88, ’89), our “ethic” was that it should cost NOTHING for the player… strange how as the technology has gotten so much better for sharing, it costs so much more just to get connectivity…

I’m 63 now, so I’m not too worried about whether or not I get a “lucky hit” on licensing, downloads or any other aspect of “selling” my music… I just play & record because I (still) CAN!”

Keram
:
“Again, I completely empathize with your urge to make music Dick. I also think that Artistshare is a great idea for creating a central HQ for organizing the effort of promoting.

I am in favor of anything that actually creates a focus – ironic for someone like me who is so interested in perpetuating heterogeneity in the culture, perhaps. But I don’t think they are mutually exclusive.

I loved mp3.com back when it was about print on demand CD for indie artists. Then Universal bought it and killed it quickly. My little brain can’t parse all the numbers, but there is something to learn in that.

As far as the dude with the coke spoon – going the way of the Dodo.  May he rest in pieces.”

Earlier in the day:

DJ AM found dead in NYC apartment
FB response: thing is, death is so fucking final. Believe what you need concerning the beyond; if it brings you solace, peace of mind, then God bless. But the ride is short. Music makes it so much easier. I need more of it in my life and less of the frenetic gossipy nature of the new paradigm. Apologies if this is heavy, but have lost some people, too young, this week. Have lost so many before. Too young. Followed by what. More status updates. Live goddamit. Live.

My favorite Sufi proverb says “Die before ye die, that you shall live” – recognize your mortality and revel in it.

Moreover, music is a mystical, unquantifiable gift. I am tired of posturing behind the coolness of what. It is miraculous. Lend it your energy, because it comes from something beyond what we understand.  And it needs your help.”

p2pnet news » Blog Archive » Dick Cheney new RIAA president
@ConstantChange

Tweet: No. I don’t believe it. I don’t, as a musician or music lover want to be sent to a gulag. I categorically reject the very possibility of this eventuality.

It’s hard to believe, but it is written in an online magazine format so it MUST be true.

For good measure, a moment of solace in the form of a song, video added, from my friend at Monty Python Eric Idle:

Fuck You FCC


This blog will return to reason and matters of the soul and the beauty of culture after these messages.



Although I have not paid for cable in years, and though I couldn’t tell you what the top shows have been for the past ten years, and even though I have frequently proclaimed “Kill Your Television” as a panacea to our collective North American spiritual crisis (highest level of depression in the world) I felt I had to comment on an article that appeared at Gawker.com titled “The End of Television As We Know It”today that said:

“For decades now, the networks and production studios have held a creative stranglehold over the industry. If you were a writer with a brilliant idea for a new show, you had to go through “the system” if you held any hope for your idea to see the light of day and come to fruition as an actual television show. “The system” meaning everything so frustrating and wrong and cliched with modern day Hollywood—-An endless clusterfuck of pitch meetings to tone-deaf underlings, countless script re-writes birthed from asinine notes from dunderhead executives (“I see on page 16 you have Sally eating a peanut…shouldn’t she be eating a cashew instead?!”) who’d never written a thing in their lives but love handing out business cards to aspiring starlets with the word “Producer” under their names, a dizzying array of focus groups and trend research studies so the higher-ups can get their fingers on the “pulse” of the modern viewer and force the creator to change accordingly, and everybody and their wife and cousin has got a fucking opinion to the point where the whole thing gets utterly mutilated. Someone could have the most brilliant idea and these people will more often than not find new and innovative ways to destroy it, all in the hopes of making it more appealing to Harriet and Clarence McAverage in Des Moines, Iowa.”

My response:

Not really.  I mean, it would be nice to think the internet, the platform that made you “famous,” Gawker,  was all that, but not yet. Last year 99% of television was still watched on a “TV.” I was surprised myself by that number, but guess what – Hulu+YouTube+Piratebay+Demonoid and all of it still equals less than 1% of the viewing audience.

People have been crying “Kill Your Television” since it began. And every year we declare its death, but it won’t go away.  Next year when all those new xmas-gift HDTVs start broadcasting 3D content, Lost in 3D, UFC in 3D and the rest of it (sure YouTube 3D is coming soon too) the internet will still be a relative drop in the bucket. Perhaps it is for the same reason radio won’t die; sometimes people don’t WANT to think, they don’t want to make their own choices. Sometimes they just want to sit back and have their entertainment programmed for them by a curator, by a collective group of people who are experts in storytelling, lighting, editing, acting, post-production etc.

“User-created content” may find ways of reaching large audiences, it may even prove to be innovative and of high standard, but what makes television relevant is that it concentrates an audience and its collective experience. The internet lets anyone watch anything anytime – but they do not share in the moment and TV, as the modern campfire creates a certain sense of social unity. You can watch the Superbowl a week later on Hulu, but that kind of misses the point doesn’t it? The collective excitement is gone, the dueling sides, the excitement of participation is lacking in this regard.

Sure this idea of choose-your-own-adventure is neat, but it is still time-intensive and requires research and thus actual work. TV is a passive sport and so long as we work and get tired and just want to chill on the couch and be entertained, TV will be around.