Supporting Art in the Digital Age

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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby Snardbafulator » Wed Oct 09, 2013 02:37

psparky27 wrote:
Snardbafulator wrote:
psparky27 wrote:Your avatar does look like a troll Snard...just saying !

I guess a stage invader would have to be a troll shot up with biker crank ::twisted:
psparky27 wrote:No its its literally correct and refers to the Gig at Clapham in 1992 .

I think that's completely awesome, dude. You know I was just kidding around :P

And my avatar does look exactly like what you'd imagine an internet troll looks like :eeeek:

I chose it because advocating for music that most people find impossibly obnoxious, whether it's Cardiacs or Koenji Hyakkei or Beefheart or Zappa, is kind of an inevitably trolly thing to do.
Was that really 20 years ago :(

21. I know ... ::(

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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby Snardbafulator » Wed Oct 09, 2013 06:04

eadric wrote:(I realise there's like 5 of us who are really into this stuff, and the rest of the forum is thinking 'jesus won't those damn pseuds shut up'. So sorry for any 'offence' caused)

"Pseud." Never heard that expression before. Sounds like a species of slug. Awesome ::D
I think I'd argue the middleman generally has some value, but I'd be going waaay off topic there.

I dunno what "off topic" means on a forum without a moderator presence, where most folks are British and thus well-behaved and the non-Brits are at least Anglophilic enough to try (most of the time) to emulate that standard of decorum. I mean, the only one anyone argues with here is me, and I'm perfectly okay with that. Not that I like arguments, but I do like to discuss ideas and that's probably not what this forum was initially intended for, I realize.

As for the middleman generally having value, I think that's at the heart of the whole issue. What "gates" are the gatekeepers keeping anymore? We used to know in the 70s and 80s, when the holy grails were radio access and good press, and a sympathetic DJ or journalist could make all the difference. Where today are the national fora for music that isn't blatant pop?
Lower the transaction costs, variety follows. Mind, I don't know if there's more original music being produced, or if it's just easier to get hold of the huge back catalogue.

I think (and we could try to confirm this) that there's much more original music being produced, on top of the inexhaustible availability of archive material, because it's not just the transaction costs that have been lowered. It's also the production costs, and as importantly, the networking costs. Leaving aside the consumer availability of high-quality studio equipment, today you can find people who share your musical ideas all over the world. Some "bands" record by emailing ProTools files to each other without having ever met face-to-face. Totally different situation than when you were the only odd time signature freak in town.
Fidan's videos might not have any views, but it's still able to reach a far wider audience than on some back woods radio station. Success is still going to be the choice of some idiot, but at least I can choose my preferred idiot.

I emailed Esra to ask her if she or her label would mind if I put the rest of her albums up on YouTube. I did this because I mailed her before and she responded, so now I feel honor-bound to check out her wishes in a way I didn't at all with Farmers Market, Thinking Plague or MoeTar whose tunes I uploaded without much reflection (except to bitch at Cuneiform Records).

In the first mail I made the case that Fidan should be looking at playing art rock and progfests and not just jazz venues, because there is a huge crop of Anglophone prog fans who are missing out on her music. She only thanked me for writing, but hey, at least I'm trying.
It's an interesting idea ; I can't think of a way of doing it that isn't very likely to go horribly wrong, but perhaps this is my cognitive bias talking. I don't know how these musical philosopher kings would choose what to 'support' - after all, you give people enough musical education and they start going all atonal and then it's 'why are we funding these people to give us what we don't want to hear'.

Well it's already done all over the world, including in philistine America with the National Endowment for the Arts. 85% of music funding's a no-brainer; nobody with any affinity for the arts disputes the value of at least familiarizing kids with classical music, classic jazz and music from different cultures. Publicly funded grants for contemporary artists are going to run into controversies, of course, but in America that's been mostly about "immorality" in the visual arts. Nobody sez boo when public funds go to some unlistenable academic composer. As long as he's not writing an opera that features a bull whip up somebody's rectum, of course :eeeek:
I don't know how else to define 'quality' in a way that isn't a path to tyranny.

That's the crux of the crux of the issue. I have no answers either, save to note that the market model based on supply and demand runs into contradictions that would make Marx's mouldering beard frizz out in a ghastly corona. Say somebody recovers "the original recording" of John Cage's "classic piece" 4:33. The collector's market goes berserk, some yuppie outbids everybody on eBay, gets the tape in the mail, blows the dust off, threads it on his vintage Teac and it's four minutes and thirty-three seconds of tape hiss. John Cage cracks a rictal grin.

We can talk about quality without enabling tyranny with regard to earlier eras, though. How did Beethoven become a "great composer"? It surely wasn't some ambitious A&R guy at Deutsche Grammophon. It was the consensus result of literally hundreds of thousands of independent judgments made over time by musicians, educators and listeners. There's no stink of tyranny about this judgement, or even Western cultural hegemony. There are independent, locally organized Beethoven societies in every country of the world. His music's universal.

So I think it's important to at least note that we can see a value in music that transcends the marketplace and make a pretty firm judgment as a culture that it's worthwhile to teach kids about Beethoven and play them some of his music on the public dime. And the more we do this sort of thing, the more we'll equip the upcoming generations to make more informed choices, since the middleman sleeps longer now than at any previous cultural moment.

We have to learn how to become our own middleman.
See, with the massive, looming signal-to-noise problem that Youtube has given us, I think some bands might well accept some sincere, well placed evangelism in place of cold hard cash. I realise they'd probably rather have both. These kind of deals are done all the time.

For my part, I just got a mail back from Tarik. I sent him a link to Esra's Paradox and he called Fidan "a band after our own hearts." So I sent him a link to the Moetar (sic) thread :8:
I never thought I'd see anabaptism mentioned here!

I love reading about ancient religimus doctrinal disputes on Wikipedia. You wanna know the difference between Arianism, Pelagianism and Nestorianism, I'm your go-to guy.
To continue/ruin the analogy, I'm happy for people to believe in whatever kind of personal Tim works for them. I personally don't care about bootlegs & the dvds and influences. The people who like to collect, sure, more power to them. It's all tunes, innit.

The Holy Relics! The Shroud of Turin! The Rough Trade Heaven Born! The Ever-Bleeding Head of a World Cup Golfer! (no wait ... that's the Church of the SubGenius)

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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby schlep » Fri Oct 11, 2013 19:50

David Byrne doesn't know the answer but poses some good questions.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/oct/11/david-byrne-internet-content-world

Mainly on the basis of accountability and fairness - Spotify -and their ilk- make money, the recording industry makes money, the consumers get free music, the artists get (next to) nothing.
Sorry to harp on with this, it doesn't seem OK or just the-way-of-the-world to me.

Isn't this the sort of problem that occupied Robert Fripp the last few years? I haven't been following his blog, but I believe he had a LOT to say about the rights of his music getting bought and sold by corporate interests, over his head and without his consent - and it kept him from making music for a few years (though now I see Crimson is back in business, I don't know what changed...)
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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby Snardbafulator » Sat Oct 12, 2013 05:45

schlep wrote:David Byrne doesn't know the answer but poses some good questions.

Thank you so much for posting that, schlep. It's absolutely on point. As a quick aside, it's interesting David Lowery is involved in this. I need to seriously drop him a mail; he and I went to college together (all those Thomas Pynchon references in his interviews -- I turned him onto Pynchon :8: ) I never did get around to checking out Camper Van Beethoven, though :?

So Dave! ... if you happen to be idly reading a Cardiacs forum or googling your name and this comes up, this is Bob, the guy who smoked all that sinsemilla with you and your roommate as you turned me onto Shadowfax and Happy The Man. Yo, register and drop me a PM, dude.

Back to the matter at hand, Byrne does a splendid job of making his case, considering the various arguments in their turn, putting it all into historical context and admitting that there might be a whiff of Ludditism in his perspective. I pretty much agree with him, save for his dire conclusion that the internet is going to suck all the creativity out of everybody.
Mainly on the basis of accountability and fairness - Spotify -and their ilk- make money, the recording industry makes money, the consumers get free music, the artists get (next to) nothing.

Somebody sent me a free Spotify trial membership, but I never wound up opening the email. One amendment to your summary, though, is that the consumers don't get entirely "free music," as there's usually a nominal monthly subscription charge (albeit much cheaper than an equivalent amount of CDs or iTunes), as well as all the advertisements they subject you to.

I have no direct experience with these monetized streaming services (which of course doesn't include SoundCloud and BandCamp), but it strikes me that the really pernicious thing about them is that they assuage the consciences of their subscribers, making them feel like they're paying for the music, just getting a really good deal on it. And this, as Byrne and Lowrey point out, is utter bollox. The real Armageddon scenario is already in the pipes, as the majors keep pawning off their catalogs to Spotify in anticipation of the day when they pull a Facebook and go public, and the labels are then set to make a killing as Spotify dominates the retail market.
Sorry to harp on with this,

Good grief, don't be sorry, schlep. It's a dead-serious issue.
it doesn't seem OK or just the-way-of-the-world to me.

Well, tragic as it doubtless is, it may well be the way of our fallen world, but there's nothing remotely "OK" about these sorts of corporate shenanigans. A supporter of Spotify might say that if they helped the labels recoup their losses from declining CD sales, that's just that much more money to cultivate new artists. I'd look at that person and go Darlin' ... this is capitalism we're talking about. The majors don't care any more about the artists on their rosters than all those multinationals do about the workers they continue to downsize onto the unemployment line. Artists are just cogs in the money machine, totally replaceable, and gods forbid you play music in a style that's difficult to duplicate on the odd chance you do become successful. If the majors have to pay artists slave wages in order for their stockholders to remain rich, so be it.

Finally, why do I reject the conclusion Byrne extrapolates from his otherwise devastating critique of Spotify? First, because I'm not quite sure Byrne has risen above his own perspective to see the larger issue. He's a legacy artist who made it in the age of major labels and clearly feels guilty (appropriately or not) that upcoming artists will never have that kind of advantage. So he's bemoaning a lost age that will no doubt never come back. Are they any salient ideas on how to stop the collusion between the major labels and Spotify and their ilk -- aside from, you know, terrorist acts? While I'm not going get all jesuitical about the relative morality of free legal downloading vs having a Spotify subscription, I'd personally think it'd be less moral to pay Spotify, because the vast chunk of that money going to the business end seems to be more evil than made up for by the few pennies that make it to the artist.

The multinational corporate model of music distribution is, IMHO, simply not redeemable.

Where do we go from here? Again, I'm not sure, but the recent example of MoeTar's fundraising to pay for studio time seems to point a way. Since they raised over $4k with 66 donations, making the average contribution @$60 with many people giving $10 and $20, that would mean that over half of their contributors gave $100 or more. What does this tell us? That we may be entering a new age of the Medicis, where the folks who have made out much better than bandits in this income-bifurcated, globalized economic regime of ours don't mind being patrons of the arts and forking over big for non-commercial music they loved in their youth, the same way they fund the US Democratic Party and other charitable and social causes.

The fundamental problem is never going away. Music is not a commodity the way soap and pizza are commodites; according to supply and demand, the good flourishes and the bad dies out. Music demand, however, doesn't correlate very well with quality, and in fact at the extremes may have an inverse relationship. Because of this, corporate labels beholden first and foremost to their stockholders will always find ways to stiff worthy artists, because artists to them are just pizzas and bars of soap. The only way out of this conundrum is to harness the ever-evolving technologies that allow artists to do an end-run around the entire corporate regime (through the internet as well as inexpensive studio gear), to convert fans into superfans who go out of their ways to promote and fund music as if their lives depended on it.

Because they do. Our culture depends on it, boys 'n' girls.
Isn't this the sort of problem that occupied Robert Fripp the last few years? I haven't been following his blog, but I believe he had a LOT to say about the rights of his music getting bought and sold by corporate interests, over his head and without his consent - and it kept him from making music for a few years (though now I see Crimson is back in business, I don't know what changed...)

I'm really not sure what Fripp's specific issues are these days. From reading various Bruford interviews over the years, I thought KC's label had managed to make the same kind of break into a cottage industry that FZ did with Barking Pumpkin, but that was probably a decade ago.

Robert Fripp is also, like David Byrne, a legacy artist caught up in the deals he made with gigantic corporate entities decades ago. The problems of newer artists are much different.

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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby schlep » Sat Oct 12, 2013 13:28

Byrne did allow that he's not going to starve (and Fripp's doing OK I would guess, just persnickety), being lucky enough to be able to draw a crowd for his concerts, etc - but pointed out the difficulty for someone like his pal St Vincent, one or two semi-popular albums under her belt but no steady patronage system.
I see David Lowery around town sometimes, I've never spoken to him but might have to try dropping your name the next time he hoves into view.

ps - I thought Spotify was free? Maybe that was the original business model. Never touch the stuff - though I DO free downloads, according to my own slippery standard of moral accountability...
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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby Snardbafulator » Sat Oct 12, 2013 19:26

schlep wrote:Byrne did allow that he's not going to starve (and Fripp's doing OK I would guess, just persnickety), being lucky enough to be able to draw a crowd for his concerts, etc - but pointed out the difficulty for someone like his pal St Vincent, one or two semi-popular albums under her belt but no steady patronage system.

Byrne and Fripp certainly aren't going to starve, but let me tell you, Allan Holdsworth has come pretty close to it, especially after he lost his home and studio after a nasty divorce. He was never on a major label save for his abortive experience with WB that led to one classic EP (Road Games) and shout fests with Ted Tempelman. And considering the level of acclaim Holdsworth has achieved (including a Grammy nomination for that record) from critics and musicians as one of a handful of world-class premier guitar virtuosos, that's beyond tragic.

St. Vincent may not be screamingly popular, but she's certainly in the mainstream enough (she's been on Jay Leno) to have been a duly label-supported and economically comfortable act if she had come up during Byrne's heyday, which he is absolutely right to lament on her behalf. But back when Byrne came up ... "The Talking Heads and their brand of New Wave replaced progrock!" You could legitimately talk about scenes "replacing" each other (instead of coexisting side-by-side with their own fan bases) because that's what happened in an era with a more-or-less unified national music press and flagship radio stations that did the promotion. To this day, most people who don't remember the era think that punk "killed" progrock, when what happened is that the economy tanked, the prime interest rate spiked to 21% and labels could no longer afford to take chances on legacy acts that weren't guaranteed blockbusters.

What Byrne doesn't seem to quite get, though, with his blunderbuss indictment of the internet as the instrument of ultimate creative doom, is that with the rise of micro-market niching and the indie labels and now satellite radio stations and podcasts which service these ecologies, the loss of a national music scene has been an enormous boon for styles of music that never would have had a chance even back when the labels were flush with money. Thanks to the net, affinity groups for very specific music can form, network and show support without regard to geography, which is veritably revolutionary. And if these artists can't get proper label contracts which can guarantee them at least an existence based on how much of their music will be actually bought by consumers in the era of Spotify and legal free downloads, they're at least on YouTube with the stuff they have managed to realize, produce and record regardless.

Has this been a terrible thing for artists? It's a more complicated question than it looks. Certainly Byrne made a good point, contra my initial post to you, that there just aren't enough cushy academic gigs out there for every struggling artist (restaurant wait staff, though is probably permanently available), and ryan is surely right also that working at some mind-numbing day gig isn't necessarily the best thing for creative juice flow. For those aiming to be the next superstar in whatever compromised pop Big Genre (hip-hop, soul, country, rock, adult contemporary, etc.), it's probably about the same as it was since Elvis Presley created the model. It was a crapshoot then, and it remains so today, though fabulous riches are guaranteed if you make it. For the guys and gals doing the stuff I'm into: RIO, avant-prog, breakcore, academically informed ethnic jazz, young avant-garde tour monkeys like The 'Pus and Blotted Science, it's probably better now, with more exposure and opportunities to play, than it has ever been. This is especially true for the RIO old guard who've managed to hang in long enough to establish a reputation and can reasonably rely now on national arts grants.

But for the folks trying to split the difference between intentionally unpopular and obscenely popular, the difficult-to-categorize ones trying to carry on in the spirit of mainstream, non-avant-garde progrock, Kate Bush or Cardiacs, people like MoeTar, St. Vincent and probably the majority of those who'd fit in the corporate created catch-all category of "alternative music," it's probably worse now than it was even 10 years ago. There's no mileage anymore in having your music be "widely appealing," because without the label support that used to be more-or-less a given, you can't cross the threshold and move beyond your little exquisitely-niched genre ghetto. And it wouldn't do much good anyway if enough fans simply don't purchase your music directly at least through your label. This breaks Byrne's heart.

I'm sympathetic to this, of course, but where I draw the line is at having any sympathy at all for the major labels, and I am interested in no "rescue program" to reverse these trends that would involve re-animating that hideously undead zombie corpse. Let the majors rot unto receivership let and all musical artists sign onto indies who at least guarantee them a 50% cut, and then I'll be quite happy to join any social engineering campaign to scourge downloaders.
I see David Lowery around town sometimes, I've never spoken to him but might have to try dropping your name the next time he hoves into view.

Heave, hove! Sheesh, where did you get that word? The MickeySoft spellchecker flags it. Anyway, if you manage to do the "Can I have your autograph, Mr. Lowery?" thang with ol' Dave at the Piggly Wiggly or whatever serves as a supermarket for you folks below the Mason Dixon line, tell him you're talking to the guy who gave him his KUOR air name Genghis Khan (I was The Egghead), the dude who tried to teach him Bhongwater on guitar, and if he'd like to hear a spiffed up version of the tune which I tortured the campus with on any public piano I could find, he can check out McClintic Sphere (he'll know that for a Pynchon reference) on YouTube, and that the tune is now called Three Cubed. He can leave me a private message there.
ps - I thought Spotify was free? Maybe that was the original business model.

I think it was when Trouserpress told me about them back in '11. A SoundCloud with banner ads, basically, an old-school dot-com model that collapsed once everybody began using popup blockers, so a year later when somebody tossed me a free trial membership, it changed. Byrne specifically cites it as a nominal-monthly-charge subscription model in the article, and of course the majors would have no interest in it if it didn't generate a revenue stream.

What makes the majors so comic-book evil in this new seduction of Spotify is that they're only trying to get their grubby meathooks back into the revenue they lost with the collapse of CD sales, and if they have to do this at the expense of the artist, leaving them with ten or fifteen cents on the dollar, then that's what they'll damn well do. As Zappa sez, Phooey On Them.
Never touch the stuff - though I DO free downloads, according to my own slippery standard of moral accountability...

What makes the problem so perversely intractable is that if you successfully manage to delegitimize Spotify in the eyes of music consumers, they'll just go back to using the file sharing services, and then the artist gets zip squat. That's the gun that the majors are holding to everybody's heads. Well, maybe zip squat is the kind of figure that starts a revolution.

Here's hoping ...

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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby schlep » Mon Oct 14, 2013 13:58

Interestingly, Mike Johnson of Thinking Plague linked the same Byrne article on the band's FB page, and then got trolled by some guy who thinks that artistic integrity is its own reward. Mike got a little mad about it:
<< Does everyone really begrudge a musician wanting to be a "professional". Or do all artists with "integrity" HAVE to be amateurs, "hobbyists", etc? Please read the article carefully, and then perhaps read the book "Freeloading".>>

Elsewhere he points out the difficulty of getting tired musicians together on evenings, weekends, to rehearse and record new material - not being able to afford decent equipment - and finally estimates that there might be twice as many TP records in existence if they had time and means to do it. So the 'cushy academic gig' doesn't exactly suit him, though it does seem nicer than working in a kitchen, to me...

Apart from all the digressions about record labels and depredations of the formerly big music business, what this comes down to is the consumer's unwillingness to pay full price for music.

Another development we've touched on is crowd-funding, which seems to work well for some bands, to get things recorded and released anyhow. Tim's pal Ginger Wildheart has a devoted cult who don't mind spending big bucks in pre-ordering premiums on his many projects...Toby Driver of Kayo Dot has funded his last two efforts this way - barely - it is unpopular music after all.

Another digression -Trouble with crowd-funding is the great level of trust required in the artist-audience relationship. I have to admit being a little uncomfortable with the level of interactive communication, social networking that goes on between artist and us kidz these days...the great ideal of punk rock, no artificial barriers, we're just like you man! Not saying it's a bad thing - it is cool as hell to be 'Friends' with Tim Smith you know - takes some getting used to though.
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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby Snardbafulator » Mon Oct 14, 2013 16:45

schlep wrote:Interestingly, Mike Johnson of Thinking Plague linked the same Byrne article on the band's FB page, and then got trolled by some guy who thinks that artistic integrity is its own reward. Mike got a little mad about it:

I'd be interested in seeing what the guy had to say. It might just be an idealistic fan with little experience in the music world. Artistic integrity, after all, has some degree of value.
<< Does everyone really begrudge a musician wanting to be a "professional". Or do all artists with "integrity" HAVE to be amateurs, "hobbyists", etc? Please read the article carefully, and then perhaps read the book "Freeloading".>>

Goodness, does that ever sound like Mike. I got the sense from his long interview that Mike sometimes wishes we lived in a different culture. Because yeah, it would be nice if we lived in a world where the kind of music TPlague played was listened to by more people, more seriously, and probably nicer yet if we also believed that art was a pearl beyond price that we all had an obligation to support as a matter of our common humanity. Instead, we live in a world where art has been collapsed into commodified, specifically priced entertainment.
Elsewhere he points out the difficulty of getting tired musicians together on evenings, weekends, to rehearse and record new material - not being able to afford decent equipment - and finally estimates that there might be twice as many TP records in existence if they had time and means to do it. So the 'cushy academic gig' doesn't exactly suit him, though it does seem nicer than working in a kitchen, to me...

The academic gig suits Mike to a T. Because could you imagine the irony of Mike trying to be a full-time road monkey with TPlague? His brain would melt down. These blues he's singin' are the standard-issue musician's blues at least as old as the days when be-boppers had to pawn their horns to pay the rent. If Mike were a full-time working musician, like every musician I've ever known (and I've known my share of working jazz musicians over the years) he would have to spend lots of time singin' for his supper, playing gigs he hated or barely tolerated, filling in for guys on long tours, playing weddings and bar mitzvahs, taking any paying gig that came along. He'd wind up having about the same amount of time to focus on TPlague as he has now, doing it on his off hours. What Mike really should do is move to Europe, where all the established RIO acts depend on arts grants from countries that care a lot more about music than the US. That's how Yugen, Miriodor, Univers Zero, Magma all do it, and they credit it.
Apart from all the digressions about record labels and depredations of the formerly big music business, what this comes down to is the consumer's unwillingness to pay full price for music.

On the one hand, that's obviously true. On the other, it completely misses the point and is like bewailing the consumer's unwillingness to pay full price for a quart of milk. Because in a capitalist system, consumers hunt for bargains. Homo Economus. If your ol' lady came home with a pair of shoes she got for 80% off list price, would you stand there berating her for exploiting the wage slaves who manufactured them? Maybe, you know, there would be a moral argument for doing that. And that's what it comes down to, schlep, a moral argument, like listening to a preacher going off about the Wages of Sin. But as long as music remains a fixed-price commodity, people are going to follow the way this economy has trained them and try every conceivable way to pay less than the fixed price and feel good when they do so.

How do we stop shoplifing? Do we rely on the moral argument alone? Or do we put little electronic tags on items and hire store detectives? Although it was tried with CDs, digital copies of music can't be copy-protected, and even if they could, there's always the Analog Loophole (you just make a recording of the audio output). We could shut down Napster, but we can't expect file sharing services to police all uploads for copyrighted material, which is why the DMCA puts the onus on copyright holders, dooming them to a perpetual rearguard action.

So we're left with the arguments in a book like Freeloading which, from what I've read of the reviews, makes the moral case very articulately. But, just as with sinners and the saved, it's going to fall mostly on deaf ears. That's why the solution I'm beginning to envision involves fans -- who, despite their superficial enthusiasm remain passive consumers -- and superfans.

A superfan is one of the converted, who has heard the argument in Freeloading and is willing shoulder the burden to right the ship of culture. And a superfan does this, importantly, without resentment, recognizing that there is no solution possible for the inherent free rider problem in digital reproduction save for the merely contingent one of trying to convert more fans to superfans like themselves. They're the guys and gals who forked over for MoeTar's studio time without bitching all the while that, gee, if only people didn't download music, they would never have had to. The fundamental problem of all moral crusades is the degree of self-righteousness it provokes in the crusaders, which nearly always proves counterproductive. The superfan, instead, simply accepts the world as it is, and makes the positive choice to do what they can, regardless of what their peers are doing. They avoid preaching and smugness. It's the sort of moral existentialism outlined by the doctor's behavior in Camus's The Plague.

That's my current epiphany about it, anyway, which may have idealism issues of its own.
Another development we've touched on is crowd-funding, which seems to work well for some bands, to get things recorded and released anyhow. Tim's pal Ginger Wildheart has a devoted cult who don't mind spending big bucks in pre-ordering premiums on his many projects...Toby Driver of Kayo Dot has funded his last two efforts this way - barely - it is unpopular music after all.

I think crowd-funding is the wave of the future and it will become the mark of the superfan.
Another digression -Trouble with crowd-funding is the great level of trust required in the artist-audience relationship. I have to admit being a little uncomfortable with the level of interactive communication, social networking that goes on between artist and us kidz these days...the great ideal of punk rock, no artificial barriers, we're just like you man! Not saying it's a bad thing - it is cool as hell to be 'Friends' with Tim Smith you know - takes some getting used to though.

Just as Dr. Bernard Rieux got up every morning and went about his rounds ...

That kind of trust will also become a defining feature of the superfan.

Ahh, to dream such dreams ...

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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby schlep » Mon Oct 14, 2013 18:18

I'm all for the individual evolving beyond the moral equivalencies of corporate capitalist consumption. As much as possible, we can change the way things are by using free will, taking small decisions and voting with our wallets, feet, whatever you've got.
Occupy the Music Marketplace!
I don't always buy the cheapest quart of milk, I try to get the one that's locally produced and doesn't involve Monsanto poisoning cows to make them produce more and more.

Smug and self-righteous? A little. I'm not drinking bovine mucus though, which is a consolation.
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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby Snardbafulator » Mon Oct 14, 2013 19:27

schlep wrote:I'm all for the individual evolving beyond the moral equivalencies of corporate capitalist consumption. As much as possible, we can change the way things are by using free will, taking small decisions and voting with our wallets, feet, whatever you've got.

Amen.
Occupy the Music Marketplace!

Preach it from the rooftops, brutha.
I don't always buy the cheapest quart of milk, I try to get the one that's locally produced and doesn't involve Monsanto poisoning cows to make them produce more and more.

Touche. Of all the countless commodity examples I could've picked, I had to pick the one where consumers can and do make choices that might cost a little more, but redound to everybody's benefit (including the cows). It's not directly analogous with paying for an iTunes file at 128kps and downloading the same file for free at 320kps (where you get more for less), but it does point out that educated consumers will choose to pay more for a good reason.
Smug and self-righteous? A little. I'm not drinking bovine mucus though, which is a consolation.

To continue to work with the analogy, people in poorer neighborhoods often don't get the chance or if they had it, would still choose the cheaper quart out of necessity. Which is why schlubs like me have to rely on advocacy in lieu of cold hard cash, because I don't got none.

I felt pretty good the other day when Montoid said on the Arctopus thread that the person across the room ordered their album after he played one of the tunes I linked. Ka-ching !

Bob
Deconstructing conventional wisdom since the birth of punk

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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby Sterbus » Mon Oct 14, 2013 23:24

I'm talking about really small figures, but I am more than happy that, after all, my sales on bandcamp of my albums have been more or less the same money as the flights tickets I bought to go to Kingston to play for Tim... I like to think that, in the end, my fans 8) helped me get there!! :D

Makes much more sense for me, kind of full circle.
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All my music here... http://sterbus.bandcamp.com/

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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby Snardbafulator » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:04

Sterbus wrote:I'm talking about really small figures, but I am more than happy that, after all, my sales on bandcamp of my albums have been more or less the same money as the flights tickets I bought to go to Kingston to play for Tim... I like to think that, in the end, my fans 8) helped me get there!! :D

Makes much more sense for me, kind of full circle.

Gee, if I put McClintic Sphere on BandCamp, I wonder how much money I'd make.

Heh.

Anyway, Lele, thanks for bringing BandCamp up, because I think it's probably part of the solution. I just looked at the site. Interesting ... like a web-based record label with modest fees instead of gigantic hunks. I won't ask you questions about it since I can find out for myself. Oh hell, I'm lazy. Can they do your artwork and packaging? Do they press CD's on demand, or they print runs of them you have to pay for up front? And how much are their fees?

Tell us a little about your experiences with it ...

Bob
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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby Snardbafulator » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:48

Here's my grovelling letter to Cuneiform Records:

Dear Cuneiform,

Yesterday my YouTube account got two copyright strikes for Malthusian Dances and I Cannot Fly by Thinking Plague. I should have sought permission or sought out your policy on YouTube uploads of your artists, and I didn't. I sincerely apologize.

I'm a strong advocate of avant prog and RIO and use YouTube to generate discussion on and interest in the music. This isn't meant in any way to question your policy or debate the issue of fair use; I completely respect and accept your approach to it.

The problem, though, as the YouTube copyright materials make clear, is that there are no uniform standards of what constitutes acceptable fair use. Some labels see YouTube as a promotional tool, others do not. I recently emailed Challenge Jazz artist Esra Dalfidan and got her explicit permission to upload her two albums. I didn't do it because I feared a copyright strike from a Dutch jazz label, but because I'm an enormous fan of Esra's and we've corresponded, so I did it out of personal respect for her wishes as an artist. She thanked me for asking and simply responded "no problem!"

Maybe a good idea would be for all labels to make their YouTube upload policies more explicitly visible. I certainly have learned my lesson to be more proactive about permissions.

In any case, I'm writing to request that you contact YouTube to clear the strikes from my account. For my part I am making you a solemn assurance that I shall never attempt to upload a Cuneiform artist to YouTube in the future. My main concern is that I have an album's worth of original music, non-monetized and available nowhere else, that I'd like to keep on YouTube.

Thank you for your consideration,

Bob XXXXXXXX
Deconstructing conventional wisdom since the birth of punk

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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby Sterbus » Tue Oct 15, 2013 13:55

Snardbafulator wrote:
Sterbus wrote:I'm talking about really small figures, but I am more than happy that, after all, my sales on bandcamp of my albums have been more or less the same money as the flights tickets I bought to go to Kingston to play for Tim... I like to think that, in the end, my fans 8) helped me get there!! :D

Makes much more sense for me, kind of full circle.

Gee, if I put McClintic Sphere on BandCamp, I wonder how much money I'd make.

Heh.

Anyway, Lele, thanks for bringing BandCamp up, because I think it's probably part of the solution. I just looked at the site. Interesting ... like a web-based record label with modest fees instead of gigantic hunks. I won't ask you questions about it since I can find out for myself. Oh hell, I'm lazy. Can they do your artwork and packaging? Do they press CD's on demand, or they print runs of them you have to pay for up front? And how much are their fees?

Tell us a little about your experiences with it ...

Bob


They don't do nothing, they just offer you a easy platform where you can put your stuff and sell it. MUC MUCH MUCH better than MySpace, and it's free. I think you should put the McClintic Sphere on bandcamp, your stuff iss great, and many firends I have on facebook (and in Cardiacs group) would like it.

Wondering also which are for you the specific reasons for staying out from FB.

(The bandcamp percentage is about 15% for sale - 1,50 euro every 15 - no labels let you earn 13,50 euros from a 15 sale)
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Re: Supporting Art in the Digital Age

Postby Snardbafulator » Tue Oct 15, 2013 14:47

Sterbus wrote:They don't do nothing, they just offer you a easy platform where you can put your stuff and sell it. MUCH MUCH MUCH better than MySpace, and it's free. I think you should put the McClintic Sphere on bandcamp, your stuff is great, and many friends I have on facebook (and in Cardiacs group) would like it.

I might, but I have to do some research. It's a heavily monetized site, and the initial promo material made it seem all about selling your music rather than being merely a platform to make it available. I think I read somewhere about a maximum number of free downloads your stuff is allowed a month. I'd have to compare it with SoundCloud, which snowman uses. All I'm really looking for is a place to put my music with better sound quality than YouTube so that you can hear it in one piece as an album, not necessarily to sell it. I can't imagine the market.
Wondering also which are for you the specific reasons for staying out from FB.

Three basic sorts of reasons:

First, it facilitates a kind of herd mentality that I have loathed since junior highschool. It's all about the upvotes, who's saying what to whom, it's heavily visual and mainly, it's ultimately trivial. If I wanted some place to hang out and let people experience my Snardbafularity in its fullest form :eeeek: I'd start a blog or a LiveJournal page instead. I'm a verbal, not a visual person. I don't want an inbox stuffed with FaceBook page updates from "friends" who write stuff like "Today I did something different. I put cinnamon sugar on my breakfast toast. It was really good!" I mean ... who ... freakin' ... CARES? The obsession with personal minutiae is annoying, distracting, disgusting and profoundly uninteresting to anyone with half a synapse.

Secondly, it's all entirely public. That means that any set of trolls you happened to argue with somewhere on a discussion forum (I like those) can photoshop your pictures, twist the words on your page out of context and spam it all over the internet. Not to mention the incidents of drunken Facebook postings that get back to prospective employers that have caused so much embarrassment. I have no problem with a paper trail of ideas to the identity that produced them, but not to my real-life personhood. There are too many evil bastards on the net.

Finally, because the Facebook concept itself is evil. I don't exactly know how the business model works because it's supposed to be "free" when you sign up, but it is intensely monetized, else all those initial stockholders wouldn't have become fabulously wealthy after the company's famous IPO. I don't know exactly where it gets its revenue stream from, but it's a data aggregator, Lele, and all this public information can be used, not only to bombard you with exquisitely customized advertising pitches, but it can be used by the government and whoever else to keep track of your every waking thought and movement. It's the Happy Face side of the surveillance state, the part of Orwell's nightmare that we sign up for willingly.

No thanks.
(The bandcamp percentage is about 15% for sale - 1,50 euro every 15 - no labels let you earn 13,50 euros from a 15 sale)

I'm not quite sure I'm quite following your math, Lele. Are you saying that BandCamp gets the 15% and the rest goes to the artist -- or is it the other way around and you get 15%?

If the latter were true, then it'd be a horrible deal, as many indie labels give their artists as much as a 50% cut, as David Byrne said in the article ...

Bob
Deconstructing conventional wisdom since the birth of punk