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Author Topic: Getting Past The 'But Artists Should Just Be Artists' Myth  (Read 5978 times)
isthisthingon
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« on: December 09, 2009, 08:05:35 PM »

http://techdirt.com/articles/20091208/1116027253.shtml

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At Monday's excellent SF Music Tech Summit, there was a really good discussion in the final panel of the day, that crystallized in my mind why it's hogwash when some repeat the refrain that "artists should just be artists" and not worry about business models, connecting with fans or social networking. It's a claim that is made over and over again -- sometimes by musicians themselves.

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In many ways, it reminded me of Andrew Dubber's recent manifesto that pointed out that if you wanted to make money as a musician, you had to become a musical entrepreneur.
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Though, what's really cementing the myth of "artists should just be artists" was Tim Quirk's comment. Quirk, of course, got a lot of publicity recently for revealing how major record label royalty statements are often total works of fiction, using his own royalty statements as an example. On this topic, however, he noted that the people who tell artists that "you should just focus on being an artist" were almost always "feeding them bullshit" in order to gain more control over the artist. That is, it's a line you often hear from record labels or managers who want more control over a musician's business. So all three of those musicians (Allen, Quirk and Keefe) highlighted how the claim that "musicians should just be musicians" isn't just a myth, but it's often used to limit the potential of musicians.

In terms of what's megaphoned to us from the major record labels, I'm 100% Ditto 

@perks - Please don't think I see this as sentiment coming from you!  I know it's not.  But this article was so on target with our recent thread, at least from my perspective, that I wanted to share it too.  Regardless of everything, I'm an advocate for the artists and I know you are too.
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2009, 04:19:44 PM »

The corollary to his dispute of "Musicians should just be musicians" is that "Musicians must be business people."

I'm not saying that they aren't, and I'm not saying that it's not a good thing to be all that you can be. But I'm telling you: some of the most stunningly brilliant musicians I've ever worked with can barely tie their shoes. Brilliance is often accompanied by debilitating incapability to balance a checkbook or even the most rudimentary of business skills. And I certainly agree that we cannot stifle someone's growth by telling them to sit back, smoke dope and "it'll all be taken care of." That's not my assertion in any way. But to say that the fruit of their labors is not enough, and beyond being an excellent musician they must contrive, deploy and be successful at yet another way of making money ... while simultaneously continuing to grow themselves as an artist is incompatible to me.

ALL musicians today stand on the shoulders of men and women before them ... brilliant people that stretched the limits of their instruments/voice/device/whatever to bring something new to the spectrum. How do we make sure that people of this caliber continue to exist and thrive?
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2009, 05:04:00 PM »

The corollary to his dispute of "Musicians should just be musicians" is that "Musicians must be business people."
......
ALL musicians today stand on the shoulders of men and women before them ... brilliant people that stretched the limits of their instruments/voice/device/whatever to bring something new to the spectrum. How do we make sure that people of this caliber continue to exist and thrive?

According to that reasoning shakespeare  should not have been possible till 1950  ROFLMAO
What people forget is shakespeare existed in an age before copyrights etc.
And according to your reasoning shakespeare would have been dirt poor, if anything he became very wealthy from his plays.
He was able to construct a large theatre etc.

Filipinos have a love of music. There are tons of bands here. English, Tagalog, and the other dialects like illocano etc. And they come in all types and sizes.
I think a big factor is that most bars have live bands. In some of the big bars (in manila) they will have like 5 bands play in a night. You pay a 50-100 peso cover and away you go.

Indirectly the gov't encourages this. Every small town has a plaza. Even barangy's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay have like a basketball court etc.
I think if you are a band you can arrange to use the plaza for a very small cost. The town i live in has a relatively small population. In the last year, several popular filipino bands have performed here. Also during 1 barangy fiesta, they arranged to do thier own small "battle of the bands" thingie. Where they had like several bands perform.
When bands perform etc. Possibly the mayor,congressman etc. will give a little intro to the band.
During xmas small bands or church choirs will do caroling. They go to your house, sing songs and you give them a donation.

PH has a ton of problems. But they do encourage culture indirectly. Basketball here is very big. Every barangy has a basketball team, then they have competions between each barangy. At the end of the season, they will have a huge playoff in the town plaza.
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2009, 06:03:36 PM »

You're actually at the heart of a much more important issue Nop: Culture is not valued here. Shakespeare was able to do what he did, and live well because his art was valued and because it was not easily duplicated or taken. Putting on a play back then was quite a thing.

Had Shakespeare been told that he must do his work for free and find another way to make money, I think it'd be a different literary world.
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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2009, 08:06:37 PM »

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>Had Shakespeare been told that he must do his work for free

You're truly incorrigible perks, but that's what I love about you ROFLMAO
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2009, 08:58:32 PM »

You're actually at the heart of a much more important issue Nop: Culture is not valued here. Shakespeare was able to do what he did, and live well because his art was valued and because it was not easily duplicated or taken. Putting on a play back then was quite a thing.

Had Shakespeare been told that he must do his work for free and find another way to make money, I think it'd be a different literary world.
I think perks is just trying to cause an argument Smiley
You missed my point. Shakespeare's work was "stolen" there are tons of "pirated" folio's kiking arround Smiley.
When a new premiere of Shakespeare's play would come out, the competition would send in a stenographer to write down all the lines of his plays Smiley
Then they would rush off to the nearest printer, crank them out and sell them on the street.

But when royalty wanted a play privately performed ..... who did they get ?
And of course some people probably went to the "pirated plays" but it could not beat the real thing Smiley

Culture if u want to call it that .... Smiley We just call it having a good time here Smiley
I think life in america is very sterile. People make such a big deal out of all sorts of shit there.
Probably you can not do xmas caroling there, because u would need a license.
Then some stupid group will be complaining it violates their religous rights or some crap.
Or someone gets hurt at the concert in a public place, here person who got hurt obviously was stupid, but in america they can go and sue someone for being stupid.

I have no idea Smiley




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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2009, 10:40:49 PM »

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I think perks is just trying to cause an argument

Perhaps, but... perhaps not Undecided

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Shakespeare was able to do what he did, and live well because [his art] was not easily duplicated or taken.

 ROFLMAO ROFLMAO ROFLMAO ROFLMAO  OMFG that's a scream!  I'm honestly LMFAO  ROFLMAO

I'm afraid he might just believe this assertion  ROFLMAO

I will counter with the following assertion.  Shakespeare wouldn't even be known as one of the greatest literary geniuses of our time had copy protection existed in his day, period.  He'd have a historical lifespan that persisted no further than the revenue stream enjoyed by the corporation who "owned" his works.  The IP extremists are now attempting to make these "protections" permanent.  This would guarantee maximum profits to shareholders of this art-in-slavery model.  Once the corporation dies who cares about the original artists?  They were forgotten after the last drop of creative blood was drained from their imprisoned souls.

I'm a fierce advocate of the arts and artists.  The myth punch that most "reasonable" westerners consume dictates that compensation must be provided for those who should be isolated from the needs of sustaining a reasonable existence.  Some of these voices are straight from the myth punch's mouth.  Some have less excusable intentions.  In either case, it's the the most precious of human creations that suffer.  Art and human creativity continues to battle the capitalist monkey on its back that has no business being in the same room.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2009, 10:47:07 PM by isthisthingon » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2009, 12:19:20 AM »

Actually I was wrong.
None of Shakespeares plays where published while he was alive.
All Quartos where "pirated" copies Smiley.
http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Folios:and:Quartos:Shakespeare.htm

As for the unable to "mass produce" in print.
Luther is a case in point.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_during_the_Reformation
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2009, 09:37:13 AM »

Consider: the plays were not made for reading at the time, they were made for the theater. Recreating his work mean putting on a play, that's what I mean. It's similar to saying, "well I've made a fake-book version of a song and sold it, so that's as good as the original work."

As I read his life, he predominantly produced his own works and his sonnets were for some kind of private readership or subscription or something of the time. The entire notion of how he existed was different than what we have today, because property ownership, income, survival was a completely different structure. Shakespeare was compensated for his work, in the fashion of the day. People reprinted and pirated, particularly after his death in a big way. In fact, he really didn't rise to his kind of meteoric fame until well after his death. But the point is, he was compensated for what he created, and what it gave to the people.

And what I'm hearing, is that musicians should simply give away what they create, and then find another way to be compensated. Live performances? Doods, one of the reasons I left music was that performing live was more and more difficult to accomplish and less and less profitable. As bars/clubs etc found that recorded music worked just as well, we were squeezed. Sure, there's still live music, but it's not anything like what it used to be. And "sponsorships?" Really? Like wearing a Verizon baseball cap when you play or putting a Penzoil logo on your self-published CD? Really?

My problem with this whole line is that because we CAN take their work, we now create a rationalization for why they SHOULD give it away. It's backwards. We (as a country in general) do not want to pay for things. Just because we don't want to pay for them, or we've come to the place where we really don't have to (because taking the product is so easy) we tell artists that they should give it away. By this logic, anyone that can create anything en masse should therefore give it away. Toys at the store? Mass produced out the wazoo and easy to copy. And hardly of the same caliber as musical art. Yet they get to charge and musicians should give it away. See what I mean? We more willingly pay for that which we cannot steal.

And I find that wrong.
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2009, 10:02:43 AM »

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one of the reasons I left music was that performing live was more and more difficult to accomplish and less and less profitable. As bars/clubs etc found that recorded music worked just as well, we were squeezed.

Where in the world did you get this belief that people "should" just be able to do X and we "should" just pay them for it?  Are you just now realizing what capitalism is all about?

I'll tell you what a beautiful thing was for me.  In India, the finest psy-trance dj I've ever heard in my life lives at the beach in a bungalow and spends his life finding great music, practicing at his craft, and plays for the locals who pay for his existence.  That's damn beautiful and I love it.  He won't play anywhere other than Goa, and he refuses to ever be recorded.  So his music is a gift as is the gift others give him for living comfortably.  There's magic in the experience. 

And no, I'm not saying that he "should" record anything and give it away.  His path is perfect for him.  But musicians who want to make the big bucks, without the burnout of cover tunes, night clubs, etc., need to rethink how they can achieve making those big dollars if that's what floats their banana.  It's really about those who aspire to make the big bucks - not about those who just want to live their love and be compensated enough to live comfortably.  The false and temporary scarcity created by the music industry faded away leaving a certain segment of music jobs dangling in the wind.  You can thank them for that - not those who they blame and have locked up in prison for following natural law.

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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2009, 10:28:19 AM »

Where in the world did you get this belief that people "should" just be able to do X and we "should" just pay them for it?  Are you just now realizing what capitalism is all about?
? Lost me on that one. Both the first sentence and the improbability that you're actually asking that question.

I'll tell you what a beautiful thing was for me.  In India, the finest psy-trance dj I've ever heard in my life lives at the beach in a bungalow and spends his life finding great music, practicing at his craft, and plays for the locals who pay for his existence.  That's damn beautiful and I love it.  He won't play anywhere other than Goa, and he refuses to ever be recorded.  So his music is a gift as is the gift others give him for living comfortably.  There's magic in the experience. 
Gorgeous. And wonderful that he is taken care of, for what he contributes. And valued, for the value he brings.

And no, I'm not saying that he "should" record anything and give it away.  His path is perfect for him.  But musicians who want to make the big bucks, without the burnout of cover tunes, night clubs, etc., need to rethink how they can achieve making those big dollars if that's what floats their banana.  It's really about those who aspire to make the big bucks - not about those who just want to live their love and be compensated enough to live comfortably.  The false and temporary scarcity created by the music industry faded away leaving a certain segment of music jobs dangling in the wind.  You can thank them for that - not those who they blame and have locked up in prison for following natural law.
If you think I'm talking *at all* about the music industry or recording execs per se we are on different planets. And I think we are arguing completely different points here. You asserted that people who charge for their music are missing the big opportunity. I question: what opportunity? If you want to make the "big bucks" as a musician, how else do you propose to do that?
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2009, 12:18:42 PM »

"Should" and "shouldn't" don't really enter the equation. It's easier and more convenient for me to obtain these things for free than it is for me to pay for them. The laws regarding these things are 100% unenforceable as they stand, so pragmatically, it's dumb to pay for the stuff. Fill in that vacuum with DRM-free offerings at a fair price (a buck a song's not a fair price. I can't tell you what a fair price is, but once you reach one you'll know because piracy will not even be a factor), and you win. Seriously, make the cost of the media *less* if I buy it from you (in speed of download, quality of content, price) than if I download it on my own, and I'll buy it from you. Protip: Doing this by trying to make the pirated media more 'expensive' artificially (with lawsuits, bandwidth caps, etc.) will not work, and will hurt your profits much more in the long run than charging a reasonable price.

I challenge your assertion that we expect things for free. In this country, there's a perception that things you receive for free aren't worth as much. I would happily pay for music and other media, but I'm not going to be bound to your expectations of what I can do with it. We had to circumvent the protections put in place just to be able to play MP3s and DVDs on the freaking OS that I use primarily. That's outrageous. Bandwidth is incredibly cheap nowadays, online music stores entail virtually 0 overhead compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts (it's the stupid licensing that kills them).
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2009, 01:03:13 PM »

"Should" and "shouldn't" don't really enter the equation. It's easier and more convenient for me to obtain these things for free than it is for me to pay for them. The laws regarding these things are 100% unenforceable as they stand, so pragmatically, it's dumb to pay for the stuff.
At least to me, should and shouldn't is at the core of the argument. Simply because piracy is more convenient than paying for something is no argument for it to be thus. I'd argue that it is CONSIDERABLY easier for me to take a Twinkie from the local Gas & Sip and walk out, rather than waiting in line to pay for it. That is immaterial, but speaks directly to what is wrong with this picture.


Fill in that vacuum with DRM-free offerings at a fair price (a buck a song's not a fair price. I can't tell you what a fair price is, but once you reach one you'll know because piracy will not even be a factor), and you win. Seriously, make the cost of the media *less* if I buy it from you (in speed of download, quality of content, price) than if I download it on my own, and I'll buy it from you. Protip: Doing this by trying to make the pirated media more 'expensive' artificially (with lawsuits, bandwidth caps, etc.) will not work, and will hurt your profits much more in the long run than charging a reasonable price.
Components of this I agree with, and I think that several services like iTunes, Amazon etc have made it easier for indies to get their work out and get paid for it. I definitely think technology can facilitate the direct interaction between consumer and producer, and IMO that's the way it should be. And providing adequate yet appropriate compensation for the facilitating intermediary is correct as well (Apple, Amazon etc).

I challenge your assertion that we expect things for free. In this country, there's a perception that things you receive for free aren't worth as much.
Fair point. We expect *music* for free. And we don't value what it took/takes to create it.

I would happily pay for music and other media, but I'm not going to be bound to your expectations of what I can do with it. We had to circumvent the protections put in place just to be able to play MP3s and DVDs on the freaking OS that I use primarily. That's outrageous. Bandwidth is incredibly cheap nowadays, online music stores entail virtually 0 overhead compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts (it's the stupid licensing that kills them).
Restrictions on you listening via your mode of choice are of course wrong. I have no argument with any of that. And I also agree that the overhead imposed by traditional plastic salesmen (labels) is almost nonexistent, so the pricing is coming down to a level that fairly compensates all involved.

None of this I am in disagreement with. I disagree with the notion that because we *can* take something, we should be absolved for doing it by claiming that musicians have the wrong model. This is more a philosophical argument to me than practical, because theft is the mode of the day. So there will need to be adjustments made.
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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2009, 07:49:28 PM »

"Should" and "shouldn't" don't really enter the equation.
Exactly Smiley I very rarely debate "morality" anymore. Unless it is strictly for amusement purposes.
I am more along the lines of this is what the problem is. These are solutions to the problem type guy.
I refer to historical analogies, because if one does not understand history they can not see the future Smiley.

None of this I am in disagreement with. I disagree with the notion that because we *can* take something, we should be absolved for doing it by claiming that musicians have the wrong model. This is more a philosophical argument to me than practical, because theft is the mode of the day. So there will need to be adjustments made.
"Absolution" sounds very catholic  ROFLMAO
Problem is that catholic church no longer sells indulgences, they banned that practice around the 1900s.
Rather a pity. It would be a perfect online buisness.

Lets say that stealing 10 online songs = 1 day in purgatory.
But a 60 day indulgence costs lets say $20. The reason why the church can sell the indulgences so cheaply now days is because they no longer have to maintain a "brick and mortar" church. So as a result the prices of indulgences have gone way down. Which is very good for sinners.

But this brings in very important philosophical questions. Like should the 10 online songs = 1 day in purgatory.
So i stole for my 60 day indulgence 600 songs.
But they where poorly ripped the artist sucked shit etc.

But meanwhile perks stole only high quality songs.
He only steals high quality songs, made by good artists that bring him much more pleasure for his sin.

So we could make a pleasure / sin  (P/S) cost ratio.
That mean that perks is getting a much higher P/S rating then I have.
I think it is morally wrong that the 10 songs to 1 day in purgatory ratio is "fixed".
There should be some sort of "Pleasure" factor in it.

It morally wrong that some people get more pleasure for their sin then i am getting  Angry









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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2009, 07:50:30 PM »

 ROFLMAO ROFLMAO ROFLMAO ur fuking gr8 nop
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