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Tito



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1203
Location: is everything
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buh-bye.

Last edited by Tito on Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:22 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Wed Jun 30, 2010 5:49 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Kar98



Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 3170
Location: Dallas, Texas
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Tito wrote:
And then this. Maybe too little, hopefully not too late:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-20009348-261.html?tag=newsEditorsPicksArea.0


Yo, ho, haul together, hoist the colors high. Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never shall we die!
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Post Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:27 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
sgt_steve



Joined: 18 Jan 2005
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Location: Michissippi
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Kar98 wrote:
Right, there is NOOOOOO way data files could ever be sold through some kind of secured online shop, and such a store would never sell a damn thing, and there is no convenient way to display such files anyway.
Sorry Kar, but I can't tell if this is sarcasm or not. It's partly dead on as sarcasm, but the word 'secured' gives me pause. Apple has pretty much given up on secured music; Amazon never did it at all. As has been noted elsewhere, any digital work is un-securable. Where Apple and Amazon win (and I believe they're the two primary vendors) is that they're relatively easy to get to and relatively easy to search (tho both certainly have their failures along that line). Where they fail is in breadth. I tried to get some music by an Irish punk band called 'Neck.' Apple doesn't offer any, Amazon buries me in bands that have 'Neck' in the name somewhere. Some days I think there's a great market in a music search site that does it right; other days I remind myself just how hard that is. It gives me a bit of sympathy for Amazon, undeserving tho they might be.

Kar98 wrote:
Yes, the landscape is changing, and always has, and always will, and it's not just creative people who have to adapt and overcome. How do you think that entire class of people who used to be able to make a very comfortable living just turning wrenches and pushing buttons feels about the changes in their industry?
What he said. We can try to freeze the world to be how we want it to be, but that works rather badly outside of our borders. Every great power either adapts or goes down. Sometimes the process of adaptation is hard, and people get hurt. I don't mean to be callous about it, especially after having seen chunks of my own field crash in major ways twice in 15 years. Take-home-wise, I'm making less than half what I did before either crash. Conversely, I had to learn a lot of new skills and accept that people just weren't going to pay for the old. I whined, I hurt, I bitched, but then I sucked it up and carried on. Hell, I still whine and bitch. Smile But I've also consciously rearranged my career planning and job performance around what's good for me ahead of what's good for my employer. That's had a bit of impact on my paycheck, but it's more than made up for in my employability.

I live in the land of the United Auto Workers. Every day their noses are rubbed in the lesson that no job is safe, that all semi-skilled labor is becoming low-paid labor, that you keep up with change or you drop into the gutter. It amazes me that, for the most part, they still don't get it.

Post Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:57 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
sgt_steve



Joined: 18 Jan 2005
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Location: Michissippi
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simba major wrote:
My point was that without enforceable copyright, an artist cannot profit fair from his own work.
Your point hits one nail squarely while dinging the side of another.

"Enforcable" copyright is only feasible when two circumstances exist.

First, the mass violation of copyright must be difficult physically and financially. The people who ripped off Twain, Dickens, etc, all had to own printing presses and book binderies. That high bar shut out lots of folks who might otherwise have been violators.

Second, the personal risk must be high. Twain et. al. could go after those rogue publishers because those rogues had assets to lose and the law stood behind Twain et al.

Now? On the first point, anybody with a moderate bit of computer skill can put an e-book, dvd or CD onto the internet in minutes. Thus the barriers of physical and financial difficulty are gone. On the second, despite the RIAAs best efforts, judges and juries mostly recognize that attempting to charge a person $15,000 to $45,000 for uploading a single copy of a cd is insane. As most of those suits get thrown out, the risk is declining. IMHO it will continue to do so.

But a lack of enforcable copyright doesn't mean that an artist can't profit from his work. It means that an artist can't profit from his work in the same way he used to. For some, that means a transition to live performance. For others, that will mean virtual tip jars such as we see with the webcomics folks. And for some, it will regrettably mean leaving the field or getting a day job.

There's not a whole helluva lot that can be done about it. The landscape has changed. Nor is this the first time it's changed. As Ginjg pointed out, the entire recorded music market is a relatively new thing. The world changed when it hit, and the end result was to drive most live musicians out of the business, not to mention destroying a lot of the venues they played in. Now the landscape is changing again, and it's future shape is pretty unclear. That's nerve-wracking, especially if you're one of those who are making a full-time living writing or making music.

Boota and Chris both spoke very eloquently about how publishing provides a judgment bar of quality for their respective fields. IMHO that's only partially true. I no longer rely on presence or absence of a publishing contract as a reliable guideline as to whether or not I will enjoy music. Most commercial music is pap, with record companies wanting only the bands that are immediate mainstream or large-genre successes. But that trend has been going on for 50 years, long before digital piracy. In the early '70s, there was a much more diverse set of publishers, artists, and radio stations providing a wider set of things to listen to. This was especially true in the early days of FM radio, when each DJ used to do his own playlists and produce his own specific show. Yeah, Top-40 ruled the AM airwaves. but there was plenty of diversity as soon as you got below those first two or three stations in any market. Now you go from town to town and hear the same damned playlists and sometimes even the same damned DJs. Satellite radio has a lot of variety, but didja notice we're now down to one satellite radio company? Twenty years from now they'll be doing a lot less 'fringe' material, hoping to focus 90% of the listeners into 2% of the music and letting the rest go to hell.

As for published books being an indication of quality - well, that seems to be dropping off as well. This week I read a book I will not name because it was written by a friend of mine. 600 pages of novel, about 150 pages of plot, 30 pages of character. There seem to be no pages of proofreading, copy-editing, or editorial guidance (and yes, I've been reading the authors blog as she described the writing process). As far as I can tell, the only useful thing the publisher did was get a pretty cool cover onto it. Everything else there is either as the author did it or was farmed out to a typesetting and printing company. So why did it get published? Because it's a zombie book, and zombies are in at the moment. Basically the ms was half-done when "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" hit, and the publisher grabbed for it. It's a shame, because with some editing and guidance, it might have been a pretty decent 350-page yarn. As is, it's a 600-page sub-mediocre dog. The author may be a friend, but I'm not likely to read another of her books.

But other quality indicators are popping up. I read more reviews than I used to, and I drop money in the reviewers tip jars when there's a review that causes me to get a good book. I rely on a couple of friends recommendations in music, and they rely on mine. In 2008 I reviewed every book I read (52 weeks, 52 books). When I stopped, I was shocked at several dozen people saying the relied on my reviews. They'd been silent all year, so who knew? If I could monetize that in even a small way, it would have paid for my reading habit. I'm hoping that's what SueTu is doing.

The digital revolution has changed the world, and in a lot of ways we're still only in the leading edge. Artists, reviewers, producers, middlemen - all are going to be turned upside down completely in the next 25 to 50 years. But I'm actually fairly optimistic about it. I think we'll see broader material, better artistic integrity, and a richer set of sources. Yes, the top 5% of income-earning artists are going to be hurt badly. But the other 95% are going to find it's easier for them to get their stuff out there. That doesn't mean it will find an audience or that it'll necessarily be good. But it means the guy who doesn't do mainstream crap music or hot-genre-du-jour writing won't find himself shut out of the market because he's not what the record/book companies think the public wants.

Similarly, 95% of the writers and musicians out there have always had day jobs. When this all settles out, 95% of them will still have day jobs. The method by which the most successful get their incomes will change. The rest will be doing it for the love of it rather than the money. I think the internet will make it easier for that 95% to find and be embraced by their audience. We'll see.

Post Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:43 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
sgt_steve



Joined: 18 Jan 2005
Posts: 5197
Location: Michissippi
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Lauren wrote:
Do people want shit for free? Oh fuck yes. I want to take all those people who paid $400 for their Kindles, the ones who go "OMG I WILL NEVAR PAY MOAR THAN $9.99 FOR AN EBOOK AND REALLY WHY AREN'T THEY FREE?" and shake them. (Seriously? Would you buy a refrigerator than whine that you had to buy food to put in it? Would you buy a car and complain that you had to refill the gas tank? You bought a device for the purpose of reading and can't understand that you have to PAY for books to read on it? The fuck?)
Applause!

I really have nothing to add, but it deserved to be said again and applauded.

Post Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:55 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Kar98



Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 3170
Location: Dallas, Texas
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sgt_steve wrote:
Kar98 wrote:
Right, there is NOOOOOO way data files could ever be sold through some kind of secured online shop, and such a store would never sell a damn thing, and there is no convenient way to display such files anyway.
Sorry Kar, but I can't tell if this is sarcasm or not. It's partly dead on as sarcasm, but the word 'secured' gives me pause.


I meant secured in every way other than DRM: hand-picked, trustworthy products, vendors and means of payment.

Other than that, yeah, you elaborated on pretty much what I'm thinking. Glad I'm not entirely the only one Wink
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Post Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:00 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
sgt_steve



Joined: 18 Jan 2005
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Location: Michissippi
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Lauren wrote:
...Another thing to consider, that falls into the same kind of “things most people don’t even realize” category: let’s say Joe buys a copy of Awesome Debut Novel at a bookstore. Sally buys an eBook edition through Barnes & Noble. Amy orders books for her local library system and brings in three copies. Those purchases can all be tracked by the publisher.

Five hundred nameless people torrent the book. Those can’t be tracked by the publisher.

A few months later, the author puts the finishing touches on Awesome Sophomore Novel and says to her editor, “Hey, would you like to publish my new book?” Now the editor might very well (read: absolutely will) pull up the sales history of the debut novel and say, “Well, it’s a great book, but we’ve only sold five copies. So, thanks but no thanks.”

So sure, there might be five hundred more people out there who think that author’s really goddamned keen and would love to read her next book — a bunch of them would probably even pay for it this time! But since those downloads are pretty much invisible, the editor can’t go before the acquisitions committee and say “Hey, people are reading this. We should buy the next one.”

When the author or her agent shops it around to other publishers, those editors will also pull up the sales history of the first book, probably through BookScan. They’re going to see the same sales record previous house did, and also possibly pass.

Which means not only does pirating fuck authors/creators out of compensation for their current works, it’s also potentially fucking them out of compensation for future works.
I've been listening to the debate ('information wants to be free') for 30 years, and thought I'd heard every point there was. Thank you, Lauren, for bringing up a new one. Bear with me while I take a different tack on your point.

When readers of a given author are underground due to fear of prosecution - worse, when the entire distribution mechanism (bittorrent) is designed so as the sever the relationship between producer and potential consumer - it becomes difficult or impossible for the producer to offer the consumer legitimate future commerce.

For artists, returning fans are critical. If a person likes your first book or record, you want him to come back for the next. If your book is distributed by 'free' means (ie, pirated), that's pretty much impossible. IMHO, the Baen free library is an example of how to do it right. Give away the book while drawing people into the fold rather than forcing them out.

But there's more that can be done. Follow the webcomics folk and put up a subscription/tip jar. Yes, I know there are problems with this - Charlie Stross has written quite eloquently on the topic here. Go read it, I'll wait.

I disagree with him. Not because he doesn't make some good points, but because he makes one false assumption: he doesn't need to keep all the money for himself. If he feels he's getting value added from his published (he does feel that, and he's right), then he should be forwarding an appropriate chunk of the jar to the publisher. Similarly, his publisher ought to have a jar up too, a jar for each of their authors. And they ought to give a percentage of the jar income to the author, while using the rest to pay for editors, proofreaders, etc.

The jar is also a great way for those of us who buy a lot of used books and CDs because it's out of print to still give something back to both for their work. And yeah, a good third of what I buy is used and OOP. I'd love to see the author and publisher each get something for that. They don't, they won't - the Supreme Court is pretty solid on the point. So let's make it possible to do the right thing, OK?

Better yet, let's make it possible to pay for those things in a way that brings readers and listeners back into the fold rather than keeping them at the maximum possible distance.

Post Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:16 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
sgt_steve



Joined: 18 Jan 2005
Posts: 5197
Location: Michissippi
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Kar98 wrote:
sgt_steve wrote:
Kar98 wrote:
Right, there is NOOOOOO way data files could ever be sold through some kind of secured online shop, and such a store would never sell a damn thing, and there is no convenient way to display such files anyway.
Sorry Kar, but I can't tell if this is sarcasm or not. It's partly dead on as sarcasm, but the word 'secured' gives me pause.


I meant secured in every way other than DRM: hand-picked, trustworthy products, vendors and means of payment.

Other than that, yeah, you elaborated on pretty much what I'm thinking. Glad I'm not entirely the only one Wink
Yep, we're on the same page. Cool.

Post Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:17 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
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As long as I'm alive I will play music and write. Whether I release anything depends on my ability to at least break even. I'm making money at the moment, but who knows what will happen?
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Post Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:25 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Ginjg



Joined: 04 Sep 2004
Posts: 6617
Location: Los Angeles
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Steve, you mentioned that musicians can transition to live performance, but in L.A. and several other cities that's become "pay to play". Or no pay until after X number of paid patrons from your list, then only a percentage of the overage if you're the only act; make that a percentage of the percentage if you're one of several.

There's even one venue here where all patrons pay, only the headline act gets paid a percentage, and they decide if/how much of that the other acts get. Music is being forced into being an avocation rather than a profession. I'd hate to see that happen to Author as well.
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Post Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:34 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
chris
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
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sgt_steve wrote:


Similarly, 95% of the writers and musicians out there have always had day jobs. When this all settles out, 95% of them will still have day jobs. The method by which the most successful get their incomes will change. The rest will be doing it for the love of it rather than the money. I think the internet will make it easier for that 95% to find and be embraced by their audience. We'll see.



First, love and money are not mutually exclusive. Second, if you're doing it because you love doing it, you don't need a fucking audience. That assumption contradicts itself. Oh, the people who are doing it for love will get their work seen. Who the fuck cares? You're doing what you love, because you love it. Right? Free-verse poetry? Fusion Jazz ukulele, Interpretive Dance in a squirrel suit, whatever, you are doing it for love. But if you really need affirmation, you know what a good measure of it is? Cash.

Museums, universities, foundations, the whole lot of pure as the driven aesthetic snow, ivory tower entities recognize that for all the honors and awards, the best way for them to support the work of an artist is to feed him or her so he or she can make some more art. Filthy, filthy lucre --for the love of art...

As if those people who make a living at it, or want to make a living at it, don't love what they do. What complete horse-shit. You think there's a Yo-Yo Ma, or a Bruce Springsteen, with all the chops those guys have, who is just languishing in the pure joy of playing because he doesn't want to be a sellout? Really? (Okay, there's that one crazy guy in LA who lives under a freeway ramp and plays cello, but I mean relatively sane people who like living indoors.)

The "get your work seen", is all about getting paid, eventually. Otherwise, teach and do the purest form of your art. Write a poem and burn it. Play a song to the stars. Most literary writers teach because they want to write literary fiction and no one wants to buy it.

Maybe I don't understand because I always wanted to be successful. I wanted a huge audience. I worked at my craft, for fifteen or sixteen years, unpaid, learning, fucking up, getting better, with one goal in mind, to be successful, to sell a shitload of books, and to do it on my own terms. That is, to write what I would write anyway, but make it worth something to people. Worth their time, and worth their money. Why get any better if you're just doing it for the love of the art? Because you have something to say? Art is one of the least effective means for social change, so even if you have something to say, you'll have a bigger effect by screaming at people from a box in Hyde Park than you will writing a really awesome protest song, or a fantasy novel, for fuck's sake. The Romantics all had serious ideas about politics and human rights, but they might as well have not existed for all that they accomplished for social change.


And the reason you want the HOPE of doing it for money, is because you DO love it, and you don't want to do other stuff. You don't want to wait tables, or program computers, or any one of the zillion things we all do and did to make money. If they pay you for your art, you only have to do your art. You make it, BECAUSE you fucking love it, not as some compromise.

 Yes, the internet is a great starting place for writers and musicians who don't have an audience. I, myself, have brought talented bloggers to the attention of people in publishing, and I wouldn't have seen them without the internet, but I just don't have the faith in humanity in general, that the tip jar mentality is going to pay anyone's rent. (Suggest people should tip more in a tech forum and watch the comments. Egad!)

I once had a nice chat with Stephen J. Cannell. It was at an author dinner put on for the managers of Waldenbooks back in the day. I asked him if it was strange, only writing one book a year, after cranking out three or four TV shows a week when he was in his heyday producing shows. (And he is, by almost any measure, the most financially successful writer I've ever met. He takes his own Gulfstream jet on book tour, to do signings for 50 or 100 people. Pencil that out.) Stephen said, "I have a half-dozen books just sitting, waiting to be published. I just love the hell out of writing, so I keep doing it, even if they'll only release one book a year."

I bring this up as an example of money and love not being exclusive of one another.

Right now I'm learning to paint with oils. I've been doing it for nearly three years. I like it a lot, and I completely suck at it. As far as I can see, I'm not getting any better at it, either. And I won't. No one really sees my paintings. And I don't have to make a living at it. I don't have to perform at a professional level, so I never will get better. I'm okay with that. I'll keep doing it because I like the process. I even give my paintings away. But that's because they suck. People who only want to give their stuff away don't think it's worth anything, and there's no reason for them to make it any better as long as they like making it. That means, you, the audience, get a load of crap.

Hmmm, I have an idea for painting.


Writing is like sex; first you do it for love; then you do it for a few friends; and finally you do it for money. -Moliere


Drive thru please.

Post Sun Jul 04, 2010 1:29 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
simba major



Joined: 29 Apr 2010
Posts: 626
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Well said.

If you really love something, you want to do it a lot, and the easiest way to do that is if you can make a living at it, which is pretty hard if everyone can steal it from you with impunity.

Then you have to put up with people telling you to suck it up or adapt or do it for the love of it.

And all because it's gotten so easy to steal, and more and more people, directly proportional to ade, it seems, do not even see it as stealing.

Sucks.

But, hey, we will never outgrow our love of a good story. Adapt and overcome! I understand that video games are getting heavier on story. How about Hamlet hunting Claudius on Playstation? And movies need scripts - we all know what great art comes out of Hollywood.

Blows.

Dead bears.
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Post Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:33 am   View user's profile Send private message
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
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What Chris said.

Every second I'm carrying someone's furniture up three flights of stairs I'm not writing or even getting better at writing. I'm not making music. Extreme wealth would be nice, but that's not even what I'm shooting for. I want to make a living and provide for my family doing something I love instead of watching something I love wither and die while I do something I hate. I understand that not everyone has the same goals, but creative people, especially obsessively creative people, are a weird bunch. The idea of not creating, to me, is akin to being dead. Every blank page needs a little something.

I was on vacation for two weeks a couple years ago and I had to stop in to music stores just to play for a little bit or work out ideas that kept poking me while I had no access to my guitars. A chapter of Mr. Undesirable was written initially on several pages of a Hyatt Regency memo pad. That was a pain in the ass, but I love it. If money were not an object I would do it for love. But I can't starve my family while I pursue it, so if I can't make a living at it at some point in the future it will have to just die.
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Post Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:12 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
simba major



Joined: 29 Apr 2010
Posts: 626
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"All I wanna say is that they don't really care about us." (Michael Jackson)

Society has never treated creative types with a lot of respect. Now they want to rip off what they do, and tell them to suck it up or adapt and overcome or even realize the glorious opportunity they have lying in front of them if they just have the imagination to see it and the will to seize it.

Take away their music and they might see things differently. Take away their books and they might wonder why they've gone.

"You mean you don't want to give me my music and my fiction just for the - the love of creating it? What kind of a phony, wannabe artist are you, anyway?"

Admittedly simplified, that's what it boils down to.
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Last edited by simba major on Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:35 am; edited 1 time in total

Post Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:29 am   View user's profile Send private message
Tito



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1203
Location: is everything
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buh-bye.

Last edited by Tito on Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:19 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:33 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
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