Will the tail wag?

02004-10-23 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

And in case you haven’t noticed, it’s clearly now a discovery problem, not a delivery problem.

True. Some things change, and some things never change. Down with distribution, long live PR. And wasn’t humanity always about PR? Since the first human boasted about something in a cave. Perceived wealth creates real wealth, perceived fame creates real fame, perceived success becomes real success. I found some interesting comments by different people following above-linked post by Ito. There are more comments – click on the above title-link to read more, or to find out who made these comments.

We’re seeing a return of folk culture, after a century of mass media dominance.

The Brothers Grimm and the ethnomusicologists who recorded the delta blues were part of a long train of people who tried to record the fading folk cultures of the rural pre-industrial era.

Folk cultures used to be geographically local. Now, they can be local to a geography, or to a non-geographical subculture.

Folk cultures used to be oral. Now, with moblogs and audblogs and the wayback machine, they’re recorded, if we have the will and use the technology to capture the traces.

I think we’ll still have a global mass market. The power law will help find and elevate global celebrities and local traditions out the vast pool of peer creativity.

Humans make art. Cave art and burial jewelry are signs of evolving humanoids becoming human. Art evolved in tribal cultures. Tribal art was drowned out by the mass market for a brief time in human history, but it’s coming back.

Or this one:

Because some people are so desperate for acknowledgement that they will give away their creations, I’ve had to suffer low pay rates and consequent day jobs which pulled me away from doing the work I was supposed to do.

Professionals get paid! And DRM is a means to that end. The Long Tail article is a good examination of how distribution patterns are changing, but many of us were already aware of this shifting paradigm. What doesn’t work is the idea that if you undervalue the work or give it away, you will get paid anyway. That simply goes against human nature. The correct pricing model is harder to figure out, especially since “content” is always unique in itself. That aspect of it if what gives it value.

I think in the end the market will pay more for perceived high quality work, but the artist will more than ever depend on getting heard above the din. I mean, I used to buy a lot more CDs just because I liked a cover or a title, because it used to mean something to have a record in the store. The store presented an automatic selection of the fittest. It meant you either begged or borrowed money (my brother and I would walk into a bank and ask for a loan for a stereo system and then take the money straight to a studio) to record your music, or you convinced someone to produce you and signed your life away – either way, the average CD in a store was probably many times better than the average CD is now. A much smaller amount of work was released every month.

Record companies will simply morf into PR companies, maybe giant management companies like The Firm will start to deliver content, and large PR firms will act like record companies… because PR, and developing an artist, will be the biggest game – not distribution. Maybe the govenrment will pave the way for one single company to own the whole game. Some kind of Sony-Clear Channel-Time-Warner super company that owns all live-venues, all billboards, magazines, lots of TV, a ton of radio… then all you have to do is dance with that one devil and you can become the biggest star in the universe, baby… oh no, it’s a nightmare… snap out of it… slap me… thanks!

The internet is changing everything and the internet is changing nothing…

I have come to the conclusion that nothing has changed. My job has not changed at all. I need to follow my muse and create my music. And then I need to tour, because I still believe the best publicity is word of mouth. And if the stars aline in just the right way, maybe a song will be picked up by radio, or used on TV, or in a movie or even in a commercial and more people find out about the music…

Yes, it is not about distribution anymore, and yes, it has always and forever been about PR.

1 Comment

  1. Matt Callahan

    …”My job has not changed at all. I need to follow my muse and create my music. And then I need to tour, because I still believe the best publicity is word of mouth.”

    Well, I’ll buy the CD’s and the concert tickets. I’ll also do my part in the PR department and introduce as many people as I can to your music.


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