Friday in Santa Cruz

02010-07-16 | Photos | 4 comments

We ended up staying in Santa Cruz for our off-day, instead of spending the day in Reno. Birthday lunch at Gabriella’s in Santa Cruz. Found the restaurant on the web and made reservations via Open Table– my first time using that service. Laid back atmosphere, nice food, and plants growing in an old chocolate container:

One of several such fly-deterrants. The effectiveness of this device is still debated, but I prefer it to the nasty sound of the blue electrocution lights. I only noticed one fly in the vecinity and it promptly left. The idea is that the glittering, reflected sunlight will make flies head elsewhere:

Food for thought:

Marginal Revolution: Is Creativity Declining?
When faculty of a major Chinese university asked Plucker to identify trends in American education, he described our focus on standardized curriculum, rote memorization, and nationalized testing. “After my answer was translated, they just started laughing out loud,” Plucker says. “They said, ‘You’re racing toward our old model. But we’re racing toward your model, as fast as we can.’

Think global and act local can be applied to schools and learning as well… a standardized curriculum is not going to be a good thing.

A few thoughts about the interview I mentioed last week:

Tom Silverman’s idea, on the face of it, sounds pretty good, but there are several hidden problems. As I suggested a decade ago, record companies will become media management companies, managing every aspect of an artist’s career. Well, managers receive somewhere between 3 and 50% (((yes, quite the range: 3-50%!!))) of their artist’s income (((Presley’s Colonel received 50%, Malcolm Maclaren received 40%, but most managers, I’d say 95% of them, receive between 3 and 12%, with some earning 20%))). Half of everyhing is a lot of money. The investment would have to be sizable and guaranteed.

As Canton pointed out to me, Venture Capitalists receive between 30 and 70% for their participation – see this graph. Around 30% for the first round of financing, 50% for the second round and 70% for the third round. I suppose recording contracts – media management contracts – could be similar, albeit in a lower range. Say, 20% for the first album, then, if the record is flop, the contract might shift to 35% for the second album, and if that is a flop also, goes to 50% for the third try. I don’t know… maybe? But, I have a problem with publicly traded corporartions anyway. They lack responsibility in the sense that a privately held corporation is responsible. And that goes for music as well as for environmental or safety concerns.

The great albums of yesteryear were recorded for privately held corporations. Only in the late Seventies and Eighties did many of the record companies start trading publicly. At that time record companies were making a lot of money and thus attrected the interest of the money-men.

I don’t believe shareholders ever want anything besides the monetary bottom line. They don’t give a shit about environmental concerns (just ask the British retirees who lost a lot of money on BP stock) and certainly don’t care about the art of music.

It is my opinion that this current batch of record companies has to die back until music-lovers can afford to buy the brands and rebuild them from the ground up. Then they can sign bands who have true potential instead of kids from some Disney show. They can develop these musicians or bands, give them some time to hone their live performance skills, find a good match of a producer, and so on… you know, all the good stuff a real and privately held record company used to do. And when the next Exile On Main Street or Physical Graffiti goes over budget, they will consider throwing more money at it if the music is great – something a shareholder won’t know and a person responsible to a shareholder won’t want to do.

And, let’s end this post with this video of a Japanese tourist buying ice cream in Istanbul. Enjoy!


  1. Guy

    Hi Ottmar (and fellow Ottmarians),

    Thanks for the video: that was pretty funny! Now, if you were the next person in line, would you ask for an ice cream cone or go to another vendor?

  2. ottmar

    I don’t imagine he would have the time to treat every single customer this way. It would take up a lot of time and would get old quickly. So yes, I would step right up and ask for ice cream. Maybe I would pull back the money in my hand, when he grabs for it!

  3. Brenda

    Thanks for sharing all your insight about record companies. What I have experienced when I hire a musician/artist is so opposite of a corporation. We always hire local musicians that I get introduced to from a friend or a friend of friend. For the last 5 years, every musician that we have hired gets his check made out to him (have not hired any hers :-)) I give them my word of what they will be paid and follow through and they are always so happy but more importantly there is trust, mutual respect and I really think that they know that we hope for the best in their musical career. If a musician wants a contract, that is good also, no problem.
    Yes, venture capitalist just want to take their money to make more- more – money. Scary people! Almost like drug dealers offering a “fix” with money to open the door of oppotunity to the innocent musician. Most musicians that I talk to just hunger for the opportunity to perform and money is secondary so if the musician is not surrounded by a loving supportive people to protect or shield them from the greedy stock option corporation, the musician is stuck with nothing to pay the bills.
    What I love about our FestivALL is that we are a non-profit that promotes all of the arts for the benefit of ARTIST.
    I was memerized watching the ice cream scooper nahhhh he was an entertainer! Thanks for the inside “Scoop” of an entertainer that performs with ice cream, I need to hire him to peform for us at next years Old Fashion Ice Cream Social. :-)

  4. Carol

    What a fun ice cream man. I think he must be good at judging character….what a charming little boy.


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