Wednesday in Santa Fe

02010-08-11 | Uncategorized | 5 comments

Marginal Revolution: Spontaneous order on the road
Here’s a video of a small town in Britain that turned its traffic lights off.  Order ensued.

I updated the photoblog with new images.

Charles Lloyd recently sent me this link to a video for his new album, which will drop next month. I met Charles in Paris and Tokyo with Yohji Yamamoto in 1991. The new album sounds great!

Gerry on August 11th, 2010 at 03:32
‘For a while I thought that Creative Commons licensing was actually a good idea, but no longer.’
Could you explain a little more? Do you have any advice for musicians/ songwriters about protecting their work? I’ve been thinking about using an indepenent agent such as ‘protect my work’ who charge an annual fee around $50 but don’t know if it’s money well spent.

LAH – that stands for “laughing all hard”, which is the New Mexican version of LOL… I have a hard time believing that you will get much more than a few automated searches for the $50 annualy. Well, plus maybe they’ll send a form letter when they find that somebody is using or sharing your work. Copyright is automatic and you can send CDs to the Library of Congress or ask somebody, who’s done that before, to do it for you. I haven’t dealt with that in a couple of decades, as our publishing administrator takes care of this, but I remember doing this in the Eighties. I am sure you can find instructions somewhere on the internet.

Here are a few thoughts:
– what are you looking for: do you want to perform your music or sell recordings or both?
– do you want to use your recorded music to procure gigs?
– the value of your work increases with its popularity
– the value of your work may also increase because of its rareness (((e.g. clothing from the German fashion label Acronym is only available from a few retailers around the world. Acronym produce a limited amount which is highly sought after and sells out before market saturation)))
– your music is safest if you don’t let anybody hear it (((like keeping a painting in a vault, never showing it)))
– if nobody hears your music, it can’t become popular
– licensing of your music will only occur if the music is heard
– your music will be licensed if it is popular or fresh, or both
– at present protecting one’s music is a bit like trying to hold water in one hand
– do you want to spend most of your time creating music, or chasing after pirates?
– too much protection lowers the chance of the music being widely heard
– too little protection means that everyone already downloaded the music – why should they buy it?

I don’t know whether that helps. The truth is that I don’t have answers, and in fact nobody has answers. Some people (((cough Chris Anderson from Wired cough cough))) have made money from writing about the longtail and from giving talks about it, but I am afraid they are the only ones who have made money from that idea. We are all collectively stumbling about, looking for a way. Culture is moving down a tunnel, blindfolded, trying to determine what might work. In the opinion of many, popular music has never been worse… perhaps and perhaps not.

Last words: some people might suggest giving your music away, so that it might be heard and you gain a certain number of fans. Then you might be able to move to charging for the music or hope that these new fans buy tickets for one of your performances. However, those fans you gained will be fans of your free music and it would remain to be seen whether they would be willing to pay for the same music.

Ha! See, I am not helping at all… now you have likely more questions. Welcome to the rubber raft that musicians are currently in, after that ship that was supposedly iceberg-proof started leaking and went under.

That’s a funny headline… and the article is quite good, too:

Epicenter |
Why Google Became A Carrier-Humping, Net Neutrality Surrender Monkey (UPDATED)


  1. Gerry

    Thanks for your thoughts. They do raise more questions. I thought about having cds pressed – that way I have something material with a date on the cover. Only my wife and a couple of close friends have heard my music so far – I guess I’ll never become popular! But that doesn’t matter, I just love creating.

  2. Ottmar

    What are those questions? A lot of pressing plants these days are willing to press smaller runs of CDs, like a hundred or three hundred, which is great. They cost a little more per unit, but at least the garage isn’t stuffed with boxes.

  3. Carol Anderson

    And of the 1000 you first had pressed , I have one of those. Thank you, God!

  4. Gerry

    The questions are those that I need to ask of myself, I guess. ‘What do I want to do with my music?’, bring pleasure to people (via the gigs that I procured with my promotional cd) would be my honest answer.
    The back pages of ‘Sound on Sound’ magazine are full of companies that offer short run cd production in the UK.
    Even Abbey Road studios now offer a mastering service!
    I did have one question for you – have you ever pursued the pirates/plagiarists? Or would rather concentrate on more positive activities?
    Thanks again.

  5. Ottmar

    Gerry, not enough hours in the day to be creative and to play police. Karma works, slowly perhaps, but it works.


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