Will the tail wag?

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.

‘Remix’ For The Hybrid Economy : NPR

Lawrence Lessing’s ‘Remix’ For The Hybrid Economy : NPR
Fresh Air from WHYY, December 22, 2008

In his new book Remix, law professor Lawrence Lessig explores the changing landscape of intellectual property in the digital age — and argues that antiquated copyright laws should be updated.

Agree with some of it, disagree with some of it (((see this entry for example – the long tail simply isn’t happening)))… but good food for thought and it’s a pleasure to listen to Prof. Lessig’s clear speaking.

Social Software

The problem with social software as a recommendation network has its roots in the problem of social software itself. ‘Friend’ is a pretty blunt instrument when it comes to describing relationships, especially in matters of taste. The sad reality is that most of my friends have rotten taste in music (I don’t hold it against them), while the music recommendations I actually follow are mostly from people I’ve never met, be they Rhapsody editors or MP3 blogs. Same for virtually every other narrow category where I need advice; odds are that the real subject matter experts aren’t anyone I know.
(Via The Long Tail.)

Streaming Fraud

It’s estimated that almost 10% of streams are fraudulent. We have the Swedish example of criminal gangs laundering money via “fake” streams, and cases such as the Bad Dog fraud, highlighted in the New York Times. A former Spotify employee in the audience appeared to think the onus lies with the distributors. I suggested a more rigorous identification procedures of uploaders, and the distributors said they’ve formed a working group where they can share information on bad actors, in order to prevent them simply jumping from one distributor to another.

@helienne Has a Serious Panel Discussion with Spotify, Deezer and WMG Reps About Artist Centric, Streaming Fraud and the New Free Goods – Music Technology Policy

Here is another interesting paragraph:

Lucian Grainge called those having an issue with his royalty distribution model “merchants of garbage” (great band name, by the way), and a couple of my fellow panelists said the threshold would get rid of “the garbage”. I find using that term about music quite offensive. Also, haven’t we been told for a decade that one of the great things with streaming is that it got rid of the gatekeepers? What happened to that “long tail” that was going to make it a more level playing field? I especially find the minimum threshold of having to have 500 unique listeners every month problematic. This favours those who have the marketing powers to continuously get featured on editorial playlists with unengaged lean-back listeners over those who have a smaller but highly engaged fan following. 500 unique listeners every month may not sound like a lot but try to get 500 people showing up at your gigs, and you’ll realise it is. 



Biography / History 2022: Ottmar Liebert Ottmar Liebert’s global success can be attributed to a myriad of things – his creative vision, his determination, and a strong sense of melody. Born in Cologne, Germany, he began playing guitar at 11. Before the age of...