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.)


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...


I am intrigued by the sense that culture itself has a wild edge. As Claude Levi-Strauss remarked years ago, the arts are the wilderness areas of the imagination surviving, like national parks, in the midst of civilized minds.

This is a quote, tweeted by a Gary Snyder Quotes Account, from the book The Practice of the Wild by Gary Snyder, published in 1990.

Wilderness of nature and wilderness of culture. Wilderness outside and wilderness inside. I believe we need both to flourish. Some people are uncomfortable with wilderness of nature or of culture, but they also reap the rewards of it. One example of that is the amount of medicine found in the wild corners of the shrinking Amazon forest. In terms of music think of how much bass playing was changed by the wild Jaco Pastorius or guitar playing by Jimi Hendrix. When they first exploded onto the scene there may have been many who didn’t like it, but now there is hardly a bassist or guitarist who was not influenced by them.

I think this dovetails nicely with my old Spinning circles image of culture.

In the fringe is where everything exciting happens, never in the center. Cultures are like spinning circles. In the center they don’t move very much, that’s where the traditionalists live, the conservatives. Towards the rim is where the action is, that’s where the artists hang out. Life is a little more out of balance there sometimes and the spinning can make you dizzy there. What is most exciting is that many of the culture circles overlap and if you can stay in a spot where several things overlap you can find new clouds of ideas. Ideas are not bound to any individual, there are bound to a time. Many people in that spot will come up with similar ideas. Sometimes this cloud of ideas forms a new circle and the center of it hardens and becomes a new tradition. The longer it can remain liquid the more alive it will remain. Life is change.

Rant #5