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  • Sounds like the new banana chat!

    We should all do it.
  • edited May 2012

    i really enjoyed reading this essay that tears down so many popular myths of contemporary music economics

    mostly cause musicians tend either to be annoyingly bright eyed and or under-value systemic problems
    and most of the essays i've read on music economics are written by non-musicians or people who's motives in finding one conclusion or the other i find questionable

    this is just the dude from cracker telling it like he sees it. and its resounding within me more than most things.
  • i would google hang out
    i think it could really be the next banana chat
    i'm actually clicking google plus a little more than i did for a long time
  • edited May 2012
    Cracker dude kind of goes off wildly the rails at a couple points--taking a couple of my co-workers massively and dishonestly out of context.

    Also...his nostalgia about the days when majors would give massive advances is a bit goofy. Like the majors LOST a TON of money doing that STUFF, it's not going to happen again--and it shouldn't--it's not a net good for artists except for a handful who hit that jackpot.

    Most of the rest of his thing is on point.
  • edited May 2012
    Yesterday, Chris Hayes hosted a great round-table analysis of the Facebook IPO fiasco (after the ad). ;)

    The clips about Bain Capital and the economic function of the private equity business are also highly recommended.

    Mikey, I think Dan Dicker should be your next financial advisor.
  • Good Cracker, Alan! Thanks for that.
  • maybe DR J can tell us with better authority if the thing about advances is true.
    as i have only worked with small independent labels i have never gotten an advance for more than $500-$1000 to make a record.
    but i hear about my famous friends' advances and they are often big figures, even if split amongst a band
    im down with cracker dude's take, even if extreme
    because i dont tend to hear from that side
    i am as sick as the next musician of having the "sell t-shirts on tour" conversation with my tech buddies/aunt at thanksgiving
    and that he wrote that made me feel validated
    seems like that site is all about musicians intellectual rights protection in the age of piracy
    and it seems grassroots, which makes it very compelling for me as i have been directly financially affected by my industry's collapse
  • edited May 2012
    It is totally sick and weird that the obvious fact that the internet era has been really really difficult for musicians which is brutally obvious to you and I almost never gets talked about in media, especially the breathless and often mindlessly utopian tech press which seems convinced that anyone can make it if they just work a little harder, or adopt whatever new tech tool or hustle a little harder with the commercial placements.

    meanwhile most kids consuming music have zero idea about what the actual financial realities are like for working musicians, how few of them have health insurance, etc.

    problem with lowery isn't that he's extreme but that he's prone to weird dishonest ad hominems. I dig the passion though. i also like the production he did on that magnolia electric co box

  • edited May 2012
    @Alan_Frogtor David Lowry's point about making more money by being unrecouped is definitely true, though I'm not really sure how significant it is. He's just saying that being unrecouped means that you, the artist, were able to extract more cash from your label advance then you were able to 'earn' by sales on royalties. Having labels in the ecosystem has meant having a community of ready patrons available to invest in projects.

    One big downside that oddly he doesn't mention is that, in contrast to a bank loan, or other forms of patronage, under the traditional label agreement the label *owns* the recordings. This is the traditional bind for musicians. For a host of mostly absurd reasons, labels routinely fail to properly market the music in their possession. Once something fails, a label will pull all their resources off the project and essentially lock it away, leaving the artist with no way to exploit this product of their labors. Even if everything runs 'according to plan' only something like 1 out of 10 or 20 projects are successful. This means that labels have actually ruined far more careers than they have supported.

    Music money morality is a pretty foggy territory. No one's relationship to value in music is rational and standardized. I appreciated Lowry's relatively comprehensive analysis of the current landscape from his particular perspective. One of his key points really stuck with me: that entities that generate revenue from music should split their proceeds with the creators. Maybe that's really banal, but it worked for me today.

    Bringing this back around to the thread topic, I really appreciated his #realtalk comparing the efficacy of band sites to Facebook services, et al. That one click means a lot. FB is where the audience is.

    Also, while he makes clear that he's not a fan of certain rhetoric he (unfairly?) cites from K-Dawg's employer, I have to say "Famous Indie Musician Lives on $34,000 a Year" seems like a headline entities like FOMC should embrace just to bring a baseline of clarity and transparency into these kinds of moral discussions. The truth, which you won't hear at SXSW or on Pitchfork or from Indie label moghuls or other legions of semi-pro taste-gaters, is that, except for an astronomically small number of lucky, gifted, sick or well-positioned people, the indie universe will never provide a reasonable standard of living for anyone. It's a vanity mill. It is sparkly and that is all.

    I'm hoping White Fang and Alan Frogman uproot and destroy all leftover indie moral pretense before lil' J gets too deeply involved. Longshot, I know, but maybe....
  • The thing that was weird was the stuff that Lowery was complaining that we ought to be doing is stuff that we totally do--just not in the single conference talk and blog post he cited. One of my coworkers was reminded of that scene with Marshall McLuhan in Annie Hall: "You know nothing of my work!" I like a good balls-out polemic as much as the next guy, but yeesh.
  • i can only hope that the indie rock pipe dream is brought down to reality in time for me to push my avant lazer cloud fonk ambient synth solo comedy act to the fore!

  • Fingers crossed!
  • I have been following similar story lines over the past few years but from the perspective of film. sadly it's not all that different. Apple, Netflix, Google/Youtube, Sony, Vimeo, Canon, etc, are really the only ones making any money. The artists are really customers- I suspect the semi-pro dudes like myself are some of their best customers. The theaters and distributors aren't doing any better. on cynical days I tend to think of this whole 'creative class' as just a bunch of glamorous hobbiests, buying the products of these giant tech companies, and then making things that the companies will then use to make even more money and sell more of their products.

    but hey, we get "community"!!!
  • Vimeo never made a profit when I was there.
  • It drops and I just keep buying more. No sweat.
  • "Vimeo never made a profit when I was there."

    no, but the founders certainly made a bundle when they sold it. far more than ANY independent filmmaker has made from their film in the past ten years.
  • Yeah, but didn't one of the founders kind of go crazy? I mean... that's quite a price to pay for whatever cash he got. Sanity has a lot of value to me.
  • Vimeo was just a side project at that time. The sale was for College Humor and Busted Tees really. At the time of sale, there were hardly any videos on Vimeo, and definitely no real "films," because the file size was so small.
  • Not that I don't agree with your "cynical" premise. I think that is the actual truth of the current situation. First world hobbiests buying gear and feeling like artists.
  • oh just to go back to what we were saying about fb for musicians
    i announced my new EP via twitter, tumblr, facebook personal account and facebook musician's "page".
    the musician's page gets slightly awkward re-posts of my twitters and tumblrs too, something that i am on the fence about but i do for now
    anyway, all the posts related to my new ep got seen in the feeds of around 25% of people who at some point clicked "like/subscribe" on that page
    meaning that up to around 75% of the people that at some point in time subscribed to my fb "page" did not see the announcement that i have a new EP out

    which "sorta" blows because i can see in bandcamp where all the traffic is coming from of people listening to my new EP in an embedded player (massive majority is being played from within FB) and where people are coming from who go to my bandcamp page (again, massive majority are coming from clicking a link in a FB post)

    fb deemed my new EP unimportant

    i should dis-integrate the twitter and tumblr and focus my posts so everyone clicks like on the same thing so it goes up in importance rating so more people see it then more people click like on the post and then more people see it

    what fucking popularity contest

    lowest common denominator wins?


  • edited June 2012
    it was pointed out to me today that well funded people who can afford to drop $ on facebook ads to promote their posts into people's feeds suddenly have this big advantage over independent artists and small nonprofits etc who don't. Yeah, that's how advertising works everywhere, but the thing about facebook was that it was supposed to level the playing field. ugh.
  • I have had similar experiences as mr. frogtor but with film pages. the new % of people reached thing is very weird.

    but are we sure that what we are seeing is a result of FB filtering and not simply posts that are lost due to high levels of traffic? I mean, I have some 1200 FB friends and have 'liked' at least 100 various pages. I check FB a couple times a day and know there is no way I am seeing every post that has been sent my way because many of them are simply buried by the sheer number of other posts. I'd likely have to sift through hundreds, if not thousands of posts a day to see everything.

    I am not saying i want FB to filter, just wondering if the 75% if Frogtor's fans who are not seeing the post are simply missing it because it's buried underneath other updates. It is easy to speculate about this, but has there been any actual evidence of FB repressing posts as a way to promote paid advertising? I am suspicious of them, but want to make sure we are not accusing them of blackmail without warrant.
  • My understanding of how it works: FB filters so that you are not drowning in updates. FB wouldn't work if you saw every update! So, since there is filtering, they also sell the ability to slip past the filters.

    The costs are pretty low. I've been playing with it, but I don't have anything to sell really (other than shares, you should all buy shares of course).
  • This whitepaper is from a year ago but our CEO just sent it seems like really basic, obvious advice, but whatever. Maybe it's worth a look?
  • Now we're getting down to bishness! White papers!
  • I downloaded it. I will read it tonight.
  • edited June 2012
    Twitter doesn't filter.

    It works, right?

    Sort of?

    I find myself searching for posts from people I want to check in on.
  • edited June 2012
    I really dislike Twitter. I think it encourages a lot of noise, which makes it more distracting than useful.
  • edited June 2012
    i too find Twitter 'too much to handle'
    though i know some people really dig it.
    do people typically do both (twit and FB) or is it sort of one or the other?
    are you an FB or a Twit? that would be an interesting personality study.

  • I also find Twitter way too much to handle. I can't understand it. It all looks like gobbledygook to me, so many weird urls and retweets and I can't follow it and I feel 80 years old.

    I know some people love it and that is cool. I think Steve prefers Twitter to FB and mainly just does Twitter. Jona too probably??? I don't know
  • I do Twitter, I don't Facebook.
  • I totaly lurv twitter. It is the perfect output platform for me (curation+snark+culling from my wide range of inputs due to my job+short+frequent), and very good input platform (as I am pretty selective about whom I follow - only 170 at present - and willing to cull people if they are too prolific, too duplicative of other feeds, or just not providing the content I'm interested in). It helps, I think, that I have a very specific focus for my feed - it's the public/personal face of my professional interests. So, I feel like people who subscribe to me know why they're there, and I think I have a decent handle on what is interesting to them. Once I decide I'm interested in a subject or a community I spend a little time identifying the thought leaders - if you follow the right person, they'll RT any essential reading from "lesser" tweeters, so their curation has tremendous value for me.

    I use FB only for keeping up with family. I am pretty low-key about it, but it's great for relatives that I don't see much, and especially now that we have a kid, it's the best possible way to help our extended family keep in touch with him. I can't stand using FB for any work stuff, and frankly I don't even care for it as a way to manage my interests - if you're not on twitter, I probably just won't know what you're up to.
  • If I had to quit one, I'd quit FB.

    I've gotten so many job/freelance offers through Twitter. It helps me keep up with my industry. Also the jokes are generally better on Twitter than FB. Freddy's first paragraph kinda nails it for me.
  • I think I prefer things like Tumblr because often someone will summarize the important parts of an article they are linking to, so you don't even have to read the full article. Twitter is just a stream of links to articles that I will never read. Like someone loaning you their whole library of 500 books for one week when they could have just told you about their five favorite books.
  • edited June 2012
    I am so pro-editing! I think editing is the taste of the future. We need summaries.
    It makes me feel like God, to really get in there and condense the s*** out of an article. I think of it like I am writing those big punchy quotes they drop into magazines. And you read the whole article and you realize they collapsed a paragraph into one sentence just to make it sound really sexy and outrageous.
  • edited June 2012
    Writing a good tweet is a word game! Also the twitterverse is absolutely the best source of information about a breaking news story anywhere in the world. You want to drill down on what is happening somewhere? Hit the tweets.

    I agree there's loads of dreck in my list but there are also cool surprises and like I say when I want to check someone/something out I just search the twitterverse.

    Twitter doesn't make sense until you are following like 100 sources, then it's like a river of headlines that you built just for you! I'm following about 1,400 sources now. I'm thinking I'll cut back about half, one of these days.

    Uh-huh. Yep. Fer sure.

  • Oh yeah, and once you get enough twitter followers, you can crowdsource, like, anything. It is the coolest. I think I am one of only two people at my 100-person firm who get this, and as a result, I can work magic for people. You need someone to go take a photo of that one special bike facility in Eugene for you, but make sure it has somebody biking with a kid? DONE. You want a group of strangers to take you on a bike ride in NYC to look at their recent innovative facilities? NO PROBLEM. What's the word on the street about when the USDOT will announce the TIGER IV grant awards? GOT AN ANSWER COMING RIGHT UP. Quick, I need some "hip bike messenger lingo" for a story @yourstruly is writing! CHECK YR EMAIL. (And for anybody who didn't already know, obvs, I'm a professional bike nerd.)

    Also, I find it to be a really useful way to get the attention of agencies and companies. I've stopped bothering with emails - holding them accountable in a public setting is simply much more effective and satisfying.
  • I stand in awe of your Twitter mastery. Sincerely.
  • you should do seminars!
  • What Facebook Knows

    Facebook has collected the most extensive data set ever assembled on human social behavior.

    Facebook ... hasn't actually done that much with what it knows about us.

    Marlow is confident that exploring this resource will revolutionize the scientific understanding of why people behave as they do. His team can also help Facebook influence our social behavior for its own benefit and that of its advertisers. This work may even help Facebook invent entirely new ways to make money.
  • Super interesting (for me) to think of the ethics involved in studying human behavior via Facebook.

    "Recently the Data Science Team has begun to use its unique position to experiment with the way Facebook works, tweaking the site—the way scientists might prod an ant's nest—to see how users react. Eytan Bakshy . . . wanted to test whether our Facebook friends create an "echo chamber" that amplifies news and opinions we have already heard about. So he messed with how Facebook operated for a quarter of a billion users. . . on 219 million randomly chosen occasions, Facebook prevented someone from seeing a link shared by a friend. Hiding links this way created a control group so that Bakshy could assess how often people end up promoting the same links because they have similar information sources and interests."

    No informed consent! This is something I've never quite understood - why do "scientists" have to get informed consent/approval by the Institutional Review Board for every single aspect of a study that involves human subjects, but tons of other professionals can just do whatever they want to study humans?
  • This reminds me a little of the OkTrends blog, but instead of interesting blog posts they are trying to figure out how humans work so they can make money.
  • It kind of feels like it would be overreaching government if private companies had to get approval for every little tweak they did to figure out how to deliver their services.
  • I hear you, MZ, but what difference does it make as far as ethics is concerned if it's a "private company" or a "behavioral research center" or a "reporter" or a whatever? I just don't really understand the logic. If the government needs to step in to protect people when it comes to social science research, why wouldn't they have to step in when it comes to market research?
  • Maybe it's because the science research is government funded and therefore taxpayers can hold the government accountable / it would be a scandal if we found out they were using our money unethically? I don't know, just trying to figure it out as well.
  • Also, companies have more money so if someone tried to sue them they are just like, 'Hey Lawyers, get on that!' where as a research center or some shee is like, 'Oh fuck, we have no law people...' So they make lots of forms and get approval. Also, science is scary so they have to be sure to be on the up and up more. Business is just people making money, NO BIG DEAL.
  • That behavioral research center should change from being a .org to a .com and then they would be all set!
  • edited June 2012
    I suspect that most behavioral research at universities is actually funded (directly or indirectly) by corporations invested in market research. This is the trend in the hard sciences, anyway, where professors often work as the R&D wing of various industries.

    Aren't the human subjects consent forms more about legitimating the research than protecting the participants? Sort of like peer review? If the participants are mistreated or exploited then the data is inaccurate.
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