The Amanda Palmer Kickstarter Scandal : The New Yorker

In the context of the copyright debate I always found that the people on the side of removing and reducing copyright in order to “de-criminalize” unlicensed distribution forget about the employment and workforce components of the media business.

This article brings those two points together very well!

As she (Amanda Palmer)  told the New York Times, “If my fans are happy and my audience is happy and the musicians on stage are happy, where’s the problem?”

This is a time-honored dodge, which might be called “the Oompa-Loompa defense.” It goes something like this: outsourcing labor to people who will work for less is fine because they are “happy” to do it. Such practices and accompanying rationales have been continually refined—think the helpline that dials a tech in Bangalore. But the fantasy of the happy worker has taken on newer and more mind-bending aspects, as has work itself. It now includes things like the unpaid microlabor of providing content for Web sites. It includes the amateur photographer who provides her images of, say, the police killing a young black man to the local news as an “iReport” for nothing but a credit and a T-shirt. Or a music lover scratching out a review on some hip site for a byline alone. Or consider the subtlest and arguably the most exemplary case: how, in wandering the byways of Facebook and Google, you are diligently rendering gratis a host of information about the preferences and habits of you and your friends—data they sell to advertisers. This, too, is unpaid labor.


The Amanda Palmer Kickstarter Scandal : The New Yorker.

The new exploit culture

So if I’m understanding the netizens and their user-rights meme correctly, then the new business model is to become a curator on YouTube and take in all the profits from that with no regard to the creators of the content of the videos.

Check this guy out for example: he has 2.4 Millionen views on his channel. That does translate into actual money. Do you think any money goes to the composers who wrote those soundtracks? To the film studios who financed the recordings? No. To the musicians? No. And what’s worse: usually a production company takes money that they make on one project and put it into a new project, paying music copyists (you know the people who prepare the sheet music), editors, actors, musicians, technicians etc. It keeps a virtuous cycle alive. But if you disrupt this mechanism and think that disruption for the sake of disruption is always a good thing, then you’re not thinking about all the people employed in these industries and that just makes no sense. I thought all this historical progress was to empower individuals and create a better world for everyone? Oh right, individual curators but not creators.

And another thought: do you think a single individual score composer will ever reach those numbers of plays? It’s delusional to think that. It’s the exception not the rule. Or does this guy include the indie composers in his score playlists as a way to promote up and coming talent? No, he’s banking on the historical greats for his personal benefit of both money and fame.

The new culture exploits

Mashups and remixes

This puts the problem with the remix and prosumer culture into the correct perspective. And not even from a musical viewpoint but from looking at it in the startup and innovation world.

Thank you for putting into words what I’ve been thinking for about a year and a half now!

No, it was their means that repelled me. The way so many were going about their job of fitting those puzzle pieces together. Instead of working diligently to assemble something truly worthwhile (a subjective judgment, to be sure, and I am calloused from long exposure, but let us be honest), they took two or three of the nearest pieces, or the latest ones to fall on the table, and mashed them into each other — making them “fit” the way a toddler might. Now, random recombination is a great way for evolution to occur over millions of years, but intelligent design it ain’t. It is depressing and distressing to see grown men and women approaching problems with such an unsophisticated and, frankly, opportunistic method.

Read the whole article over on TechCrunch

Showing the love for musicians – where did it go?

After reading the comment section on an article in the SpiegelOnline today about the everyday situation of a punk musician in Germany I have to get one thought out of my head:

When did a whole flock of people start to feel nothing but hate, envy and dis-contempt for musicians and their situation? And why on earth are they voicing their hate of the lifestyle and income of (insert random successful artist here) on someone who makes 1/3 of the average income in Germany?

Are you guys feeling anything anymore? I guess not. I’m saddened.

I refer you to this article: The Real Issue Of Online Piracy and Illegal File-Sharing: Assholes