Music Industry

I thought I might post some of my thoughts on the music indus­try, where it’s at and where it might be going. How­ev­er, if you aren’t famil­iar with The Long Tail, you have to read the arti­cle which appeared in the Octo­ber issue of Wired Mag­a­zine. Go read it here now.

I thought I might post some of my thoughts on the music indus­try, where it’s at and where it might be going. How­ev­er, if you aren’t famil­iar with The Long Tail, you have to read the arti­cle which appeared in the Octo­ber issue of Wired Mag­a­zine. Go read it here now in a new Fire­fox tab and then come back here. Lat­er, you can read all the argu­ments for and against the arti­cle at the web site for The Long Tail book.

Okay, so I have to admit that oth­er than a broth­er and a good friend which most would con­sid­er indie musi­cians, I have absolute­ly no affil­i­a­tion with the music indus­try oth­er than the most com­mon: con­sumer. That’s not to say it’s not an impor­tant role, though. I’m the guy who along with my mil­lions of peers either buys or does­n’t buy the music. It does take me for this whole mod­el to work. I do believe that it starts with the artist, though. The song­writ­ers and per­form­ers are both the chick­en and the egg here. That being said, I also believe that the mid­dle men per­form the most mean­ing­less task in the process. I was recent­ly remind­ed that cough­ing up the cash for mar­ket­ing and mass-pro­duc­tion could be seen as the most cru­cial part, and I’m sure that record exec­u­tives feel that way about it, too. How­ev­er, after read­ing this arti­cle, see­ing how free jour­nal­ism (read: blogs) can influ­ence the entire coun­try, and my own per­son­al expe­ri­ence in meet­ing peo­ple from around the globe through my web­site; I’ve decid­ed that this sim­ply isn’t the case anymore.

Here’s my new improved mod­el: instant access to the tip of the long tail. I put my music in dig­i­tal for­mat (this goes for books, etc, as well). I’ll pay for host­ing the files on iTunes, Ama­zon, Tow­er, where ever I want I think I can find some toe-hold of a mar­ket. Then, I use word-of-mouth, play­ing shows, and blogs to find an audi­ence. With sweat and luck, a num­ber of rec­om­men­da­tions start point­ing to me. As long as these rec­om­men­da­tions are gen­uine, and not like pay-for-play on some Clear Chan­nel sta­tion, then they will work. Peo­ple can lis­ten before they buy and, assum­ing price is right, they will buy. So, I start to move up the tail some. Best part for all you Down­hill Bat­tle geeks, no record label. Peri­od. If I want help with my mar­ket­ing, etc. I join a musi­cian & song­writer col­lec­tive. This gains buy­ing pow­er and larg­er influ­ence. This already works for inde­pen­dent gro­cery stores, phar­ma­cies, and on and on; why not for musi­cians? The mod­el for the music busi­ness is the most com­plex I’ve ever heard of. It does­n’t have to be this way. The tech­nol­o­gy avail­able for com­mu­ni­ca­tion between humans (which is pret­ty much what both mar­ket­ing and music boil down to) is to a point that this mod­el is now obsolete.

Now, I real­ize that being out on the skin­ny end of this long tail isn’t going to make sta­di­um-play­ing-rock-gods out of my friends and fam­i­ly. It will, at best, pay the rent; and that’s going to be about as good as one can hope. But isn’t that much dif­fer­ent than the way it is now? I’ve got as good a chance as play­ing start­ing for­ward for the Wiz­ards as I’ve got going plat­inum, so what’s to loose? If you’re not U2, then not too much. How­ev­er, the fact that the music indus­try pro­tects itself does­n’t help some­one on the verge of get­ting in. You start sell­ing your songs on your own, and you’ll nev­er get signed on to a major label. That’s a risk that would be tough if you feel like a deal with a label (major or indie) is just around the cor­ner. How­ev­er, for all but the best sell­ing musi­cians these days, that’s not too big of a risk. Unless you’re in the top 10%(or so) of artists in terms of sales, you’re prob­a­bly not get­ting much air­time or support.

As an aside, go read up on some great ideas on file shar­ing net­works at the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion as well. Also, check out some of the links above. You’ll see that I’m pret­ty much just regur­gi­tat­ing some great ideas that are already out there, but you’ll also see I’m not alone in my frus­tra­tion as both a lis­ten­er of music and some­one who gives a damn about artists try­ing to make a liv­ing. Last­ly, if you like a song, buy the damn music!

The Sign of Things To Come

You can eas­i­ly see that things are very dif­fer­ent around here. It’s a new year, and I’ve got what appears to be a new site at first glance. I’ve switched from Blog­ger to Word­Press & also switched web servers. This is all thanks to my good friend Jason John­son, who is gra­cious­ly help­ing me get up to speed on all things WWW. Now, iron­i­cal­ly, Jason has authored many a site on the inter­net and has helped me learn every­thing from the <html> tag to some very sim­ple php (as of a cou­ple of days ago); but his site has been in the “begin­ning” stages for years now.

This site is going to con­tin­ue to go through some rad­i­cal changes over the next two weeks, at which point, it bet­ter be done. I’m start­ing a new job and I don’t expect I’ll have near­ly as much time for such diver­sions. I hope I’ll have time for post­ing any­thing oth­er than how lit­tle time I have. These changes will include a new look, some orga­ni­za­tion, and hope­ful­ly many inter­est­ing links to keep some­one busy for at least 5 min­utes. I’m excit­ed about all the new pos­si­bil­i­ties, and if you end up lik­ing this site, thank the oth­er Jason for me. He’s a bril­liant design­er and coder, and throws a mean New Year’s Eve par­ty with Stacie.

Merry Christmas!

I just want­ed to post a short mes­sage here wish­ing all my read­ers (okay, my Mom & Dad!) a Mer­ry Christ­mas. Also, Hap­py Hanukkah, Kwan­zaa, Fes­tivus and all oth­er big­gie-Decem­ber hol­i­days (hence, the non-spe­cif­ic ‘Hap­py Hol­i­days’ that has some folks ban­ning stores). Best wish­es and Hap­py New Year.

I’m cur­rent­ly with my wife vis­it­ing with all of her fam­i­ly. Then, we’re off to land of dial-ups and non-24-hour super­mar­kets to vis­it my fam­i­ly in the moun­tains. At least we have snow (okay, ice & slush), if not broadband.

Robocop

Screen Shot of Robot Commercial

How come I don’t see com­mer­cials this cool on tele­vi­sion? Seri­ous­ly, I would­n’t fast-for­ward right through them with TiVo if 1 out of 10 were this fun to watch. Okay, so this isn’t a real com­mer­cial for any­thing, but still; you could place robots like this in Ben­gay com­mer­cials and I’d watch the reli­gious­ly. The image links direct­ly to the video, even though the team respon­si­ble has asked folks not to. I don’t think the two or three clicks this will get is going to both­er them. Here’s their site just in case you design-types want to know more.

If you like this com­mer­cial, syn­thet­ic rab­bit post­ed anoth­er great one (for a real prod­uct) on his site here.

Final­ly, how cool is a robot with Wifi anten­nae, rab­bit-like ears? I love it.

UPDATE: The links above aren’t bro­ken, you just need to look down the page for the Tetra Vaal Video.

And I Thought I Was Having A Bad Day

Harry With Elizabethan Collar and Head Bandage

Here I was feel­ing sor­ry for myself that I was out on site until very ear­ly this morn­ing. Well around 8:00am Angela called me to tell me Har­ry was bleed­ing bad­ly and need­ed to be tak­en to the Vet. Turns out he just had a small tear in his ear, so he’s okay. I don’t think he’s too hap­py, though.

While all the foren­sic evi­dence isn’t back from the lab yet, we’re pret­ty sure it was some dog­gy rough-hous­ing while Angela was busy with break­fast. Some­times our new­er dog, Mag­gie, does­n’t seem to real­ize she’s about 2 1/2 times the size of Har­ry. Har­ry also does­n’t keep this fact in mind some­times while wrestling her. The good news is, Har­ry gets to take the ban­dage off on Monday.

This Site’s Not All That’s Under Construction

Well, I’ve just come back in from the cold. Lit­er­al­ly. I’ve been out most all night and into the morn­ing at a con­struc­tion site in the Hamp­ton Roads area of Vir­ginia on a con­struc­tion mon­i­tor­ing job. Yes, I watch peo­ple work on con­struc­tion. It’s not a bad gig, if you’ve got long ther­mal under­wear and a good book to read by dome-light in your car. Oh yeah, you’ll also want a decent pair of work boots because the stuff that this oper­a­tion digs up is like walk­ing through the waste site of a mod­el­ing clay factory.

Setting up to take level shots at the construciton site

Essen­tial­ly, a Jack & Bore pipe instal­la­tion is a method of push­ing a pipe through the ground from one open­ing to the next, all the while, using a auger inside the pipe to bore out the soil it is dis­plac­ing. It’s a good way to get a pipe under some­thing you can’t dis­turb, like say a rail­road. Wikipedia does­n’t have any­thing on Jack­ing and Bor­ing pipe, and I did­n’t see any­thing with much googlar­i­ty to even both­er with post­ing on here. Suf­fice it to say, if you real­ly need to know about this sort of pro­ce­dure, then you prob­a­bly already do.

How­ev­er, this does­n’t real­ly explain why I’m post­ing about it at the mid­dle of the morn­ing on the week­end. Back to the whole mon­i­tor­ing thing, I’m out with a co-work­ing tak­ing sur­vey­ing data and writ­ing field reports cov­er­ing the con­struc­tion under­way. It’s bor­ing enough, but on top of that, the cur­rent tem­per­a­ture out­side is around 35° F. I’m not real­ly lov­ing my job right now.

That’s too bad, because my co-work­er just called my room and it’s off to the job site to take anoth­er round of lev­el shots.

MeetUp… For What?

Well, I just returned home from the Decem­ber meet­ing of the Rich­mond Demo­c­ra­t­ic Meet­Up. This is the sec­ond one of these Mee­tups I’ve been to, and I can’t decide which one dis­s­a­point­ed me more. The first one was noth­ing but myself and four oth­ers sit­ting at a local cof­fee shop com­plain­ing about indi­vid­u­als in pow­er we obvi­ous­ly had­n’t vot­ed for. I’m sure you heard about it on the news that evening, giv­en all the sea-change in politcs that ensued.

The rea­son I went tonight, and the rea­son I had my hopes up again for this, was becuase tonight’s meet­ing was at the Vig­inia Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty Head­quar­ters. I thought this would be begin with a fiery Carville-esque speech to moti­vate the troops fol­lowed by a grass­roots brain­storm­ing ses­sion on elect­ing Lt. Govenor Kaine to the Govenors seat in ’05. Then we’d all be giv­en signs and bumper stick­ers to pass out, call-lists, talk­ing points, etc.

I got there about 5 min­utes late due to a cou­ple of acci­dents en-route (not mine, thank good­ness). Tim Kaine’s cam­paign man­ag­er, Mike Hen­ry, was tak­ing com­ments from the group… none of which I heard were of any use to this cam­paign. I did­n’t hear any­thing that was mak­ing this guy say any­thing oth­er than “yes, good idea, we’ll con­sid­er that.” Next, after some blath­er by the group (about 12 peo­ple), one of the oth­er Demo­c­ra­t­ic politi­cos asked for any oth­er ques­tions or com­ments. Then came a rant by one of the mem­bers com­plaign­ing about nev­er even hav­ing a Dem. to vote for on the bal­lot. I feel her pain, but the par­ty indi­vid­ual said they did­n’t have a “warm body” pol­i­cy for run­ning can­di­dates; that the par­ty only would run viable can­di­dates to win. Mon­ey, peo­ple, time are all lim­it­ed. Now this com­plaign­er went on to ques­tion what is viable? Well, why does­n’t she run for office then? I bet she’d tell you ‘oh, I would­n’t win.’ Well, that’s not viable.

I just got the fol­low up e‑mail for the meet­ing. It goes on about the groups opti­mism. I think Kaine will win, but not becuase of this bunch.

Passive Aggressive Hilarious

I saw a link for this and thought I’d find out more. I imag­ine that if every­body in Amer­i­ca bought a FOXBlock­er, the aver­age IQ would go up about 10 points. This is sim­ply an inline cable fil­ter. While the device itself does­n’t real­ly do any more than my nev­er watch­ing that chan­nel; the com­pa­ny sends an e‑mail to Fox’s top 10 adver­tis­ers let­ting them know there’s one less cus­tomer in that mar­ket. No that would make a dent. I sup­pose at some point the mar­ket­ing gurus there would fig­ure out that any­one who bought one was prob­a­bly already watch­ing the BBC News, PBS, or just lis­ten­ing to NPR because they nev­er had cable in the first place.

I Now Seem To Suffer From Insomnia

Bridge of Glass

Bridge of Glass
Orig­i­nal­ly uploaded by super_structure.

Per Wired’s rec­om­men­da­tion (updat­ed link here), I signed up for an account at Flickr; and I’m already glad I did. With­in a mat­ter of min­utes I had some pho­tos uploaded, tagged, titled, and grouped. Short­ly there­after, peo­ple were already adding comments. 

Cur­rent­ly, I just have some pho­tos of sev­er­al Dale Chi­hu­ly instal­la­tions from Ange­la’s and my trip out to Seat­tle and Taco­ma. It’s easy to take great pho­tos when you have ready-made incred­i­ble sub­ject mat­ter com­bined with spec­tac­u­lar weath­er. Any­way, check out my pho­to log here.

I Suffer From Outrage Fatigue

I noticed a com­ment on a head­line at George Hotelling’s 90% Crud blog this morn­ing that rung true with me. He not­ed that he was suf­fer­ing from Out­rage fatigue over some news arti­cle about rigged e‑vote machines in FL. I don’t know any­thing about the sto­ry, I don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly trust the source (BlueLe­mur, that is), and I’m not address­ing that right now.

I am writ­ing about Out­rage Fatigue, though, which is some­thing I’m suf­fer­ing from, along with being com­plete­ly over-news-ed. I’m mad as hell: about the elec­tion, the state of the union, ter­ri­ble polit­i­cal news sources, and pret­ty much any­thing polit­i­cal at this point. But I’m so over­whelmed at this point, I just don’t care any­more. I sup­pose they’ve got me right where they want me, but seri­ous­ly, what the hell am I sup­posed to do about it?

There is a site that has been real­ly been bring­ing me up, late­ly: SorryEverybody.com. I under­stand that it’s been get­ting lit­tle press state­side, and not much of it good. I can even see why, if you haven’t checked out the site. How­ev­er, this isn’t at all about hat­ing Amer­i­ca no mat­ter what they want you to believe. It’s all about uni­ty and humil­i­ty. It’s also kind of like lib­er­al ‘Where’s Wal­do?’. Speak­ing of which, see if you can’t find my post… (hint: it should be the very end, as I’m in a fol­low­ing, not lead­ing mood late­ly). I still can’t find, thought I sub­mit­ted a pho­to days ago. Maybe that’s a good sign, since there’s cur­rent­ly over 28,000 pho­tos. The best, in my opin­ion, are from oth­er coun­tries show­ing sup­port. Some are real­ly crafty. Some are just plain mov­ing.

Any­way, this site is all about what the inter­net is real­ly good at, despite what some might say: bring­ing the world clos­er. You might think I need a hug right now, being that I’m a tree-hug­ging, bleed­ing heart lib­er­al; but I’d much rather go out for a beer, be you from the left or the right. What d’ya say?

Jason Didn't Vote For Bush

Update 2005–3‑19:
Well, here it is. Now, feel free to leave com­ments about the fact that we’re going away to France next week. I’ve been told by a num­ber of peo­ple that if you at least try and learn a lit­tle French, most Parisians will meet you half-way and are con­sid­er­ably nicer. Well, I have been learn­ing some:

Je n’ai pas voté pour Bush. Je suis une bonne personne.

And just in case you were wondering…

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