1. What A Difference A Day Makes!
In case you're on a mobile phone or don't have the patience to click through to the Internet, this is a chart showing the switch in position by Congressmen after yesterday's web blackout. On January 18th SOPA/PIPA had 80 supporters and 31 opponents. On January 19 SOPA had 65 supporters and 101 opponents.
I applaud the result, but this tells me two things:
A. Congressmen are woefully uninformed.
B. Congressmen are susceptible to both the money and the people, in reverse order.
2. Neil Gaiman On Copyright
Nobody's got any time anymore so I don't expect you to watch this four plus minute clip wherein author Gaiman talks about his head being turned around by seeing the benefits of the pirating of his books.
But Neil does say one thing incredibly fascinating. At his live appearances he asks, by a show of hands, how many people discovered their favorite author by being lent a book as opposed to going into a store and buying it. He finds 90-95% find out about something via lending from a friend. This has huge implications for music. Once upon a time, you had to wait to hear a record on the radio. Now it's on demand. And sure, in the old days, your friends could play you something and often did, but I found few friends with tastes as far-ranging as mine. I didn't buy albums on a whim, I angsted about my purchases, I only had so much money.
The problem is once everything's freely available to be experienced the game changes. Instead of being dictated to by major corporations, only that with quality survives. This is the worst nightmare of both the corporations and the established artists. It's truly what have you done for me lately. You've got to keep releasing fantastic work to garner listening/attention, because everyone finds out via web chatter what's good and bad instantly.
3. Duff McKagan on SOPA
What I hate about America is everybody feels entitled to what they've got, their job is sacrosanct, they cannot move down the food chain. There's little compassion for the little guy, everybody's driven by self-interest.
So, let's see.
We've got to eliminate Orbitz, et al, to put the travel agents back in business.
We've got to eliminate printers so print shops can flourish.
Hell, while we're at it, let's just eliminate computers so typewriters can come back!
Change is hard. But anybody who resists it is stuck in amber and will be passed by. The ability for everybody to hear everything, as per #1 above, has resulted in a decline in recorded music revenues. But suddenly, every band can know exactly who their audience members are and sell them merch and special productions via Topspin, et al. And newbie and indie acts can raise money for recording via Kickstarter. And stunningly, they own the resulting record and don't even have to worry about recouping, never mind at these ridiculous royalty rates major labels employ.
Furthermore, as stated previously, I believe streaming subscriptions will become ubiquitous, the same way people signed up for ISPs and then broadband. So, people will pay for music. And isn't it interesting that cable companies changed their business model to becoming Internet providers and cell phone companies started selling data when voice matured and started to flame out.
Adjust or die.
I could go on endlessly cataloging the pluses that accompany the minuses of the destruction of the old model. But I won't convince either the ignorant or those defending their old, now threatened position. But I advise all those people to just wait. No one is in control, not the music business, not radio, not the government.
You see America is a great country, and it inspires innovation. And that innovation creates new models that are embraced by the public to the ultimate advantage of businessmen and artists. But the winners and losers might exchange positions and the money might be made a different way.
The public decides. Which is why you should always be on their side.
4. Not every artist is on the wrong side:
Let's see, you've got Amanda Palmer and Trent Reznor and Hank Shocklee, producer of Public Enemy. What do we know about these three musical acts? They have rabid fan bases who support them. These visionaries are hip to the new game, which is really just a twist on the old one. I guess you've got to dip your toe in the new world and see its advantages before you sign your name. That's unfortunate, that too many artists are unwilling to see that their customers are their fans, not radio and retail, and that the future is scary, but oh so rewarding.