Required Reading

By Tim Quirk
Because it's long, and most of the good news is hidden after the jump, I just want to encourage everybody to read Nathaniel James' post, which details three other arenas (besides policy) where creators can and are expanding their rights.

Go read the whole thing. I'll wait...

OK, done? Nathaniel referenced Lawrence Lessig's model of four arenas or "modes" within which a system can be affected:

    * Architecture: the "code" or design of the system.
    * Markets: the interplay of choice and competition within a system.
    * Norms: how people act upon and within the system.
    * Law: what the government wants the system to do.

While the fourth one, Law, is mostly what we're discussing this week, we should indeed spend some time addressing how Law is reacting to or otherwise affecting those other three.

Nathaniel listed some positive examples of work being done in each of the other three modes. I'm interested to hear more, and will toss in one of my own under Markets.

In the music realm, an entire industry seems to be evolving before our eyes around direct-to-fan marketing, and I think that's profoundly positive news for artists. Topspin is one of many innovative companies in this space (disclosure: I'm a Topspin client; I mention them because I use and love them): they provide a platform and a suite of tools that enable musicians to distribute their art directly to their audience, and manage the relationship with each and every one of those fans forever afterward.

The important thing about direct-to-fan is that it's supplemental: it's not a replacement for more traditional means of reaching an audience or the businesses that already do so (labels, radio stations, online music stores ad subscription services, etc.). It's a market response to a phenomenon that has always existed but can only now be fully exploited: your music is worth different amounts to different people. All kinds of musicians have been experimenting with what that means, from Jill Sobule inviting super fans to join her in the studio to Josh Freese auctioning off playdates involving hallucinogens, to countless bands raising the money to record their next work from fans willing to pay for it before it exists.

All of them give artists greater ability than ever before to fund their own work, and therefore retain control of their copyrights.

I very much look forward to the day when "creator" and "copyright owner" actually are the synonyms too many mistake them for today. 
July 21, 2010 7:40 AM | | Comments (2) |


Thanks for the vote of confidence and keeping the thread I started open.

Thanks for creating this blog. I just found it and hope it continues to shed light on questions I have about bridging the gap between the music industry and music creators.

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