For decades, self-publishing was derided as an embarrassing sign that an author couldn’t cut it in the “real” publishing industry—“the literary world’s version of masturbation,” as Salon once put it. And Amazon, the world’s biggest e-commerce site, with its bookstore-beating prices, was painted as an enemy to authors. But now its self-publishing service, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), has made it easy for people to upload their books, send them out into the universe, and make money doing so. Its store has created a place for readers to go and easily find inexpensive self-published books. The site that got its start by radically changing where books are sold is now reshaping how books are published and read.
Elsevier last week stopped thousands of scientists in Germany from reading its recent journal articles, as a row escalates over the cost of a nationwide open-access agreement. Negotiators in Germany and Sweden want all their papers published in Elsevier journals to be open access as part of any new contracts. They have said that they will not pay more than they did previously for subscriptions. But, until now, the Dutch publisher has offered other countries read-and-publish deals that cover only a small proportion of a country’s publishing output.
According to a report from Britain’s Publishers Association using data from the industry group UK Theatre, “in 2016, adaptations took, on average, three-and-a-half times more at the box office and sold 4.8 times as many tickets as original productions. … A family musical based on a film attracts more than six times the revenue of an original show. Page-to-stage adaptations were also more successful than original productions, particularly when analysing plays.”
“A new and less intimidating entrance has helped the [Victoria and Albert Museum] achieve record visitor numbers, bucking a trend of sharp falls across the UK’s museums and galleries. The museum said more than 4.4 million people visited the V&A and its London satellites, Blythe House and the Museum of Childhood.”
“In exchange for free tickets to [the Cirque show] O and an upgrade to one of the VIP suites, [60 volunteers] agreed to be poked and prodded, and have their brain activity observed during a performance. Twice each night for five nights, Lab of Misfits techs” – yes, that’s the name of the neuroscience research firm – “wired six of us up with the headgear, and … they gave us iPads that prompted us throughout the show to answer questions about just how much awe and wonder we were feeling at that exact moment.”
“We have students presenting their own material, and you’ll see a poem about Phillis Wheatley by a 17-year-old student, and you’ll see a song from Abigail Adams’s perspective. Neither of them are characters in our story, but for some reason they spark for those students. And that’s my hope, that this is just an ignition for something much larger. As a mediocre history major and the brother of a sixth-grade teacher, nothing would make me happier.”
Whatever the answer to this question, the phenomenon is rife. Children are unlikely to appreciate a sip of beer. Yet a decade later they may relish the evening’s first pint. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, they have acquired the beer-taste. Taste acquisition does not stop at beer and blizzards: consider coffee and classical music, olives and oysters.
Today’s comics sell one-tenth the numbers Marvel expected in the 1960s and 1970s glory days when comic books were cheaper than candy bars and just as easy to find at the nation’s newsstands, corner markets and drugstores. Now, a new comic book costs $4-$6 and the only shelves they reach are at the 2,500 comic book specialty shops doing business in the U.S. and Canada — and even that number is in decline as stores
The Kimmel had considered installing cup holders as part of the new-seating project, a feature which, presumably, would have encouraged beverage consumption — not to mention boosted concession sales figures — at Broadway shows. But after much discussion, that aspect of the new seat design was nixed. Cup holders would have cost more money, a Kimmel spokeswoman said, and since Opera Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Ballet were not interested in having cup holders (they don’t allow drinks in performances), the orchestra and Kimmel decided to apply that money to other aspects of the project.
“Most UK theatres are run by people with the title of ‘artistic director’. But many taking over a building for the first time, even if they are not doing the job of chief executive as well, very quickly understand that being artistic is only one part of the job. … Lyn Gardner talks to those in the know and finds they all agree the overall experience of an audience is as important as the plays they stage.”
“Television is dead. And television will not be reborn. It will not come back. What has surfaced instead is the digital platform of entertainment. Cinema will come back with different meaning.” The digital platform to which Refn seems to be referring in particular is his own byNWR.com, which he calls an unadulterated cultural expressway for the arts. It’s there to inspire the youth!”
Just as industrialization and digital media changed the work of being a musician, they changed experiences and opportunities for audiences. While musicians dealt with the challenges of building and maintaining careers in the face of the new realities of their field, audiences developed new histories of participating with one another on their own terms. Now, even as musicians struggle to find their ways in an internet-mediated music world, audiences flourish.
It’s a nurturing, highly interactive community where its core 13- to 35-year-old readership spends around 20 billion combined minutes per month consuming and critiquing user-generated stories, in genres such as sci-fi, young-adult fiction, poetry, and horror, but also fanciful fanfic with titles like 50 Shades of Drake and Harry Styles Dirty Imagines. For Hollywood development executives, however, Wattpad has come to serve an altogether different purpose. Since launching its dedicated entertainment division Wattpad Studios two years ago, the self-publishing platform has evolved into a one-stop shop for fresh IP: an influential incubator for original storytelling with a decidedly Gen Y bent.
It took centuries for the public sphere to develop—and the technology companies have eviscerated it in a flash. By radically remaking the advertising business and commandeering news distribution, Google and Facebook have damaged the economics of journalism. Amazon has thrashed the bookselling business in the U.S. They have shredded old ideas about intellectual property—which had provided the economic and philosophical basis for authorship. The old, enfeebled institutions of the public sphere have grown dependent on the big technology companies for financial survival. And with this dependence, the values of big tech have become the values of the public sphere.
My Fair Lady and Carousel were both revived with careful and lush attention to their music, but they were nominated for few Tonys, and both lost Best Musical Revival to the comparatively little-known Once on This Island. “The beautiful orchestra readings alone make a trip to each revival essential for anyone who can afford a ticket — it’s hard to imagine Carousel, in particular, sounding so good again.
During a performance of Swan Lake, “The curtain came down. The orchestra stopped. The house lights came up. There was no announcement. Most people were on their feet, and many started heading for the doors. We debated what to do. We scanned the crowds below, trying to make sense of what we were seeing. In the balcony, we were acutely aware of how high up our seats were and how many people were in the building. Our hearts were pounding. We did not see a threat, but people were reacting as though something were very wrong.”
“Industry groups hailed the new law, which comes amid a wider effort to crack down on secondary ticketing, where touts use websites such as StubHub and Viagogo to resell seats at in-demand events for vast mark-ups. But a leading security and ticketing expert warned that the most prolific touts would still be able to get their hands on tickets using tried-and-tested methods.”
With the spread of virtual-assistant and smart-speaker technologies – one out of every five U.S. homes with wi-fi has Alexa or an equivalent – both the national NPR network and Seattle public radio station KUOW are experimenting with ways to let listeners donate with a simple voice command.