10 Ways to Think About Social Networking And The Arts (the zen of "free" as a strategy)

Power in numbers. There ought to be a simple formula to calculate it. Is it better to have a small devoted audience or a massive casual one? It depends on the scale of what you're trying to do. TV has power because it has the ability to attract millions of viewers. The New York Review of Books has power because though its audience is small, it is influential.The problem is when the scale of the … [Read more...]

A New ArtsJournal Blog

I'm very happy to announce the latest ArtsJournal blog, Creative Destruction, by orchestra conductor John Dodson. I met John last summer while I was working on a story for Symphony magazine on new ways of running orchestras. John is music director of the tiny Adrian Symphony in Adrian, Michigan, pop. 21,703. In the past seven years he's remade the orchestra with executive director Susan Hoffman … [Read more...]

The Politics Of Free – Why Giving "Stuff" Away Is An Interesting Business Model

Over at the top of the Studio 360 website on their segment about the state of arts journalism, there's a quote by me that says that the best business model right now is to give away as much "stuff" as you can. Okay, a bit inelegantly expressed, in the course of a long audio interview for the show. You can hear the full segment here: But the idea isn't new. And it's not mine. Cory Doctorow has … [Read more...]

If It Was Just About The Money We'd All Be Making Porn

A movie studio exec once told me that if it were true that Hollywood was only interested in making money, the studios would have long ago ditched what they were doing and made porn. Huge money in porn, apparently. Who knew? Much as it's easy to dismiss the moguls for chasing money, there is an aesthetic at work. And much as it's important to have an eye on the bottom line, to succeed over the long … [Read more...]

Us Against "Them" (That Anti-Expert Thing Again)

In the Weekly Standard, John Podhoretz has noted the carnage of movie critics at newspapers. He isn't weeping. Movie criticism has been a feature of American newspapers for a century, and sadly, one can count the standout critics throughout that time on maybe two hands. Many of these jobs were filled by reporters or editors who didn't get another plum assignment and were thrown a bone by a gruff … [Read more...]

Incremental Arts. Incremental Arts Journalism?

A few years ago I was hired to consult on a national radio show to develop a plan for covering the arts. I suggested that trying to cover culture in a scattershot way (one from column A, two from column B...) was an archaic approach that ought to be abandoned. Sports isn't covered like that. Politics isn't. Events don't happen in isolation. They're part of an arc of context. Why is it news that … [Read more...]

The Big Newspaper E-Reader Gamble

Several new large-format e-readers are about to go on sale. Newspaper execs are excited:These devices from Amazon and other manufacturers offer an almost irresistible proposition to newspaper and magazine industries. They would allow publishers to save millions on the cost of printing and distributing their publications, at precisely a time when their businesses are under historic levels of … [Read more...]

Is Perfection Killing Classical Music?

Not literally, of course, at least not yet. The ability to edit and fix recordings has long conditioned audiences to expect that the music we hear should be perfect. Has it changed the way performers play in live concert? The role of recordings in the music business has changed. Once, recordings were primarily a product, a way to make money. But classical music recordings haven't made significant … [Read more...]