How many True Fans do you have?

How do you make a living as an artist? In the old mass-culture model you needed a distribution and marketing engine that could fire up on your behalf to reach as many people as possible. Sell a million albums and if your take after the record company, agents and managers get their share is a buck or two, you're doing pretty well. In the new economy, how many fans do you need to make a living? If … [Read more...]

Beware the mushy middle

mush

The NYT's Charles Isherwood writes about what he calls the "odd-man-out" syndrome: This can roughly be described as the experience of attending an event at which much of the audience appears to be having a rollicking good time, while you sit in stony silence, either bored to stupefaction or itchy with irritation, miserably replaying the confluence of life circumstances that have brought you here. … [Read more...]

We're All For Technology Except When…

Nick Carr has a great post about the course of technology development. Progress doesn't always go the way we think it ought to (even if we're right).Progress may, for a time, intersect with one's own personal ideology, and during that period one will become a gung-ho technological progressivist. But that's just coincidence. In the end, progress doesn't care about ideology. Those who think of … [Read more...]

Need Your Help: Let's Make Arts Journalism Viral – UPDATES II:

UPDATE: The first blogs are beginning to sign up to stream: www.createquity.com, www.artsDC.com, http://gatheringnote www.seattledances, www.salvadorcastillo.wordpress.com. One blogger has already tried to embed the feed in Blogger and got back an error. Anyone familiar with embedding in Blogger? Leave a note in the comments at the end of this post and we'll figure it out.UPDATE II: There's a fix … [Read more...]

ArtsJournal Turns Ten Years Old

This week I gave a talk in San Francisco and I mentioned that Sunday - today - ArtsJournal is ten years old. In web terms, that makes us pretty old. Except, in the room were the editors of at least a couple of other arts sites that are older than AJ. Lori Sparrow of Voice of Dance and Patty Gessner of San Francisco Classical Voice run sites that are at least a couple of years older (also there was … [Read more...]

The Upgrades That Make You Feel Worse

I've been on a lot of airplanes recently. Flying isn't much fun, but I like being in other places. So in the process of travel I tend to see those around me as either obstacles to my getting where I need to go, or neutral (other passengers) or helpful (hopefully, airline personnel).Airlines have been having a bad year, and they've cut back flights and amenities, so traveling this summer has been … [Read more...]

Great Expectations (Except When They're Not)

Ken Brecher tells this story about Alexander Graham Bell. The inventor of the telephone apparently spent the last part of his life railing against the way people were using his invention. When greeting someone on the phone, he insisted, the proper protocol was to exclaim "ahoy!" Saying "hello" was a misuse of his work.You can't predict how people will use things, and you can't force people to use … [Read more...]

The Theatre Experience: Time for an Upgrade

The latest new-generation movie megaplex recently opened near us. It's got stadium seating, reclining extra-wide luxurious seats with cup holders in the armrests, and so much legroom you could park a Winnebago. A couple of the 14 screens in the megaplex are Imaxes that surround you with giant images and wrap you in sound. In the lobby they sell real food, the kind you might conceivably want to … [Read more...]

The Tyranny of Choice

Choice is good right? Malcom Gladwell does a great talk on how Howard Moskowitz revolutionized marketing by understanding the dynamics of choice. His example here is spaghetti sauce. Traditional marketing strategy had been to get together focus groups and ask them what they liked in a good sauce. Then groups were asked what characteristics they liked in a sauce - should it be chunky? Zesty? … [Read more...]