Another Jolt in the Paradigm Shift

Yesterday I received a check in the mail from Arts Journal, my first income from the ads over on the right side of your screen. Since 2003 I’ve now made nearly a quarter per entry for all my musings on this blog! – although, if you limit it to the last eight months that we’ve had ads (as I should), I’m really making just over $2 per entry. I’m going to call that pretty damn good for now, considering I started this without a thought of making any money at all. 

I suppose plans for making the internet yield money are slowly creeping into place. I note that it costs about $13 a month to subscribe to the Times on my new Kindle (yes, after reading Paul Krugman’s paean to the thing, I requested one for Christmas – more on that another time), and I’m told that reading the Times on Safari will eventually cost something again too. If I could duplicate my academic salary by what I make from blogging, I’d be writing these blog entries faster than you can read them, which I’m afraid I could probably do. Those who occasionally wonder how I do so much work can console themselves with the realization that my writing has a compulsive quality – it sometimes take me more effort to refrain from writing than it would take most musicians to write. (I’ve never in my life experienced writer’s block as a writer. I used to get it as a composer, but not in the last 15 years.) In any case, thanks to all those who’ve clicked on the ads, and know that your clicks are adding up.


  1. mclaren says

    Yowie zowie. The times, they are a-changin’.
    Suppose this represents just the beginning… Suppose that 20th century regressive artifact called “the CD” goes away, replaced by mp3 downloads, and composers start makin’ money offa that…
    And further suppose composers get clueful and dump the ridiculous insanely limited 3-page black-text-on-white-paper words-only liner notes limitation, and instead link to online audiovisual explanations of each compositions, with graphics and videos and alternate versions of each composition and outtakes and rehearsal versions…
    And further suppose that postclassical composers got really adventurous and decided to throw off the shackles of antique 20th-century narrow limited 1-dimensional-thinking standard composition, and in addition to a fixed final composition, they offered the audience a collection of melodies and harmonies and rhythms and timbres from the composition and then let listeners click on ’em to evolve variants and then let the audience vote on new versions of the composition which then got evolved into further variants and culled with further audiences votes, like, oh, say, this site but for sound instead of visual art.
    And suppose further that composers got seriously radical and started promoting themselves by YouTube and blogs and twitter and blew off the old top-down totalitarian power-freak commission-and-grant hierarchical deadwood structure of tradtitional postclassical “serious” music and took the power to the people and put it on the streets and made enough money that the typical postclassical composer didn’t have to crawl like a dog in front of some group of underqualified overstuffed creeps like the MacArthur genius awards committee or the Grawemeyer Prize crew, and instead could appeal directly to a niche audience segment interested in, say, totalism, or postminimalism, instead of french-kissing the bunghole of the Manhattan “serious” music oligarchy?
    And, by the way, what the fuck qualifications do the MacArthur or Grawemeyer characters have to give anyone any kind of award? Where’s the hard evidence that these bozos could find their way around a racetrack, much less exhibit the kind of perceptions bordering on the extrasensory required to discern nascent genius…?
    Suppose each new postclassical composer ran hi/r own online radio station, discussing and explaining each of hi/r compositions ne holding forth on the evolution of hi/r music and its relationship to the music of other composers, and suppose this made postclassical composers even better known and more popular?
    And suppose even further that instead of postclassical music dying, we got an explosion of new listeners and new composers because of the viscerally intense new personal interactions now possible between listeners and composers in which the online could, for example, choose new instrumentation even new tunings (courtesy of Csound or online softsynths) and interactively listen to the result of those variants of a composer’s new piece?
    Gee, that would really be something, wouldn’t it?
    How about that?
    Nahhhh, let’s keep on sawing away in the 12 narrowly limited pitches of a a 300-year-old tuning with 18th century wooden European orchestral instruments in 19th century concert halls on a tiny island offshore of America (called “Manhattan”) but only if some Bernie-Madoff-style superwealthy Manhattan financial fraudster deigns to pay the composer some pittance to to commission that composition which will be heard only once by 200 people, and then forgotten. Yeah! That’s the ticket! Forward into the past! 1850 dead ahead!

  2. arthur jarvinen says

    there’s a real easy way to make money
    charge people for what you sell, or do
    guns, drugs, music…
    you give away your music on the internet, but you can do that because you have a real job (unlike some others I can name, whose initials are ME)
    if you need to make more money, charge people for what you are providing. It’s pretty fucking simple; some would call it a “no-brainer”.
    I, personally, think that internet access should be free, or very close to it. But that doesn’t mean, by default, that content, such as music or photos or videos, should also be available free-of-charge. But you can set that up. Just make your music or playlist or scores cost a little. Jeezus, you have to pay for food. Why should you give away your produce?