“The first time around, many paywalls simply did not work. But times have changed. The New York Times success in transforming itself into a company that is markedly less dependent on advertising than it has been in recent years has emboldened many other publishers. The Times now makes more than 20 percent of its revenue on digital-only subscriptions, a number which has been growing quickly. In absolute terms, last quarter, the Times made $85.7 million from these digital products. The question is: Can media organizations that are not huge like the Times or The Washington Post, or business focused like Financial Times or The Wall Street Journal, create meaningful businesses from their paywalls?”
Archives for November 2017
“The lack of diversity in theatre criticism not only does a disservice to the field and the readers, but also to the playwrights and productions. Certainly such artists as Suzan-Lori Parks and Ayad Akhtar, and others artists of color whose work speaks particularly to questions of identity, deserve to have their work scrutinized by a more diverse group of critics. In the age of Hamilton fanatics in New York, Chicago, London, and beyond, audiences have proven that there is not just space but a hunger for stories by and about people of color that work to rewrite, expand, or totally replace the white canon. So where are their peers in criticism?”
“The superstar phenomenon is pervasive in the art market. My research of the last few years has documented the increasing dominance of the top end of the market. A very small number of artists, and the galleries representing them, drive the bulk of sales value, while others struggle to survive.
While this top-heavy bias has increased over the last 10 years, the superstar effect has been observed for at least a century.”
For choreographers, the postpartum pangs that follow a big triumph can summon doubts about their ability to duplicate a career’s artistic zenith. Critics sneer, ballet masters and directors stifle skeptical looks, audiences question, producers pressure and choreographers agonize about the label of “one-hit wonder.” Has he backed himself into a corner? Has she burned out on ideas? How do you bring something original to the stage without copying yourself or experimenting with disaster?
The good reader’s cultural elevation always relied on his oppositional relationship to the curiously undifferentiated mass of bad readers, who struck Nabokov—and have struck many teachers and literary scholars since—as a kind of irritating background noise; always already present and unworthy of any serious or systematic consideration.
“Works of paleoart – a genre that uses fossil evidence to reconstruct vanished worlds – directly shape the way humans imagine the distant past. It’s an easy form to define but a tricky one to work in. Paleontological accuracy is a moving target, with the posture and life appearance of fossil species constantly reshuffled by new discoveries and scientific arguments. Old ideas can linger long after researchers have moved on, while some artists’ wild speculations are proved correct decades after the fact.”
“Why was I writing? It was not for glory; I had seen what I took to be real glory. It was not for acclaim. I knew that if the book was published, it would have to be under a pseudonym; I did not want to jeopardize a career by becoming known as a writer. I had heard the derisive references to “God-Is-My-Copilot” Scott. The ethic of fighter squadrons was drink and daring; anything else was suspect. Still, I thought of myself as more than just a pilot and imagined a book that would be in every way admirable.”
BBC World Service’s In the Studio visits the California poet laureate and former NEA chairman at his hilltop retreat, where he talks about how he feels a poem coming on physically and has to walk around as he’s composing it – as well as the origin of the ballad he wrote about the death of his Mexican-American cowboy grandfather in Wyoming. (audio)
“In the UK survey of 823 artists, 55.1% say they earn between £1,000 and £5,000 net per year while 17.7% earn between £5,000 and £10,000. At the raw end, 9.3% of UK artists state their income as zero. This combined figure of 82.1% is worse than the findings of a previous survey of 1,061 artists, conducted by a-n, an artist data company, which in 2013 found that 72% of artists earned under £10,000. Of the US respondents, 75.2% make less than $10,000, with the majority (48.7%) in the $1,000 to $5,000 bracket; 5.1% in the US stated their income as nothing.”
“On Nov. 9, 2016, I boarded the Lake Shore Limited, Amtrak’s overnight service from New York to Chicago. … Over the next 13 days, I would log 8,980 miles aboard six trains, traversing 31 states, subsisting mainly on Three Cheese Tortellini with Creamy Pesto Sauce and Vegetable Medley. During this time, I had conversations with upward of 80 strangers, almost all of whom I met over meals in the dining car.”
“During a small lecture at a private residence in Delray Beach earlier this month, I watched a houseplant play music, unabashedly and beautifully. Potted and still, it was hooked up to a MIDI machine via electrodes, its bio-emissions creating twinkling melodies. Attached to the same machine, an orchid and rosemary plant played nothing, but this one was active and virtuosic, as though it enjoyed playing.” A reporter talks to a leader of the Music of the Plants project about how all this works.
“It is unsurprising that simplified English is the lingua franca of Moria prison camp and its environs, spoken between asylum-seekers from formerly-colonised states as disparate as Iraq, Uganda, Pakistan and Burma. But in the crucible of the overcrowded detention centre … English is undergoing an accelerated evolution, tentatively beginning to develop its own unique grammar and idiom.”
“A Reason To Survive, or ARTS, a nonprofit youth arts education center in National City, was close to being shuttered after its founder and CEO Matt D’Arrigo left his post in June. ‘It’s the classic tale of a founder transition,’ said D’Arrigo, who’s back at ARTS as a part-time consultant until the nonprofit is on stabler ground. ‘But it’s not fully closed, they’ve just scaled operations way back.'”
When the medieval-era shrine at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was restored last year, archaeologists found a previously unknown marble slab with a cross carved on it lying atop the limestone presumed to be the burial bed. Mortar on that marble has now been dated to the 4th-century reign of the Emperor Constantine – seemingly verifying the traditional history that he sent his mother, Helena, to find the location and have the original church built.
“All across the media world, organizations continue to grapple with ‘digital disruption.’ … Which is why the Jerome L. Greene Foundation’s $10 million gift this month to New York Public Radio (NYPR), home to WNYC and WQXR, is so interesting.” Mike Scutari looks at how this donation, along with several others from the Greene Foundation over the past decade, has funded NYPR’s “self-disruption” – that is, its transformation into a “multi-platform journalism service.”
“At the moment, secondary ticketing sites are required to tell customers whether there are restrictions on using a resold ticket, such as the need for photo identification. They must also make clear exactly where the customer will be seated in the venue and who the customer is buying the ticket from, whether an individual or a business. Due to the large amount of evidence gathered, the [Competition and Markets Authority] has now broadened the scope of its investigation.”
Before the Philharmonie de Paris opened in early 2015, many observers fretted that the mostly older, well-heeled classical music fans in the city would not travel out to a big, modernist venue on the northern edge of the city. Nearly three years later, concerts are selling better than they used to at the (older and smaller) Salle Pleyel, and the crowds are younger and more diverse.
In response to the accusation from an unnamed former co-worker, Minnesota Public Radio will cease distributing reruns of old Prairie Home Companion shows and merchandise as well as Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac; the current PHC with Chris Thile will be renamed. Keillor himself has given responses to The Star Tribune and on Facebook.
“New stats revealed this week by audiobooks.com showed how many (or few) of us get to the end of a range of audiobooks. They make tough reading for Craig Oliver, whose No 10 [Downing St] Brexit memoirs, Unleashing Demons, kept only 20% of readers rapt until the end. The oft-unfinished War and Peace retained about the same proportion through its 60-plus hours of narration (stats were not available for Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time).”
“Though Faith Syovata had almost lost her voice because of a cold, the students still hung on her every whispered word. With violins tucked under their chins, the 14-year-olds at Kawangware Primary School here had their bows at the ready as she pointed out notes for the song on the blackboard.” A reporter visits a Sistema classroom in a Nairobi slum.
“It has seemed that for the entire 2010s thus far, Facebook has been a place for composers and co. (whether to chat, laugh, share work, share opportunities, discuss musical issues, discuss politics, fight like hell) to come together. The same is true for actors, string players, academics, doctors, and bankers, to some extent, I’m assuming. But for composers, or for the several hundred spread over six continents whom I’m FBfriends with, at any rate, it has functioned as one of the relevant gathering places for those of us who couldn’t make it to the show last night. Our lot, as a rule, doesn’t congregate.”
“The [European] Court of Justice has made it quite clear: for a photograph to be protected by copyright, it must be original in the sense that the photographer has exercised creative choices and thereby stamped the photograph with their personal imprint. A photographer who merely seeks to control light and angles to create an image of a work of art is highly unlikely to have created a copyright work.”
The piece has “taken many aback with some startlingly negative reviews as well as bending-over-backward attempts to find some value in a work by a team that has given us operatic masterpieces in the past. Without question, the most highly anticipated new opera of the year — a year in which John Adams turned 70 and Peter Sellars, 60 — “Girls” has also been presented as the first opera of Trump times. The populist spirit of the 49ers, the lack of regard for the environment in pursuit of wealth, along with the rampant racism against Latinos, Chinese and black people has created the expectation of the kind of political opera that the lyric stage has historically been very adept at.”
“It was singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie who, early in 2017 at outset of the Canada 150 hoopla that offended many Indigenous people, counselled everyone to “Keep calm and decolonize.” But what exactly does that mean? After centuries of contact, can you really tease apart the threads of settler and Indigenous culture?”