Chris Ruen – “How a generation’s freeloading has starved creativity”

What’s very damning are the sites people go to for free stuff that benefit by selling advertising space.

A report by the Digital Citizens Alliance released earlier this year found that pirate sites took in nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in revenues in 2013, with the largest 30 sites averaging $4.4 million in ad revenues and even the smallest sites pulling in $100,000 annually, all on the backs of uncompensated artists. As these sites need not bother with licensing fees, their profit margins are estimated to range between 80 and 94 per cent.

It’s more lucrative to leach than it is to create.

Design Help From John

A profile on the guy who showed Richard D. James how to use Photoshop to make those freaky album covers.

He retired from music:

“For me, in terms of working in design, there’s almost nothing to do in the music industry. I mean, what would you really be doing? Design is of far less importance than ever. I think video still has a certain degree of importance, but what are covers now? They’re little thumbnails that pop up in Spotify. You can have a little visual language around that that matters, but not so much now. I mean, can you imagine Richard doing his portrait thing now, how striking that would be now? Where would you see it – as a thumbnail on iTunes or something?”

Bret Easton Ellis Podcast – Youth At The Movies

Check out Bret Easton Ellis podcast.

I listened to the latest episode of this with Michael Tolkin – near the end there’s a good conversation about cinema in modern day life.

Paraphrased:

BBE: That idea with the relationship you have with the content now, with the active control of the content, rather than being the person who lets it flow over you. Some people think something is lost with that. I know that my boyfriend who’s in his twenties and others at that age who tell me that they can’t go to a movie theatre to sit and watch a movie for two hours and ten minutes because they get itchy.

MT: Yeah, I think there’s something on the way that is gonna be like a melt of one of those glaciers in Antartica. Something is going to happen very quickly that’s going to swamp Hollywood. I have a twenty-two year old and a twenty-seven year old and I talk to them and their friends – they HATE the movies. They LOATHE the movies. They loathe what the movies are about. They don’t care about the movie stars.

Everybody talks about binging on Netflix. I don’t even have the patience for hour-long episodes unless something is REALLLLLLLLYYY GOOD.1

Via: Lefsetz.

…the truth is people are overwhelmed with grazing, there’s so much information, that they can only go deep in a few areas, and those in the arts just cannot fathom this.


  1. Which I don’t think Orange Is The New Black is after two episodes. “But give it a chance” you might say. But there’s already so much stuff. Also, how come all the REALLY GOOD movies aren’t on Netflix? I’m thinking of giving up my subscription because I end up just rewatching stuff I’ve seen before because I KNOW it’s good. I don’t want to waste time on anything less. If Netflix has taught me anything it’s that you need to pay more than $10 a month to see good movies. 

Artwashing

On trying to increase property values through fostering a rich, artistic community. “Rich” could mean at least two different things.

However, we need to be aware of a couple troubling trends underneath these celebrations of the transformative power of art. First, we have to ask who are they transforming an area for? And at whose direction? Because, as the excellent, if sobering, article “The Pernicious Realities of Artwashing” on CityLab.com details, too often the presence of artists is becoming a deliberately engineered move to increase the cache of a building or area, until prices rise and the artists themselves are priced out, along with the original lower income residents of an area.

“The CD Case”

Making the case for preserving music on CDs.

I don’t know – I’m beginning to think that a lot of our attraction to media is because for years we got to have a THING that represented it, namely plastic discs and dead trees. Now that those are all going away it’s much easier to lose the attachment to those works – because then it’s just some kind of art form separated from a thing that held it.

When one does things like alphabetize a record collection, like I did for years, are we really celebrating an art form or are we just obsessive about our possessions?

For years I had told myself that I liked having a physical format for music, movies, and books. But today I look around at all this stuff and think of how much space they take up and how it will be a pain to move them if/when I move. “Music is timeless,” I told myself. “Art is timeless.” If so, then how come I rarely go back to most of them? If so, then how come there are such things as albums that work better on a CD or on Vinyl?

As I get older I see that these things from my youth that I told myself were very important, that spoke to me, were merely just what was available at the time I was growing up. Musicians like to talk about how music can speak to you, about how a song can hit at a time in your life when you need it. Weezer’s Blue Album is important to me because it came out when I was in junior high and I listened to it a lot. But if I came up during a different time wouldn’t it just have been some other album? Would the Beatles have gotten as big as they did if they weren’t marketed heavily to tons of up-and-coming baby boomers?

At its best, all this media can be something that speaks to you, but it can also be a reminder of who you once were or believed you could be. At its worse, they’re just things in a box taking up space in your new life.

That Steve Jobs Statue

Macrumors reports: Statue Honoring Steve Jobs Destined for Apple Headquarters Unveiled in Belgrade

I wanted to present some of the recognizable Serbian motifs such as a letter Ш which is the last letter of the Serbian alphabet and Apple rather liked the idea. I’ve also placed the Latin letter A and binary code 0.1 too. I’ve wanted it all to represent a sort of “magnet”.

NewImage

It looks like that goddamn THING.

Thething

Technology Won’t Save Classical Music

I’ve been saving this link in Omnifocus for months trying to figure out why this idea of technology “saving” classical music bothers me so much.

So much industry tries to get off the ground by claiming that it’s about education and “the kids.” When I was in 6th grade there was a “Cable In the Classroom” campaign which claimed to bring something like “a new world of learning!” to elementary classrooms, but really it was a weekly break for teachers to catch up on whatever else they needed to do while kids watched a video.

I think it’s a similar thing with iPads and classical music. Advocates like this can fool themselves into believing that the real problem with classical music is that it needs more iPads – that there’s an app for that.

Did anyone else HATE their english classes in high school? Why? I rarely liked the books we read. They were oftentimes HUNDREDS of years old. English classes may be the place where we teach kids to HATE reading. They jokingly write on their Facebook profiles things like “Reading? HAHA!” under the “favorite books” section. Is it really a surprise that many students never pick up a book again after high school? We tried to shove “The Hobbit” down their throats in 7th grade (Yes – I HATED the Hobbit).

An eighth grader reading “Great Expectations” is probably going to be bored out of their mind whether they read it on paper or on a Kindle. I’ve read of classical music programs where they claim to lift the stuffiness of the performance by allowing their audiences to come and go as they please – as if the puny brains of today’s youth just can’t handle a symphony.

When you were in second grade, what COULD you handle? How long could you sit still? When is the right time to introduce them to classical music? Why even call it that?

Maybe it just isn’t the right time for these kids yet. That’s going to change if you let someone go to the bathroom between movements and play Angry Birds?

In the same way some kids learn to love to read by picking up the right book, some kids learn to love classical music by finding the right music – for them. It’s not really a classical music problem. It’s not a technology problem. It’s not “these kids” today. It’s a content-to-kid problem.

The Decline and Fall of the Book Cover

Looking at those old, beloved covers made me wonder: How come books for kids get to look so mysterious and tantalizing and spooky, while books for us grownups have to be so dull? Why don’t the covers of mainstream literary books make me feel that same way—almost scared to find out what’s inside?

Yeah? Where did all the illustrations go?

“How Food Replaced Art as High Culture”

Foodism has taken on the sociological characteristics of what used to be known — in the days of the rising postwar middle class, when Mortimer Adler was peddling the Great Books and Leonard Bernstein was on television — as culture. It is costly. It requires knowledge and connoisseurship, which are themselves costly to develop. It is a badge of membership in the higher classes, an ideal example of what Thorstein Veblen, the great social critic of the Gilded Age, called conspicuous consumption. It is a vehicle of status aspiration and competition, an ever-present occasion for snobbery, one-upmanship and social aggression.

Growing The Jazz Audience

Leave it to jazz musicians to think the problem with jazz is the audience and not the art form.

When we ask “How do we develop and maintain a strong jazz audience?” what we are really saying is “How can we convince millions of people to alter and expand their aesthetic sensibilities and their cultural proclivities so that they include jazz to such an extent that they will regularly attend concerts and purchase recordings?” And that statement itself is embedded within another Herculean task: “How can we convince people to embrace music that is no longer part of the popular culture?”

Related: it drives me nuts when I read some conductor say that the way to bring in younger people to classical music concerts is to allow them to leave and enter the auditorium freely during performances. Really? The problem is that these young people need to stretch their legs and wander a few times during the evening?

“I Don’t ‘Get’ Art” by Glen Coco

There. I said it. I went to art school, wrote a dissertation called “The Elevation of Art Through Commerce: An Analysis of Charles Saatchi’s Approach to the Machinery of Art Production Using Pierre Bourdieu’s Theories of Distinction,” have attended art openings at least once a month for the last five years, even fucking purchased pieces of it, but the other night, after attending the opening of the new Tracey Emin retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, I’m finally ready to admit I do not and probably have not ever “gotten” art.