Thursday, March 08, 2007

Today, tragedy and truth.

Compounding the absolute tragedy of a fairly rural county, even one with a university within its borders, losing its entire public library system is the fact that on a personal level, this county is the one Trevor and I were numero uno shortlisting for relocation after he gets his LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCES DEGREE. Goo times infinity.

So, as I loathe to dwell on tragedy, on to truth: the speech by Courtney Love on the crooks that are major label record companies is old, but I was just made aware of its existence courtesy of Bil.

While I am totally on board with her on record companies, contracts, and, relatedly, the ulterior motives behind the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, many of you who read this blog also know that I am fierce about the reality of artist flexibility in the 21st century, artist/fan connections in the internet age, and how much that bond is important to the survival of quality music. This is what speaks to me most in her speech:

I live on tips. Occasionally, I'm going to get stiffed, but that's OK. If I work hard and I'm doing good work, I believe that the people who enjoy it are going to want to come directly to me and get my music because it sounds better, since it's mastered and packaged by me personally. I'm providing an honest, real experience. Period.


I'm looking for people to help connect me to more fans, because I believe fans will leave a tip based on the enjoyment and service I provide. I'm not scared of them getting a preview. It really is going to be a global village where a billion people have access to one artist and a billion people can leave a tip if they want to.

Amen sister. Artists who fully engage with their work and don't compromise their vision make good records. If those artists who engage with their work in this way then fully engage with their fans, they cultivate loyal fans of their good work. These fans, who, yes, have the option to download a song for free in 15 seconds, will also want to support the artist. These fans will leave a tip, encourage others to do so as well, and respect the artist as a human being. That is the responsibility of fans on the two-way street called musical appreciation.

This is why I love bands like The Decemberists, and artists like Trent Reznor, Neko Case, and, hola and surprise, David to the frikken J. The first band to release a video for download on BitTorrent, The Decemberists continue to give their fans perks and incentives to buy their incredible music. Leaking their singles from their last album, offering free mp3s of an album with a vinyl album purchase, and making kickball dates with their registered forum fans on stops on their US tour -- that is flexibility and creativity, and lasting connections that people respect. Neko Case continues to walk the walk with the homegrown DIY music tip, and I can tell you I've never met someone more honest and real and dedicated to her fanbase who also creates such astonishing music. I hear Trent Reznor offers his fans reasonable membership rates to a fan club that allows for presale ticketing, early entry to shows, and meet and greets where he does anything from previewing songs for fans to buying pizza for them and taking time to meet and shake hands with every single person who attends. Class.

And David J. Everyone knows I'm a fangirl so I'm biased, but the truth is he works like hell and hustles his beautiful and diverse work like nobody's business. Free previews and downloads of his songs are available on his MySpace and on his meticulously maintained website, and anything I've ever ordered from him comes with a little something extra or a personal note. He actively pursues varied projects, keeps his fans in the loop with unique personal anecdotes, and he takes time out to talk to fans at shows. I know, all this and he gives great backrubs, kisses babies, and performs exorcisms too. ;)

NP: Aoki Takamasa and Tujiko Noriko's 28. Ahhhhhh.

Oops, last thing -- more reasons to love Cali.

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Blogger stardust_savant said...

Wow, I cannot believe that an entire public library system is shutting down! I could never live in a place without a public library. At least once a week I make a trip by the library for a book or a movie and have been doing so since I was in middle school. If my county closed the libraries, I would move. How very very sad.

March 9, 2007 at 8:54:00 PM PST  

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