Are Corporations back to funding creative endeavors?

Looking to a Sneaker for a Band’s Big Break

A shoe company giving away studio time might seem peculiar. But with its new project, Converse — whose sneakers have been worn by generations of bands, from the Ramones to the Strokes — wants to become a patron of the rock arts. The company is not alone: lifestyle brands are becoming the new record labels.

This is remarkably like the sort of patronage a King, Lord or Knight would make of an artist in return for the artist creating the art for the patron’s benefit.

Not long ago most youth-minded brands’ pop strategies were limited to tour sponsorships and licensing songs for TV commercials. Now they compete to offer bands the kind of services once strictly the province of record companies: money for video shoots, marketing, even distribution. Red Bull and Mountain Dew have record labels with credible rosters. Levi’sConverseDr. Martens,ScionNike and Bacardi have all sponsored music by the kind of under-the-radar artists covered in Pitchfork and The Village Voice, and they blitz the blogosphere with promotional budgets fatter than most labels could muster.

Overall, I see this as another positive step in the direction of financing independent production. One sponsor is less intrusive than many advertisers and it’s a better deal for both audience and advertiser.

These deals certainly seem to be better for artists than traditional record labels who now want “360 degree” deals where they get a cut on every dollar earned by an artist:

Major labels’ 360 deals, he said, are “way more of a sell-out than doing a collaboration with a brand where you have full creative control and you give free content to your fans.” (Many artists on Atlantic have extended-rights contracts, but a spokeswoman said Chromeo does not.)”

Fallacy Debunking: Successful New Business Models are ‘Exceptions’

Fallacy Debunking: Successful New Business Model Examples The ‘Exception’

So often I’ve heard that new business models for music, game creation and other creative endeavors are all exceptions because the majority of money is still being made by the record labels and the successes of the new business models are not typical of the “average musician”.

Except, when you consider it carefully, so few artists ever made money from their Record Contract, that the few successes were indeed the exceptions.

Less than 10% of signed artists recoup. Take Maximo Park for example. They have by their own admission never made a penny from record sales and make their money from DJ sets in the main. An example I have first hand knowledge of, Embrace, have sold millions of albums, they were a genuinely massive band; they performed from Glastonbury main-stage to Top Of The Pops and everywhere in-between. When they split from Virgin, they owed their label three quarters of a million pounds. I guess my point is that if we promote the Trad Music Biz’s model as “The model” then the message we’d be sending is:

  • less than one percent of musical artists are part of the music business
  • only a tenth of those will recoup and make money from their record sales, and that’s good
  • an artist should be saddled with debt, the rate at which they pay that back is equivalent to a credit card with a 900% interest rate

When A Humor Site Understands the Implications of Abundance better than the “Experts”.

When A Humor Site Understands The Implications Of Abundance Better Than The ‘Experts’…

Here’s the bottom line: you can only sell scarcity. Digital files are abundant: they can be replicated indefinitely at minimal to no cost. Yes, various attempts at creating a Forced ARTificial Scarcity or FARTS, but they only ever succeed short term.

The key point, raised at the beginning of the article, which is the point we’ve been trying (and most likely, failing) to make for years, is that this isn’t just about music and movies. Issues of abundance where there used to be scarcity is going to impact all sorts of industries, even beyond what many people expect.

If you are interested in how the next generation of creative endeavors will be funded both the Techdirt article and the original piece at  – 5 Reasons The Future Will Be Ruled By B.S. – are absolutely essential reading.

Jim Jannard asks “What is professional to you?”

Jim Jannard asks “What is professional to you”

The minimum definition of “being professional” would mean “Getting paid to provide a service someone will pay for.” but there’s more too it than that. I think being professional involves an attitude to the work and an attitude toward your fellow creatives of respect and being able to do your job and do it well among those people.

But how does that translate when we’re talking about “professional gear?”