I once was lost...
R.I.P. Mark Lavon "Levon" Helm (May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012)
Some talk of the next couple of weeks in my life which either evolve (or devolve) into a ramble about artistic choices in the inclusion (or exclusion) of what is (or what is not) there.
"A moment of inspiration will far surpass spending six years on something." - Tom Waits
On the process, expectation, realization and fate of epic art.
As a follow-up to my recent post on a response, my reply to a comment made on a statement I made on the copyright.econsultation.ca website about a week ago, I present the next response from someone else who misread my original post and my subsequent reply. All comments are presented unedited.
Her reply after reading my original post, the first commenter, and my reply back (all of which can be read by clicking the above link):
not really- I don't think contentcreator misconstrued. that's how I read it too. if we've misconstrued, by all means, clarify.
and if you think that the 'marketing' as it pertains to artists at the levels where this issue really matters - the ones who have to figure out 'how the F*&k do i try to make enough money to put music out- record a record, pay the studio & musicians and press the thing... even gas to get to the next gig- is separate from the music, then it would make sense as to why you think most musicians are no better than your neighbor or cousin- because you have spent very little time or energy considering your premise.
Insulting, and ignorant, in the classic sense of the word. the artists who are not already established (read- backed by corporate $$), do their own marketing and it's 75% of the work. Which is why your neighbor or cousin- whose talents you so dearly admire- aren't doing it. It takes a passion and dedication that defies logic.... and money, for god's sake.
yeah, sure, art has always existed- but art always had it's patrons who helped finance the artist while they created. The wealthy gave money to artists (as opposed to making money off of artists) because it was the honorable, ethical thing to do and because if they didn't they'd appear crass and cheap.
even touring in Europe you find more generosity towards the artist- for example, after finding out you are a musician, they don't immediately ask you what your day job is. North America has cheapened it.
You're right though- art was always available to the masses- for free. but there were mechanisms in place to allow that to happen.
look at radio. free. but there are mechanisms that are respected and hold broadcasters accountable. If someone is making money off of art and that money is bypassing the artist, that's the only issue I see mattering.
it's just, who? the recordable media producers? the internet service providers? the advertisers who do their advertising because free content draws hits to the sites?
we send people to space, I'm sure there's a way to figure it out.
regardless, the rights of the creator has to be acknowledged- things are changing and writers and creators of all disciplines need to be protected.
man. how the hell do you expect us to eat? marketing is not worth that much to you... worth what?! what have you paid?
personally I think there are a lot of people making money off of 'free' content before it ever gets to the user and they are the ones who should pay... but before you start talking about 'entitlement' consider what you are saying you're entitled to... free access to art at the cost of the artist.
My reply back to her...
My original comment was misconstrued in the sense that the point was about the presumption that copyrighted/industry music was being presented as the hallmark or Canadian culture. The secondary assertion was that art will always exist (even without monetization), and that to imply "professional" artists are necessarily better (or produce better work) than the "amateur" up the street is arrogant.
From those ideas, the first commenter implied that I was somehow all for stealing copyrighted work, that I was implying he should get ripped off, and that I said it was "easy to make a living writing or singing". I never said ANY of those things. That the original commenter and yourself are bringing those suppositions to argument is at once, telling, and, I suppose, not unexpected considering the venue.
I spent years playing in various bands across Ontario for little to no money and never would imply that the effort or drive in monetizing artistic talent is anything less than exasperating. It's the reason I chose to not do it for a living. But don't, for a second, try and make a logic leap that by not choosing to monetize my music anymore, I'm somehow less passionate or talented than anyone else. Not having a passion for business does not preclude abandoning passion for the art.
Choosing to spend money on recording, promoting, and touring is an investment you're making in a life YOU choose to follow. You're banking on your ability to sell your talent like a commodity and are taking the same risks as someone who pours money into research for an invention or buys a stock. You're letting the consumer market decide your monetary reward. And while I hope that you make millions, if no one wants to listen, your bottom line will be less impacted by copyright thieves than your ability to market yourself. Your music may be brilliant. And while you have a right to sell and buy your product as demand dictates, and protect your copyright to boot, you have NO right to expect to make a living from it and NO recourse if you're just simply decades ahead of your time or increasingly derivative and mundane.
With regard to your historical diatribe about patronage and "free art for the masses." Let me first preface by repeating (again) "I NEVER SAID I WANTED TO PIRATE COPYRIGHTED MUSIC OR TAKE MONEY FROM YOU!" Secondly, I'm thinking that the key divide between my original post and your interpretation is with regard to contending definitions of art. Art doesn't have to be "free to the masses" for it be art. Further, art can be locked up in a room for a hundred years and never see the light of day while still being art. The intrinsic value of art, for me, does not rely on the number of consumers ingesting it. While I understand that the entire mechanism around "The Arts" as a monetization industry does revolve around this concept, and that to monetize art does depend on consumers, I have no problem with Nickelback and Avril Lavigne making tens of millions of dollars around the world and in Canada. Can't stand the music, but I don't begrudge them making money nor do I plan on ever asking for it to be free.
Next, in considering a couple of your assertions...
Radio is NOT free or it would not exist as mass media. That I give up 10-20 minutes per hour listening to ads is perhaps the most expensive use of my time and the main reason I don't listen to most commercial radio. By the way, someone IS making money off of art that is bypassing the artist: The Record Companies - usually from 90-99% of it!
Where do I get free access to art? Not television, radio, or websites. Contending with ad-based promotion is not free for me. That a hundred thousand musicians choose to put their music up on MySpace and allow Rupert Murdoch to reap the benefits is not my fault or choice. If you can get money from him, be my guest, or take your music down from his site. If a musician puts music on MySpace it's for one of two reasons: 1) to share it without expectation, or 2) to use the service as a promotional tool - that's called a commercial and there's an expectation that goes along with it.
I'm curious to know what you consider to be the "rights of the creator" and what "protections" you expect (considering that's what these deliberations are truly about anyway). This discussion would be entirely ancillary to the current one however, as I never questioned creator's rights in my original post.
I have spent plenty of time considering the premises of my original post. Unfortunately you have either categorically disagreed (which is your right) or simply not taken the time to understand it. I'll simplify:
1) Art exists without money.
2) Everyone has artistic abilities to varying degrees.
3) To claim that monetized art, alone, is the core of our culture is at once shocking and repugnant. Marketing should not dictate culture.
Those were the ONLY key ideas from the original post. If you reread it without the hyperbole of the first commenter, you might be able to parse said meanings yourself.
Lastly, while I certainly engaged in a couple of exaggerated metaphors in my original post, I never had the gall to call anyone "ignorant" simply because they disagreed with me. If you note a sense of distaste in the above reply, it is returned in kind. You don't know me anywhere near well enough to call me ignorant, and you surely haven't formed a cogent argument behind your symbolized invectives and personal hard luck appeals to sway me from my aforementioned beliefs.
Having the first few minutes at home, in front of my desktop, since attending the Copyright Town Hall Inc. Lobbying Mixer this past Thursday at the palatial Royal York Hotel in Toronto's Financial District, I have decided to construct a blog post/submission to the copyright website all in one. And far be it from me to do anything normally, I thought I would use my words to poke some holes in the common myths that revolve around relaxed copyright legislation.
- You're not an artist, but a craftsperson doing nothing more creative than an assembly line worker cranking out product for money, thus, when the money dries up, so does your "ability".
- You actually believe that someone OWES you a living for doing something you proclaim to LOVE doing. I have written music, plays, essays, articles, poetry for all of my adult life because I enjoy creating. Let me repeat that - I ENJOY CREATING! I wish I could make as much money writing and playing music as I do in my day job, but I've accepted reality and not stopped creating. And before you think you're better than me at writing or music just because your output is marketable to the mainstream, and a suit wants to rake 98% of your money, get your head out of your ass.
To some, Ezra Pound was a crazy mofo. To others, he was a crazy mofo genius.
His ability to paint images with words is often hit and miss for me, but generally the hits are illuminating and the misses are because he's written 100 cantos in cunieform.
How many writers can claim such a biological paragraph as framework for their writings:
"After the war, Pound was brought back to the United States to face charges of treason. The charges covered only his activities during the time when the Kingdom of Italy was officially at war with the United States, i.e., the time before the Allies captured Rome and Mussolini fled to the North. Pound was not prosecuted for his activities on behalf of Mussolini's Saló Republic, evidently because the Republic's existence was never formally recognized by the United States. He was found incompetent to face trial by a special federal jury and sent to St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he remained for 12 years from 1946 to 1958. His insanity plea is still a matter of controversy, since in retrospect his activities and his writings during the war years do appear to be those of a sane person." - via wikipedia.org
With this brief context in mind, (and I encourage you explore his writings and life more) I provide some of my favorite thoughts of Pound.
"And New York is the most beautiful city in the world? It is not far from it. No urban night is like the night there... Squares after squares of flame, set up and cut into the aether. Here is our poetry, for we have pulled down the stars to our will."
"Genius... is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees one."
"I have never known anyone worth a damn who wasn't irascible." "I have always thought the suicide should bump off at least one swine before taking off for parts unknown." "The modern artist must live by craft and violence. His gods are violent gods. Those artists, so called, whose work does not show this strife, are uninteresting." "The real trouble with war (modern war) is that it gives no one a chance to kill the right people." "Religion, oh, just another of those numerous failures resulting from an attempt to popularize art." "Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance... poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music." "The image is more than an idea. It is a vortex or cluster of fused ideas and is endowed with energy." The Encounter All the while they were talking the new morality Salutation O generation of the thoroughly smug
Her eyes explored me.
And when I rose to go
Her fingers were like the tissue
Of a Japanese paper napkin.
and thoroughly uncomfortable,
I have seen fishermen picnicking in the sun,
I have seen them with untidy families,
I have seen their smiles full of teeth
and heard ungainly laughter.
And I am happier than you are,
And they were happier than I am;
And the fish swim in the lake
and do not even own clothing.
"I have never known anyone worth a damn who wasn't irascible."
"I have always thought the suicide should bump off at least one swine before taking off for parts unknown."
"The modern artist must live by craft and violence. His gods are violent gods. Those artists, so called, whose work does not show this strife, are uninteresting."
"The real trouble with war (modern war) is that it gives no one a chance to kill the right people."
"Religion, oh, just another of those numerous failures resulting from an attempt to popularize art."
"Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the dance... poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music."
"The image is more than an idea. It is a vortex or cluster of fused ideas and is endowed with energy."
All the while they were talking the new morality
O generation of the thoroughly smug