Burnin’ the Place Down →

August 17th, 2012 •

A smart rant from Chris Randall over at his blog Analog Industries. In all the argument there has been over the past couple of decades about the value (monetary, of course) of recorded music, this is the smartest attitude to for an artist embrace:

As an artist, if you choose to fight this battle over monetary value, know this: you will lose. That is a foregone conclusion. In fact, you have already lost. All of that nonsense with numbers and who’s getting paid and whether life is fair or not is all inside baseball, and the average person (the one ultimately footing the bills, it must be said) couldn’t give two shits. To them, pieces of art are tied to memories and experiences; they are either trying to recapture the emotions they felt when they first experienced the art in a particular context, or trying to create new emotions to go with new contexts. They are willing to spend a certain amount of money, for altruism’s sake, if it’s convenient. (And “convenience” is something we’ll get to in a bit.) But ultimately, the art’s value to them is at a much more internalized place than the high-brain abstract world of monetary worth. 

I’ll go one step further, and say that the situation is not even worth grumbling about. In fact, it should be embraced whole-heartedly, and celebrated for the freedom gained. 

The takeaway is this:

It falls to you to be as convenient as possible to the Emily Whites of the world. Don’t treat her like a second-class citizen or a thief. She has no fucking idea what you’re going on about with this guilt trip. She just wants to hear that one song that she heard right after that thing happened. Give it to her. Make her FEEL. She’ll remember. Of that, you can be certain. 

And the resulting commandment:

Make art.
Put it in front of as many people as possible.
Engage the resulting audience.
Repeat.

It’s worth it to go read the whole thing. It a little like what Seth Godin might say if he were a musician, a potty mouth, and had a bizarre, out of proportion hatred for Cory Doctorow.

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