Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Amanda Palmer says something important which I cannot find fault with. Go, read her blog.
Back so soon?
OK. So my position is that I'm not a consumer. Consumers are what corporations wish we were - passive, dull, happy to accept the next thing on the production line. This attitude has got them into trouble, because while the customers were changing the suppliers were not and all of a sudden it turns out that maybe we've been giving the wrong people the money.
In times past, a good artist could find themselves a rich person to glom onto. Said rich person wanted to be seen to be wealthy and what better way of demonstrating your ridiculous levels of disposable wealth than by supporting an artist? These people were referred to as Patrons. "Oh," they would say "he/she is such a patron of the arts!" and they would fan themselves. Or something.
The point is, we're actually all in a position to be able to do that. To an extent. I'd like nothing more than to be able to amble up to...ooo.. Charles Stross and say "What ho, Charles, here's thirty large. Sequester yourself away in yon drafty garret and turn out another of your excellent scientific romances."
I can't, much to my (and Charles Stross's) disappointment. What I can do, and what Amanda Palmer is suggesting I do, is give money directly to the artist. It's a world idea, really. Instead of saying "I do like the latest song, Ms Palmer, and have bought your CD! Here, enjoy this fraction of what I gave a record company" I can just hand her the entire five, ten, twenty bucks...or perhaps a smaller amount for just the one song as a download.
Why do I like this? Two reasons.
1: I don't like supporting the maniacs who currently run the music, movie and games industries*. I don't like giving Those People money because they think I'm a criminal scuzzbucket moron who they're happy to treat like dirt that they own. This is a misconception I wish to clear up. So if I can circumvent them, I will.
2: Enlightened Self Interest. This year it has become very obvious that writing is what I enjoy most. I want to be able to stop doing awful jobs and become a writer. If I can do that by producing things people like and might actually pay me to own/read etc, then what I want to do is make it really easy for them to support me.
So how about it? I think she's right. Does anyone disagree?
*I will support publishing because I'm addicted to books, I can't help myself. The other day I was shopping for a power adapter and accidentally bought a book at the same time. I'm a reader, I'm hopelessly hooked. I have a Kindle 2, 300 books on that (give or take) and it's just not enough! God help me if I ever own a house again.