Art is changing, the music business is changing. I shudder even putting the word business alongside the word music. In October 2007, Radiohead self-released their seventh studio album, In Rainbows, on a pay-what-you-want basis and it worked. Critics and certain ego-charged rock bands, Kiss and Oasis, derided them, but it turned out to be the best move the band ever made, both creatively and financially. It put trust in the hands of the fans and made them part owners in something. Another musician I am a really big fan of is Josh Garrels. Watching The Sea In Between gave the refreshing feeling that here was an artist who cared about his craft and his audience. His approach was hands-on, doing all his own recording, distribution, and even stamping his own CD covers with his wife around the kitchen table. The result was Love & War & The Sea In Between. He then released the CD for free on Noisetrade and had a tip jar for those who felt like donating, I donated with gusto—couldn't click the PayPal link fast enough, in fact. Every time I hear that album, I feel involved in it, and not just this wonderful creation but all his future creations too. My favourite website is Brain Pickings. Maria Popova, its curator, does the same thing. She is so passionate about her craft and has an option to support her or become a lifetime patron so she can bring you ad-free content. I sent her money and a Christmas card a few years ago. The below video I first saw on her site.
Amanda Palmer's The Art of Asking is one of my top three TED talks. Her interaction with her fans is about being an artist, not a celebrity. Her record breaking crowd-funding success and tweets, asking for places to stay whilst on tour, have allowed to her a rare kind of freedom in an increasingly formulated genre. Enjoy her talk.
"And the media asked, Amanda, the music business is tanking and you encourage piracy, how did you make all these people pay for music? And the real answer, I didn’t make them, I asked them. And through the very act of asking people I had connected with them. And when you connect with them, people want to help you. It’s kind of counterintuitive for a lot of artists, they don’t want to ask for things, but it’s not easy, it’s not easy to ask, and a lot of artists have a problem with this........
For most of my human history, musicians, artists, they’ve been part of the community, connectors, and openers, not untouchable stars. Celebrity is about a lot of people loving you from a distance, but the Internet and the content that we’re freely able to share on it are taking us back, it’s about a few people loving you up close, and about those people being enough......."