Indie artists, new-media journalism and DPIYes, the Internet is changing everything.
Following up on last week's post, my buddy Adrian emailed me to discuss some of the ideas in the post in more depth. He writes:
I think things are also in transition, and the piece speaks to that in a way - the 'answers' have not yet come out... the problems and opportunities in the democratization of the arts via the web. It's kind of exciting to be working at such a turning point; it's tough, but exciting to see the conversations happening, people inventing and creating ... like that indie singer/songwriter who managed to make 19k in 11 hours using Twitter, and basically just being creative. But she ended up making the money on merchandise - shirts mostly. Not selling her music. This seems to be the bottom line - the art is a promotional tool - you have to sell something which is not in endless supply (ie: an mp3). But, these can still be creative products which are an extension of your art.Is this new arts business model? Selling items that are associated with your art while giving your art away for free? Then, magically, Trent Reznor weighed in on the same topic, in entirely different conversation elsewhere in the blogosphere:
The point is this: music IS free whether you want to believe that or not. Every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away. This is a fact - it sucks as the musician BUT THAT'S THE WAY IT IS (for now). So... have the public get what they want FROM YOU instead of a torrent site and garner good will in the process...What's interesting to me is how everyone is trying to rethink traditional models of monetizing their practice in the age of the Internet... and I'm not just talking about the culture sector.
Case in point: journalism. Rebecca over at The Art of the Business points out an insightful article about the future of arts journalism today by András Szántó. He notes:
Amid the doom and gloom about arts journalism [...] innovations offer a glimmer of hope. There is no going back to the cultural and advertising dominance that newspapers once enjoyed. We should be mindful that the emerging landscape offers asymmetrical odds for art criticism (which can survive by the labour of individual writers) and arts reporting (which requires institutional firepower and protections). Writers will struggle to reclaim the access and influence they achieved with the backing of prestigious journalism brands. Even so, the faint outlines of a new system are starting to emerge.
This is a great article about the future of one sector of journalism. Everyone knows that this industry is under tremendous pressure, and a "new model" needs to be created. Although, nobody is quite sure what that model needs to be. There are various theories -- Jeff Jarvis recently wrote a book about basing all new economic models on Google's business model. In short: focus on networks rather than traditional distribution models and shift to an economy of abundance rather than one of scarcity.
An economy of abundance assumes that you can charge the least amount for a product or service by making it available to a nearly unlimited source of buyers (or users) via the World Wide Web. Very interesting theory. But... what if the access to the Web itself becomes limited?
This brings me to Deep Packet Inspection or DPI, an Internet issue garnering so much attention that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has dedicated an entire website to it.
What is it? Essentially it's technology that allows Internet Service Providers' (ISPs), or anyone else I suppose, to examine web transmissions to figure out what kind of content is being sent. Today the Big 3 Canadian ISPs (Bell, Rogers & Telus) are defending their positions to the CRTC to use DPI technology. From what I understand, they want to disuade peer-to-peer file sharing. Their arguement is that it allows a small share of users to eat up a disproportionate amount of bandwidth.
Now, privacy issues aside, why would this affect artists', or anybody else's, attempts to monetize their practice on the Web? Well, DPI technology basically allows ISPs to "throttle" users at their own discretion. In other words, if your ISP believes you are using too much Internet, they can and will slow down your connection. And, apparently they can do this even if you bought a package marketed as "unlimited" or if you are using a small indie ISP, like TekSavvy or Execulink. If you want to know more about why and other politics surrounding this issue, check out this cool, informative post on Technology, Thoughts and Trinkets.
And, if you were planning on producing a play that, say, required you to upload a large amount of data to the Web in order for a variety of users to stream the production live... well, you'd be concerned about ISPs limiting users' access to the Internet too.
On the other hand, there are ways around everything, it seems. For you hackers out there, this is a link you might find interesting...