The Oatmeal: Please Dig: the Happy, Bartering Banjo Player in Your Last Panel Is a Highly-Skilled Craftsperson With Little Shot at Practicing His Craft Professionally. Or: 100% of Zero Is Zero.
Jeez, anything that points out The Oatmeal’s (maybe unintentional?) utter terribleness is going to sound like catnip to my ears. But this post by Mike Doughty of Soul Coughing is just so epic, informed, and incisive that I think its appeal may spread beyond the Oatmeal-antagonistic. I’ve just excerpted a (relatively) small amount of it, but it’s really worth looking at. (It sort of echoes some better arguments against movie piracy while also casting a steely and skeptical eye toward web evangelist-types who definitely beat the odds, like The Oatmeal, who, good for him I guess.)
I would be really stoked if people tried to figure out a way to GO TO CONGRESS AND LEGALLY REQUIRE THEM TO COMPENSATE PEOPLE WHO WRITE SONGS AND SING THEM.
In the last panel, the happy banjo-player has eliminated the middlepeople and is being given $5 by the happy listener. That’s great! IF THE ARTIST HAS AN AUDIENCE ALREADY.
It also implies a folksy, new universe that’s pure wishful thinking. Yikes, do I have to be the guy who says that the nature of commerce isn’t going to change? You get a check, weekly, and have a 401(k). A genius young songwriter has to exist as a high-tech spare-change-seeking street musician?
Louis CK did his big explosive $5-a-pop bonanza on the heels of a VERY FAMOUS TELEVISION SHOW.
Amanda Palmer (who RT’d, and said favorable things about, my earlier postings about how new, young, innovative artists are in trouble, because they don’t get early startup money!) earned her audience through a label paying for a van, motel rooms, and money to eat while touring.
Like the above, the future is fantastic for me! I did a subscription club earlier in 2012, and it was immediately profitable.
But. My audience began with startup money to pay for a van and motel rooms, and a dude in an office paid to call up magazines and persuade them into reviewing me.
Here are some people I know who are in financial trouble:
Producers and engineers. They’ve gotta make triple the number of sessions they used to, to make the same dough. And the artist they’re recording is almost always like, “Hey! I’m doing this on my own dime, I can’t afford to pay you until a year from now, and that’s dicey, because what if this thing tanks—or I’m a clueless businessperson, and even if I make the money to pay you, it gets spent on other expenses, and you’re outta luck.”
(ps, home recording is groovy, I love it, but there really, really still is a need for people who are Jedis at the art of recording—though many fewer are needed these days)