Steve Lawson on books, music, communication and sharing

A somewhat rambling and poorly recorded talk, nevertheless well worth watching and listening to what Steve Lawson has to say.

A book is a book. A Kindle is not a book.

We can share a book, we cannot share a Kindle, we even have difficulty (or at least it is made difficult) to share the contents of a Kindle.

Nothing is as good at being a book as a book is

We like to share books. We give them away, we lend them to friends, we donate them to charity shops.

Monday 23 April 2012 is St George’s Day. Monday night is World Book Night. A million books, 25 titles, are to be given away.

We take book sharing as part of our book reading culture. We even established institutions to encouraging book sharing enacted legislation, they are called libraries.

If book sharing is an accepted part of our cultural life, why is such a fuss made of music sharing, or at least a fuss is made by corporate music companies and the lobbyists who whore for them?

Last Friday I was at a concert by The Sixteen at Croydon Minster. I would love to be able to share the music I heard, but I cannot, as The Sixteen have not made it available for sharing. It is not as though The Sixteen do not wish to share their music, that is why they are embarking on a Choral Pilgrimage, but not everyone has the privilege to attend one of the cathedrals where they are playing.

The Sixteen – Croydon Minster – Choral Pilgrimage 2012

That is why I love bandcamp. It makes sharing easy, it makes it possible to listen on-line, and if you wish to buy some music you can do so with the assurance that the money you pay goes straight into the pocket of the musicians, not to enrich a greedy global corporation.

It is through bandcamp that I came across two excellent albums 11 Reasons Why 3 is Greater than Everything and Believe in Peace by Steve Lawson. I then found he had an excellent blog. It is through Steve Lawson I came across Lobelia and her excellent album Beautifully Undone.

I have had a presence on the web for well over a decade. A long time ago. At the time I did not even have an e-mail address. There were few of us there in those days.

It is a long time since I looked at the site, but visitors to the site were averaging around 300 a week. Only visits to index pages are being counted, not to individual pages, thus the real count could be ten times, a hundreds time, maybe more.

For the last few years I have had a blog and been on twitter.

Visits to the blog, and these are unique visits (you are only counted once no matter how many times you visit), were running at 100-200 a day. That was before I visited Bassano del Grappa last month, since then it has been running at 200-300 a month. There are also periodic spikes, the count then slowly drops over the next few days, settling at a usually higher level than before.

The story of the Japanese girl whose dream came true hit over a thousand in a few days.

A Japanese girl’s dream come true

Last week St Cuthbert’s Bible proved very popular. So far almost a thousand visits.

Few people make effective use of social networking which is why the good examples stand out.

Social networking is not broadcast.

  • broadcast one to many
  • network many to many
  • social interaction

And therein lies the clue, interaction.

The number of followers is a very crude measure, and the measure it is logarithmic not linear. That is if the number goes up ten fold, the measure goes up by one point. Steve Lawson has roughly double the number of followers of The Sixteen, thus one point ahead.

Do people respond to what you tweet, do they re-tweet?

If you read something worth reading, then do the courtesy of tweeting to your followers. Maybe one day they will return the courtesy (though most lack etiquette to do so).

Tweetlevel gives a rough idea of twitter influence, but should not be taken too seriously, and certainly do not tweet, never tweet, to effect a metric.

Different sites should link to and interact with each other.

Tweet a link for the article on a blog. Facebook is a walled garden, construct tunnels through the wall. If you have an album of photos of the latest gig, a link to where you wrote about it on your blog, links from individual photos to twitpic, a link from twitter to the album.

I came across this video of Steve Lawson giving a talk via a link on twitter.

Comments are responded to, unless diatribe, then deleted. But NEVER respond to trolls. Ignore, and block as spam.

Search on google

  • Montegrappa The Alchemist

and note occupancy of most of the Top Ten places.

MySpace, I am at a loss why anyone is on MySpace, except as a legacy from days gone by. Masochistic behaviour to put music on MySpace but not on bandcamp. I can only assume you want no one to listen to it.

Writers write to be read, musicians play to be heard.

Unless we share, how do we find new books, new music?

The big global corporations are collapsing because they are not needed any more. The only people who do not seem to have woken up to this are the mainstream media who keep running the same old tired stories about piracy destroying the music business, as though stuck in a groove on an old 78. Maybe the music industry is being destroyed, and good riddance if it is, but it is not piracy, it is merely kicking down a rotten edifice, the industry is self-imploding and the music industry should not be confused with music, music is doing just fine. Oh did I forget to mention that the main-stream media is owned lock stock and barrel by the same media conglomerates who own the big record labels.

Music does not exist to enrich mega-corporations. These mega-corporations could collapse tomorrow, as could the chain record stores like HMV, and it would have no effect on music. In fact, if there was an effect, it would be to plough money back into music.

Steve Lawson @solobasssteve is a solo bass player, he also writes an excellent blog.

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