Posts Tagged ‘social networks’

Steve Lawson: Advice to musicians on using social media

October 12, 2014
Steve Lawson at Digital Music for Musicians

Steve Lawson at Digital Music for Musicians

There are few people who know how to make effective use of social media. Steve Lawson is one, Paulo Coelho another.

An example of how not to, was a discussion on The Bottom Line by people clueless on social media.

Another example Guildford Book Festival, who persist in sending out puerile, drooling, sycophantic tweets promoting boring celebrities.

Too many who use social media fail to understand or grasp the fundamentals of social networks.

  • social —> interaction
  • network —> many to many

If you engage PR or marketing people to handle your social media accounts, you have lost the plot.

If you are paying to promote what you have to say, then it is not worth saying.

I could not agree more with what Steve Lawson has to say on musicians using bandcamp.

Steve Lawson was a guest speaker at a Digital Music for Musicians seminar held in Leeds at the Belgrave Music Hall. A three hours talk on how jazz artists can use social media to their best advantage.

The dark psychology of Internet trolls

March 24, 2014

There’s an area of forensic (having to do with legal or criminal cases) psychology that is known as “Dark Psychology.” And it just might help us better understand Internet trolls — people who feel the need to use the Internet to victimize and bully others.

Dark Psychology has to do with the study of people who prey on other people. These can be bullies, spouse beaters, thieves or any type of lawbreaker who seeks out victims. These are not people who park illegally, are sex workers, or cheat on their taxes. These people seek out victims for the thrill it gives them to act against them.

Many people who prey on others manifest the Dark Tetrad. The Dark Tetrad is defined as psychopathy, sadism, Machiavellanism and narcissism. And those components are made up of others.

internet troll

internet troll

What they break down to is a person who enjoys inflicting pain on others, who shows no remorse, who is callous, who is antisocial, enjoys manipulating others to his own ends, who feels quite self-important, has an over-inflated ego, and someone who derives pleasure from hurting someone else either directly or vicariously. He also shows disinhibited, bold behavior, often wanting to call attention to himself and his acts.

This is a rough description of someone who identifies and uses people that he chooses to be his victims. I’m sure that most of us can visualize who these people are. There are some who come to my mind immediately: mass murderers, politicians, businessmen, etc. And several movies also come to mind, where one of the lead characters was almost exactly like this, such as “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane.” Though Baby Jane may have had additional psychological issues beyond just the Dark Tetrad.

What does this have to do with Internet trolls?

A recent paper argues that Internet trolls seem to fulfill at least three (some fulfill all) of the Dark Tetrad. And sadism seems to be the overriding component.

The researchers, Buckels, Trapnell and Paulhus, writing in the journal, Personality and Individual Differences, looked at Internet trolls and how they are formed psychologically. Their research, and that of others, shows that sadism is at the forefront. Trolls enjoy hurting people, they get a thrill and positive reinforcement from causing pain to others. Though some sadists tend to prefer causing pain in person and directly observing the results, much like Baby Jane, others seem to enjoy causing pain to others at random. This latter group seems to be the one that the typical Internet troll enjoys.

Let’s take a look at what the typical Internet troll does.

This is based on the above paper, plus some previous work by Buckels, et al., and other researchers. The troll decides to post. He selects a site and a topic. These are often chosen based on his belief system. For example, someone who is strongly religious may troll on atheist sites. Or, sometimes, the troll may strike in a more random manner while reading an blog, for example — some topic or comment may catch his eye and he’ll post.

His objects are to hurt people and attract attention to himself. He may post something wildly inflammatory to the other comments on the site or in direct opposition to the theme of the article. It may be a logically structured and well-written post or just a string of obscenities. Whatever he chooses, he gets some gratification just from posting, knowing that people will be hurt and upset by his post. But he gets more gratification when he gets a reply. Now he knows that someone is upset. This is a victory. Some trolls will then just sit back and watch other comments get posted by readers or authors whom he has enraged. Other trolls, will continue to post, sometimes hundreds of posts on the same thread, to further incite the readers into more replies. The more replies, the more criticisms and denunciations, the more gratification he gets.

Some trolls feel safer carrying out these attacks online, rather than in person. They feel that they are anonymous and relatively safe from being discovered. Had they done bullying like this in person, their identities would be known and they could face physical, psychological, financial and/or legal consequences. Even though they may be tracked and identified through the Internet, that usually isn’t done, so the troll feels invulnerable and continues to post.

The recommendation to decrease trolling is to decrease the gratification that the troll gets. That is, he enjoys stirring up the hornets’ nest. The more sound and fury he generates, the more he enjoys it. Therefore, the best way to limit trolling is to totally ignore the troll. Let him know that he’s not worth replying to, that the readers know him to be trolling and trying to provoke a response.

The less feedback the troll gets, the less likely he is to post to that particular site. After all, why post to Site X, where the troll gets no replies even to the most outrageous comments, when he can post to Site Y and enjoy everyone fighting back?

The lesson here? Please don’t feed the trolls.

— Dr Mark Thoma MD

Published in American Blog.

A support site has been set up for the missing Malaysian airline MH370. It is being attacked by trolls and spam merchants.

Dealing with trolls is simple, do not respond, block them, report for abuse, never give them the gratification they crave for.

Never Feed Trolls.

Using internet and social media

July 13, 2012
West End Centre cultural oasis in the cultural wasteland of Aldershot

West End Centre cultural oasis in the cultural wasteland of Aldershot

SHOCK NEWS! Twitter late at night is not a sedative. — West End Centre, 1-46am 10 July 2012

@keithpp what’s on details are on website. That is where you will find all the facts. . — West End Centre, 10 July 2012

Tweet us your favourite thought for today… — West End Centre, 1 July 2012

Is going to penalties footballers’ equivalent of an encore? — West End Centre, 24 June 2012

..and don’t forget farnborough event tomorrow either… — West End Centre, 22 June 2012

There are those who know how to make effective use of the internet and see what is has to offer: Paulo Coelho, Andrew Dubber, Steve Lawson, Imogen Heap, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood.

They see the benefits internet has to offer to creative artists.

There are those who see the internet as a threat to their business model, they fail to see the world has moved on, they try to criminalise people.

When Paulo Coelho saw a man on the street selling pirate copies of his books, he went over to have a chat, he wanted to talk to the man. But the man saw it as a threat, ran away. Paulo Coelho wanted to thank him for taking the trouble to make more people aware of his books.

When people download music from Steve Lawson and share it with their friends, he does not think OMG, this must be stopped. He is pleased that they are taking the trouble to tell people about his music. No one tells it better than the people who like it.

Marketing people and PR and lobbyists I ignore. They are paid liars.

Critics I ignore. They rarely know what they are talking about.

If people tell me read this book, listen to this music, I usually ignore them too.

I make my own mind up what to read, what to listen to.

There are though rare exceptions. A friend has a vast record collection. If he says something is worth listening to I will give it a listen.

When a friend gave me The Eight to read, I read it. She brought if from the US to Istanbul. I passed it on and it is now in Moscow.

The best advice to a musician is be on twitter. It is far more important to be on twitter than a record label. You do not need a record label, but you do need twitter.

But if you feel you really need to be on a record label, then sign up to Any And All Records.

Having a twitter account is not in itself enough, you have to use it effectively. What is it you do? Only you know the answer, but that is what you tweet about. If you are a baker you tweet about bread. A restaurant the dish of the day. A musician the latest album you have released, the next gig.

Social networks, split it down.

  • social – interaction
  • networks – many to many

It is not broadcast, one to many.

Do not tweet drivel. Not unless you want to piss people off, be followed by trolls and be seen by the people you need to communicate with as a total dick head.

One of the worst examples I have seen of the use of twitter is by the West End Centre, a cultural oasis in the wasteland of Aldershot. Occasional useful tweets lost in a sea of juvenile drivel. If the West End personnel wish to tweet juvenile drivel to their mates, that is fine, but do so from your own personal account, not an official account.

Asked repeatedly to please restrict to what is on and other useful, relevant information, their response was look at our website, do not follow us, our customers like our informal style.

Style is not a problem, it can be formal or informal, content does matter.

Yes, you can go to their website. Twitter should be to compliment their website, to deliver timely information.

Yes, you do do not have to follow them on twitter. But if everyone took that advice, they would have no followers. One assumes they want followers, want people to attend their venue, but people will only do that if they know what is on.

Anyone who has the audacity to highlight the West End Centre as an example of poor use of social media gets subject to a torrent of orchestrated abuse.

Some people like a venue, like the buzz, the atmosphere, meet their mates, it is almost irrelevant what is on.

With a few notable exceptions, I am the opposite. I will only go if there is something worth going to. I am hard to reach. But if you get me there, and I like, I am more likely to tell others.

The Barn is a cutural space in Farnham. Literally a barn. It is hidden in a courtyard, blink as you walk by and you would miss it. The West End Centre would be well advised to look at how they use twitter (unless of course they wish to remain a laughing stock).

The only criticism I would make of The Barn is that too often they tweet a link and nothing more. They need to say what it is about, else why visit, or you visit and find of no interest and will be less inclined to follow the next time. Nothing worse than wasting time following dead ends. Also make use of hashtags to reach beyond their followers.

For a musician being on bandcamp is as essential as being on twitter. People can listen to your music (I assume you want people to listen to it), can share with their mates (no one can like your music until they have heard it), can download high quality audio files, buy albums.

Although you do see the posting of individual tracks on bandcamp, it is primarily for albums. For tracks, work in progress, soundcloud is better, and you can always then collect together into an album on bandcamp.

For writers, the equivalent of bandcamp is wattpad, though personally I like bandcamp a lot more than wattpad.

This month bandcamp passed an amazing milestone: $20 million direct into the pockets of grass roots musicians.

If you can produce high quality video, then vimeo and youtube are a must. Please do not upload rubbish from a mobile phone from a pub. You are not doing yourself any favours. If you are good, then you want people to see you are good. If you are crap, well there is not a lot can be done, but as they say, practice makes perfect.

The Crypt Sessions are a good example of excellent videos.

If you were applying for a job, you do not perform at your worst, not unless it is the local Job Centre forcing you to apply for some McShit job you do not want.

A blog is useful, but only if you have something worthwhile to say and can write (or if you cannot write you have to have something very worthwhile to say).

I was talking to a guitarist busking on the street. He said he wrote a blog. He was busking around Europe, he wrote about the places he visited.

An excellent blog and a must for musicians, is the blog written by bass-player Steve Lawson.

Another good blog is that written by nine-year-old Martha Payne. She is currently on holiday and has invited in guest bloggers. NeverSeconds has clocked up over 7 million hits!

For a how to then Music in the Digital Age by Andrew Dubber is a must read!

A picture tells a story. For individual pictures use twitpic, for albums flckr or facebook.

With facebook beware it is a walled garden, you do not wish to see people forced to join to see your pictures. Construct tunnels through the wall.

The one place not to be apart from legacy reasons is myspace.

Then tie it all together. In the blog embed an album from bandcamp. Tweet about the gig you have just written about on your blog.

“Twitter is art”

July 7, 2012
Paulo Coelho Zeit Online

Paulo Coelho Zeit Online

Pirated copies of his books, he welcomes the intellectual shock old died for him, the Internet, it is a global village. Brazil’s best-selling author Paulo Coelho celebrates the Skype call, the digital revolution – with all its consequences for the book market.

Zeit Online: Mr. Coelho, what you mean bookstores?

Paulo Coelho: Book stores are temples for me. You are viewing books , you can browse, you can talk to the booksellers. This is great.

Zeit Online: Mr. Coelho, what you mean bookstores?

Paulo Coelho: Book stores are temples for me. You are viewing books , you can browse, you can talk to the booksellers. This is great.

Zeit Online: Are you not afraid that this temple must close when selling authors like to e-books to sell junk for 99 cents?

Coelho: Let me put it this way: When Gutenberg invented the printing press, the monks shouted: “O God, we prefer to pull back from this world, it has become too fast. Previously, we have made drawings, our books were works of art, and now we have these cheap Gutenberg printing “But each technological revolution creates a platform for a cultural revolution. And I really do not think that this temple, the bookstores will disappear. The film has not even the theater killed.

Zeit Online: How does the revolution of which you speak, from the publishers?

Coelho: I have over eight million fans on Facebook, my blog read two million people a month. I get to speak directly to my readers. The publishers have no idea how important something is. Nevertheless, the power of traditional marketing is publishers and bookstores continue to be indispensable. We can not lift authors alone.

Zeit Online: Many writers grumble about the social networks : They would eat only the amount of time it took for writing books. And the readers deserve to read the snout and hold dear.

Coelho: I find that strange. I always have time for that: I have time to write my books, I have to work period, I have time to do a bit of sport. So I think: One of the most important parts in the life of an author is to directly interact with its readers in touch. This refers to herself better. It helps me as a person, not only as a writer. Yesterday I spoke with a friend from Montenegro, who told me of Montenegrin legend, I’ve chatted with a Chinese man. They are my friends, even though I never met physically. I talk with them, I’m learning very much and have very much fun. It’s like you go to a bar. Writers should definitely go to bars!

Zeit Online: Why not go for many writers in the digital bar?

Coelho: You are afraid of the direct contact that is very human. What you do not know, until you come and see.

Zeit Online: Do we need to actually before Amazon fear? And the network logic The winner takes it all?

Coelho: This is not the logic of the network. This is the logic of our world. Now just the European football championship. Does it matter who is in second or third? No, it’s all about who wins. And I am sure that Germany wins. But honestly, now it looks as if Amazon would take over everything. Only: Morning invents a rival anything else, and the situation changes completely. We can not stop it’s progress. We can adapt, but the change must go on. Let us use it all the possibilities of new technologies.

Zeit Online: How do you do that?

Coelho: I have a few weeks ago I asked my publisher if he all of my e-books can be downloaded progressively to 99 cents, but the alchemist, he did it for three weeks because there is no distribution and no printing costs for e-books. there. Then we have stopped the promotion. What has happened? The 99-cent books have pulled the alchemists. He climbed the New York Times bestseller list from, I do not know, 39 on the 7th Place up. For me this means: If you’re not stingy, your application will be rewarded.

“If you are a victim of piracy, then it is an honor, a medal!”

Zeit Online: This only works with successful authors. What is writing to all the little writers, important books, but have only a small readership? How to survive in this new world?

Coelho: If you start writing or dancing, then you do it with conviction. You do it because you have to do it. I’m Brazilian, I never thought that I could get rich with my books. On the contrary, each time told me that it was impossible. Money comes only after work, that’s for sure. And if you make money, it’s because your whole heart is in your work. And even if you earn no money, what with me for many years was the case, then you’re working on anyway.

Zeit Online: It is in your system, but one problem: If the readers get used to it, e-books to get for 99 cents, they are less and less willing to pay $ 30 for a hardcover. With the 30-dollar sellers but publishers support the other major writers who are economically not so successful.

Coelho: This is what the publishers. But what the authors say?

Zeit Online: The Same?

Coelho: Really? Ask four or five writers, and they say, selling authors are terrible. They are of poor quality, they are stupid, blah, blah, blah. Indeed, with these writers but selling authors would if they brave enough were and say, best-selling authors are great, because I may publish with the money my book, if they would then say: selling authors are great because they touch the hearts of many people, then it would be different. But I know their views on best-seller. And I tell them: Your time is over, ha!

Zeit Online: No sympathy for these authors?

Coelho: Yes. You have an aristocratic opinion of bestsellers. Camus was a bestseller, was a bestseller Baudelaire, Henry Miller was one, and Shakespeare. So if the authors want to publish lamenting with the help of best-sellers, they should only say a few times nice things about bestsellers.

Zeit Online: What do you think of piracy? Bestseller books are often illegally copied and distributed. Many fear: If people get used to it, they eventually pay nothing for books.

Coelho: Yes, there is a risk. But after I put down my price to 99 cents, there was no more piracy. Only I did not say that piracy is bad! The ultimate goal of my life is to be read. And if it is piracy, then they are just there, in front of you may have no fear. Honestly, if you are a victim of piracy, then it is an honor, a medal! Pirate copy but only illegal books that people really want to read. When I walk through the streets of India, a child can see the smallest bookstore in the world, has only ten tracks, and two of which are pirated copies of my books, I’m proud! I am so proud, because that means that these are all people who want to read me. When I was in Lima, I have all my books in pirated editions discovered. I was happy and wanted to talk to the boy who sold them. But when I told him that I was the author, he ran away. He thought that I would complain terribly. But I did not complain. I wanted to thank him.

Zeit Online: If you find piracy not so bad – what do you think it over intellectual property ?

Coelho: Copyright is a creation of the business world, not the authors. It protects the business and not copyright. My idea is the idea of ​​sharing. Meister Eckhart, the German mystic, said, belongs to the parts of human beings. If you are not sharing, then you do not exist too. Now we share this interview via Skype. I see you, you see me. It costs nothing for you, and it costs nothing for me. Is not that wonderful?

Zeit Online: The advantage of Skype is that we can look into your office. What’s that picture on the wall behind you?

Coelho: It is the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, a subject of my first book. My wife painted it, and now it hangs in my office. Actually I was supposed to have a large bookcase crammed impressive as the old intelligentsia, to show how cultured I am. I’m very cultured, but I do not have to show people. Simplicity is the new thing, the Internet is simplicity. So I think that the classic intellectual is dead. He is replaced by the “internetual,” the Internetuellen.

Zeit Online: And what role does this new character?

Coelho: The Internetuelle will change the style of writing. It will be much straighter without hollow. It will be much more directly, without being superficial. You just need to tell and to penetrate to the heart of the matter. The imagination of the reader keeps alive. The revolution is still this: Today you have several ways to express as a writer for you. You can write 140 characters on Twitter or five paragraphs on the blog, or you can put out a book. I see a future in which “the title of” writer is no longer reserved for people who write books. We have a very wide range of possibilities.

Zeit Online: So you would see your blog entries as part of literature as art?

Coelho: Of course! And my tweets too.

Google translation from an article “Twittern ist Kunst” in Zeit Online.

Copyright and patents are for the protection of intellectual property rights of the individual but in reality protect the monopolies of Big Business. It is Big Business that complains the loudest about sharing, not creative artists.

Writers want to be read, musicians heard.

Sites like bandcamp encourage sharing, make sharing easy.

E-books have what is in essence zero costs. There is also an infinite store. No matter how many are downloaded or sold, there are still more in the store, the store does not run out of stock.

Paulo Coelho: “Tweeting Is Art”

June 29, 2012
Screenshot of Paulo Coelho's Twitter account

Screenshot of Paulo Coelho’s Twitter account

The Internet is a global village for him. Pirated copies of his books he sees as a compliment. DLD friend Paulo Coelho, interviewed by Die Zeit journalists Maximilian Probst and Kilian Trotier in today’s print edition, shares his thoughts on the digital revolution’s impact on communicating with readers.

Physical bookstores are still like temples. You dive in this magical, holy place filled with human imagination. Paulo Coelho, the Brazilian bestselling author of The Alchemist, walks in both worlds – online and offline. He is not afraid to sell his books for 99 cents at Amazon. He has more than 8.6 million fans on Facebook. More than 2 million people are reading his blog every month. And he has more than 4.7 million followers on Twitter.

Why isn’t he afraid, like so many of his colleagues, of this digital wall of fans?

Readers inspire him, Coelho admits. If it is a friend from Montenegro who tells him about his country’s legends. Or a Chinese he chats with but never met face-to-face. For him, it’s like meeting people in a digital bar.

And tweeting for him, like writing a blog post, is all part of the new digital world of literature and art.

Long live the “internetual”!

We should embrace new technology, and not be afraid of giants like Amazon taking it all. We want cheap books? He’s giving them to us. This way, you prevent people pirating your content. But even if people are illegally copying your books, you should be proud of it, take it as a compliment – a medal. Coelho wants as many people as possible reading his books. That’s his goal as an author.

His philosophy is like the one many journalists, musicians, artists have. We write, paint, compose because we have the urge to do so. It’s not about money. It’s not about what our bosses or publishers want. It’s about passion. If you are lucky, people around you see it as your gift. If not, you still need to do it. It’s part of you. Even more so when there are so many ways to express yourself, like on Twitter or a personal blog.

What else does the digital interconnectivity change?

The intellectual we knew is dead, he declares at the end of the Skype interview. Long live the “internetual”! He will change the way we write. More straightforward without being superficial.

This is how you keep the imagination of your reader alive.

The Storyteller

Humanity transformed its way to tell stories, said Paulo Coelho in this ‘Disruption Talk‘ with Sean Parker at the DLD conference in 2011. We do change the way of how we share stories, but in the end all of what we do is to capture the human condition.

— Beatrice Jeschek

Original article posted on DLD.

Free music

June 21, 2012
Why give music away free?

Why give music away free?

Great music is priceless, bad music is worthless – Steve Lawson

Emily White caused something of a furore when she admitted she rarely paid for music, she had 11,000 tracks and 15 CDS (the CDs she had paid for).

Let’s pause for a moment and put this in context. If I have one hundred CDs (I actually have far more) each with ten tracks, that is 1,000 tracks. To have 11,000 tracks, I am going to have over 1,000 CDs, that is a lot of CDs.

Paulo Coelho caused a furore when he made available his back catalogue for download at 99 cents per e-book. Not free, but almost.

Both were attacked (though in the case of Paulo Coelho not by his readers who thought it an excellent idea).

What seems to have got everyone’s back up is the notion of someone getting something for free, although with Paulo Coelho it was that he had the gall to give something away free (well almost).

One of the most viscous attacks was by David Lowery in an open letter to Emily White. He had previously written on the subject and this was a rehash. If you really have nothing better to do, read what he has to say, but it can be summed up in two word, patronising garbage.

Emily: My intention here is not to shame you or embarrass you.

David Lowery then goes on to do exactly that!

But before exploring further let us look at sales. A music industry in dire crisis we are often told. True, the major record labels are in crisis, but they are an aberration and they are not the music industry.

The sales of shiny pieces of plastic, on which are encoded zeros and ones which can be interpreted as music are falling. But if we aggregate sales of all pieces of shiny plastic, ie CDs, DVDs, computer games, we find sales are not falling. What is happening is that people who bought moronic pop are now buying moronic boxed TV series, moronic computer games.

To quote Steve Lawson:

The biggest shake-up is the stat about sales of ‘physical entertainment media’, including CDs, DVDs and video games. They were still rising when the last study I saw was done, but music’s chunk of it was reducing rapidly. $10-15 for a CD just doesn’t look like a good deal alongside 50 episodes of House in a pretty boxed set for about twice that. Ditto a computer game that will take over your life for the next three weeks…

The early sales in CDs was novelty value, they were also bought to replace existing record collections. They were also highly priced, a price the market tried to maintain.

There is a minimum price to be put on a CD. The cost of production. Go below that and you are operating at a loss.

A useful analogy is spare seats on a flight. These can be sold at a very low price to fill the plane in last minute sales, but not below the price where bums on seats the cost of fuel exceeds the ticket price.

The Crypt Cover Project once a month invites musicians down into the crypt and within a day they record a song and get it on-line the next day. 

 Hope & Social  who run The Crypt Cover Project sell their CDs at this minimum price, digital download is free, you can of course offer to pay more. And guess what? They are making more money, and having more fun, than when they followed the conventional model of being on a corporate record label.

And what is wrong with free? Free, price, value, are too often confused.

Lowery puts forward some very perverse arguments in support of his diatribe.

He argues that if we are willing to spend a b c on cars, phones, internet, computers, then we should be willing to spend x on music.


It is not an inalienable human right that musicians should earn a living from making music. And that should not be twisted into they should not be paid for their music or ripped off.

Taking this perverse argument from Lowery then should we not be spending y on artists, z on writers? And what about restaurateurs, should we not be spending more on eating out?

I have never bought a work of art in my life, though I do possess works of art. These were given to me by the artists. Do I put zero value on them? No, the value is in the friendship that led to the gift.

Creative artists do not die of poverty, they die in obscurity.

At times Lowery is patronising towards Emily White and her generation:

But then you must live with the moral and ethical choice that you are making to not pay artists. And artists won’t be paid. And it won’t be the fault of some far away evil corporation. You “and your peers” ultimately bear this responsibility.

You may also find that this ultimately hinders your hopes of finding a job in the music industry.  Unless you’re planning on working for free.  Or unless you think Google is in the music industry–which it is not.

I also find this all this sort of sad.  Many in your generation are willing to pay a little extra to buy “fair trade” coffee that insures the workers that harvested the coffee were paid fairly.  Many in your generation will pay a little more to buy clothing and shoes from manufacturers that  certify they don’t use  sweatshops.  Many in your generation pressured Apple to examine working conditions at Foxconn in China.

Your generation is largely responsible for the recent cultural changes that has given more equality to same sex couples.  On nearly every count your generation is much more ethical and fair than my generation.   Except for one thing.  Artist rights.

And notice the veiled threat

You may also find that this ultimately hinders your hopes of finding a job in the music industry.  Unless you’re planning on working for free.  Or unless you think Google is in the music industry–which it is not.

Artists do not have rights, any more than bankers or car workers have rights.

If we are talking about workers right, an entirely different issue, then illegal immigrants doing our dirty jobs, unemployed who are being forced to work as unpaid slaves, are far worse off. As are those working in sweatshops to produce our consumer goods.

His opening paragraph is patronising and sets the tone for what is to come:


My intention here is not to shame you or embarrass you. I believe you are already on the side of musicians and artists and you are just grappling with how to do the right thing. I applaud your courage in admitting you do not pay for music, and that you do not want to but you are grappling with the moral implications. I just think that you have been presented with some false choices by what sounds a lot like what we hear from the “Free Culture” adherents.

What an arrogant patronising prick!

Lowery wants Emily White to act ethically, yet another example of his patronising tone.

What is ethical? Copy nine CDs, but only buy one?

Sign up to a major record label. The split is 90/10, you get to keep 10%, they keep 90%, but out of that 10% you pay the promotion, the record producer and more. Fair, ethical?

Lowery peddles the same old garbage, stealing from a local store is the same as copying music.

It is not!

Internet is seen as the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.

Internet is the best thing that has happened for creative artists. It gets them known, it makes it easier to listen to and share their music, to download and to buy.

An excellent example is bandcamp. Fans can listen to an album, they can share at a click of a button, they can download, they can buy. As I write I expect bandcamp within the next few days, certainly by the end of the month, to have put $20 million into the pockets of musicians on bandcamp. And for doing so bandcamp takes a cut of 15%.

Steve Lawson again:

So, while half the internet is freaking out over the idea that no-one ever pays for music anymore, Bandcamp are about to go past $20,000,000 – proper Dr-Evil-Pinky-In-The-Corner-Of-The-Mouth stuff. Why? because that’s 20 Million that doesn’t include anyone on a major label, and pretty much no-one who’s on a big indie. No one artist has made a million bucks on there yet (as far as I know!) and for a lot of the artists there, it’ll be the first time they’ve made *anything*. That’s a pretty hefty cash injection into the grassroots music economy. From a service that only makes *its* money when we do – no ad funding, no selling all-you-can-eat download accounts to fans. Just a seriously great platform for distributing, selling, discovering and sharing music. It is, in short, the absolute bollocks.

Bandcamp makes it easy to share. Try it with Live So Far by Steve Lawson.

There are occasionally those who abuse bandcamp, such as Andy Hull. The Church Of The Good Thief has only one track to listen to. But he is the exception, not the norm.

I make it easy to share. Go to the end of this article and before the comments (assuming there are any) and move your pointer over share. With a single click you can post on twitter or facebook.

What the internet is doing is providing a levelling out, an equalisation, more people are getting a fair share of the cake.

Mike Dawes is a guitarist. On Tuesday he released a single, Somebody That I Used To Know, an improvisation of the same song by Gotye, but far far better than the original. An intelligent decision was made to make an excellent film and release on youtube.

When I wrote about this in the early early hours of Wednesday morning 301 hits, by early afternoon 5,615 hits. 24 hours on in the early hours of this morning 22,596 hits! When I checked early this afternoon I expected the hits to have levelled off. It was now an amazing 114,579 hits. I do not need to plot these figures to see that we have is exponential growth.

The one unintelligent decision made by the record company was not to put the single, and his previous album Reflections, on bandcamp as he would have been able to ride the momentum of the hits on youtube, and not only seen a similar rise in hits, but seen a percentage of those hits turned into downloads and sales of Reflections.

The one area we can all agree is that spotify is a disaster. Not only because it pays musicians a pittance, puts money into the coffers of the major labels (even if the artist is not on those labels), but more importantly because it operates the facebook model, it exists to steal your personal data. Do you really want broadcast across facebook what you are listening to?

Internet is a disruptive technology, it is forcing a paradigm shift. Equally disruptive was sheet music and the emergence of a recording industry and radio. If people could listen to music in their own homes what would happen to music halls? The death of the music industry.

Music does not die. Music would only die if people failed to respond the basic rhythms of life.

The one thing David Lowery has conveniently overlooked is that Emily White works for a radio station, and could that maybe explain why she gets so much free music?

Alex W. Rodriguez suggests one simple idea, write about what you like.

Steve Lawson does not have a problem if you share his music.

For those of us who would NEVER have fitted in the old system, the internet is a lifeline. I’d never have had a career as a solo bassist without it, would never have played in Europe or the US, would never have sold thousands of CDs and downloads, and never met so many incredible musicians and music lovers from all over the world, connected by the shared wonder at what’s now possible.

Add to that the cost of making records being approx one order of magnitude cheaper than it was 20 years ago for equivalent quality, and you’ve got yourself an INCREDIBLE opportunity for art, innovation and community to form. Make friends with your listeners and all the supposed ‘problems’ of file sharing will answer themselves.

It’s also not an either/or kind of self-interest. demanding anything for free is bullshit. I don’t have a ‘right‘ to get paid, but no-one else has a ‘right‘ to hear my music either. It’s all negotiated. I’m lucky to get to make music, even luckier to be able to make it available for people to hear without having to go cap in hand to some marketing dickhead at a label who’d tell me to be more ambient so they can sell it to new age radio. And I’m beyond blessed to have an audience of friends and soon-to-be friends who see fit to express their gratitude to me for making music that means something to them by paying for it. If I tried to force them to do that before they got to hear it, or put a time limit on their discovery process, it’d lose all it’s transactional power. Their freewill is what makes the exchange so meaningful for both of us. And no-one who’s downloaded my music for free has ever cost me a cent. That’s amazing – free listeners! wow.

My own take on what Emily White wrote is that she is naïve and simplistic.

Facebook apps

April 24, 2012

Why it is bad to use a facebook app, is best illustrated by an example.

At the weekend on Earth Day, Imogen Heap streamed a live event from the garden of the Round House. You could watch it from her website or on facebook, that I chose her website will soon become apparent.

“Me The Machine” Live Event

You can still watch the video, but for some perverse reason, only through a facebook app.

Re-watch ‘Me, The Machine’ + Earth Day Broadcast

This app requires the following:

  • your basic information
  • your e-mail address
  • your profile info: birthday, likes and location
  • your events

What is basic information?

Well its is actually quite a long list: name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends, and any other information you made public.

All handed over with a single click.

Now you may be happy to see all this information handed over to who knows where, to do as they please, but what of your friends? If you have no concern for your own privacy, do you not have an obligation to respect that of your friends, did you ask each and everyone if it was OK that their name be passed to this app?

But just when you think it can get no worse, what else can the app do or gain access to?

Any posts the app may make to your timeline, the default is public, ie anyone can see. An example of this is The Guardian app, everyone can see what you are looking at at The Guardian. The Guardian came in for a lot of criticism, which thy duly ignored.

But it should be noted that this privacy setting, default public, only controls what the app does on your timeline, it does not control what happens within the app, who has access to the information. It does not control or set who can see your activity within the app itself or when you are tagged within the app by someone else.

Pause and reflect for a moment. If you were filling out a form on a website, I think you would baulk at providing all this information, and at the very least you know where it is going, who is collecting it, or you think you know.

But do you know with an app, who is behind the app, what are they collecting this information for?

Sharing of data between facebook and third parties

On a website, there is often an assurance that this information will not be shared with anyone else.

Those whose personal data has just been bought by facebook for a $1 billion probably thought that. Now please do not tell me you thought facebook were paying a billion dollars for something a couple of competent software engineers could knock out in a few weeks, something that a handful of software designers did knock out in a few weeks.

Facebook, Instagram, Google, and the Monopoly Fallacy
A billion reasons to beware of the latest dotcom bubble
Don’t want Facebook to have more of your data? Here’s how to download and delete your Instagram account

Pause and reflect again. Would you hand this information over to a stranger who stops you in the street? You probably would not hand over even your e-mail address or telephone number.

Going back to my original example, this is a lot of information to hand over merely to watch what was streamed on Earth Day.

And who is collecting this information, what do they want it for, what are they going to do with it?

If it is Imogen Heap, then why not a form to fill out on her website?

If you wish to be kept informed of what she is doing, then fine, you hand over your e-mail address and she sends you a newsletter.

I have raised this with Imogen Heap, asked that she makes this film footage available without having to go through facebook. I can see no reason why not, it was possible to watch live on the night on her website without going through facebook.

I await her response.

Facebook is a walled garden. To gain access to the delights within your are forced to pay with your digital soul at the gate.

Web freedom faces greatest threat ever
Tim Berners-Lee: Don’t let record labels upset web openness

Five million friends on facebook!

April 4, 2011
five million friends on facebook

five million friends on facebook

As we are in different time zones, I strongly believe that the Planet will be filled with light and prayers during 24 hr. If you don’t feel confortable with praying, a random act of kindness during the day will certainly be very helpful to this humankind. — Paulo Coelho

On Friday 1 April 2011, Paulo Coelho posted a video on facebook saying that within the next few days he expected to exceed 5 million friends on facebook. And no, it was not an April Fool’s story. He asked for ideas on how to celebrate the occasion. He suggested a prayer and maybe a collaborative project.

Oh My God, thought I. It was only last autumn when he reached four million!

I went back and checked and found that I was wrong. Last autumn it was three million. Which makes it all the more amazing. [See Paulo Coelho hits 3,000,000 friends on Facebook]

This morning Paulo Coelho announced that he will, as he did when he reached three million, mark it with a day of pray. [see 5.000.000 in Facebook: prayer + contest]

Last Autumn I was looking at the Sistine Tapestries by Raphael. As I left the V&A I asked was there a church nearby and I was directed to the Brompton Oratory. I marked the event by attending the evening mass in Latin. [see Trip to London to the V&A to see the Sistine Tapestries]

Paulo Coelho is asking that we do the same again. That we say a prayer at 1800 local time on Wednesday 6 April 2011. You do not have to say a prayer, but if not and wish to participate, then please carry out an act of random kindness.

Paulo has also as the collaborative project launched a competition to produce a video to mark the publication of his latest book O Aleph (Elif in Turkey). There is a monetary prize and a HP computer to be won. If Paulo does not like any of the entries, then the money will be donated to the Paulo Coelho Institute. All entries to be posted on YouTube with the title Aleph by (fill in name of the producer). More details of this to be found on his blog. [see 5.000.000 in Facebook: prayer + contest]


February 6, 2011

Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse. — Sophocles

Yelp, a parody of Howl by Allen Ginsberg.

Shabbat is a very old idea — 5000 years old. Just take a break one day a week.

Disruption Talk
Face to Facebook

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