Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Thou Shalt Steal

Fixing an Archaic Machine 

How much stolen shit do you have racked up on your laptop right now? Couple gigs? I know guys with terabytes of stuff. That's a 1000 gigabytes, a trillion bytes, of 'illegally' downloaded stuff. But it's kind of gray area. Is it wrong, is it right? Depends who you ask. So let's just ask the dictionary.

Steal: v. & n. a take (another person's property) illegally. b take (property etc.)without right or permission, esp. in secret with the intention of not returning it.

There's about another bazillion (which I'm sure is the amount of bytes someone has illegally downloaded) definitions but I nearly fell asleep just typing that so God help you poor bastards. The big problem with theses definition is that they work in the context of me robbing your 'thing'. Not your thing-thing you get it, (but some of you, if you give me half a chance...mmm-hmm) but your property. But no-one really owns music, movies etc. That is no one person. Said own-ings are myriad in the amount of people that stand to capitalize on their successes.

You've heard the expression 99% of musicians are unheard of. In that the record company drops them or takes their money if they can't deliver the cost said company has put into them. In short: the record company has been fucking these artists long before you or I got the idea. Now this doesn't mean that we should say if the record company is being a powerful cock knocker that it's okay for us too right? Yeah, I can get on board with that. So what's the answer?

Listen up bitches, I gots 'dis:

Go indie, let everything go indie. Not only does this give any kind of artist more control on their own IP but it means you cut out all the arbitrary shit that goes along with being 'signed'. The fact that the internet is changing the game means that every artist who wants to make some coin has got to change with it. Check out the case of stand up comedians Louis C.K. or Joe Rogan. They've independently released their new live stand up shows for $5. It's a fair price and one that I think most people can afford. By cutting out the establishment they stand to gain more. Of course these guys are established names, what about the little man? The little man's got to slog I'm afraid. And why the fuck not? In a society that wants everything here and now, no one wants to put effort into anything. They want their career to come on like a winning scratch card and bask in shit loads of easy cash. That ain't the way son.

If your serious about trying to make a living on any kind of art it should be because you love the art. For example a lot of writers are turning to indie publishing right now. And I don't mean the Steven King's of the world who could release a book written in ancient Aramaic on papyrus and still get it published by Harpur Collins. I mean the new guy who hasn't published a jot. Where a traditional book deal will give the writer 10-15% of the earnings Amazon gives 70%. So where you'll earn a dollar or so for a new paperback, you can make the same or more digitally by charging significantly less. What this means is that you can digitally market your own book via social media etc. and try find an audience that way. Is it gonna happen over night? Like fuck it is, you might be lucky to make a tenner so keep trying but most importantly, if you are writing 'cos you love it keep it up. Most traditionally published authors don't get a book published until they're two or three deep. That's a lot of time spent writing without a reward. Make the choice. Also if you think that getting noticed by a publisher validates your worth as a writer just look at the plethora of shit getting published right now. Granted Twilight sold well but the writing style is not good. I'm not ragging on it, it's sold well and certainly found an audience but from a purely technical writing stand point it just isn't that good. Does that make it bad? Obviously not, there are people out there that want to read that. That's fine, credit to Stepheine Meyer, all I'm saying is getting picked up by a big house publisher does not validate your style. It's like comparing Niki Minaj to Brahms.

For example independent video games, which are really starting to change the digital downloading landscape of console sales, are made by far, far less people with much less money and, in the opinion of a lot of gamers are every bit as enjoyable as the new Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed. In my own opinion the level design and refusal to 'hold the gamers hand' taken by Super Meat Boy, Braid, Limbo, Journey and other games makes them much, much better than the high production costs of multi-million dollar games. I think the new Assassin's Creed is one of the most boring games of 2012.

Movies are a bit more complicated. With services like Netflix there seems to be some balance but certainly going indie here doesn't seem to be the answer. In truth I'm not sure how to address it. But what I will say is that if you chose to download the likes of Avengers, Avatar, Dark Knight Rises or any other big budget fantasy type movies instead of seeing them on the big screen in all their glory you are indeed a miserable loser.
Anyone who wants to create something and make money from it has got to start playing by the new rules. Sure there'll be exceptions and why shouldn't there be. Also there's always going to be people pirating things, same way there'll always be any kind of crime but charging people a fair price, I believe, will encourage people to buy as opposed to torrent. But, to be honest, what the fuck do I know?

The days of making top dollar are over save for a very small group. But, that's a good thing, because if you believe you're good enough at something to capitalize on it you're probably right and you should try. But if you believe that because you can make an entertaining product you deserve more money than a special needs teacher a nurse or a guard, the kind of money that is totally possible by going indie.

Bring your fevered ego outside and shoot it in its tiny mind.

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