Entries Tagged 'General' ↓

Art for art’s sake - Seth Godin on doing what you love

Not everyone can make a living doing something they really enjoy. As Seth points out:

Today, there are more ways than ever to share your talents and hobbies in public. And if you’re driven, talented and focused, you may discover that the market loves what you do. That people read your blog or click on your cartoons or listen to your mp3s. But, alas, that doesn’t mean you can monetize it, quit your day job and spend all day writing songs.

That’s the dream, but only some people can live the dream. The rest of us have to do what we love in our spare time and hope that one day we’ll be able to devote more time to it.

But there is always the temptation to create according for the market, to change your style or follow the latest trend. Sometimes that might work, but Seth encourages artists not to “wreck your art if it doesn’t lend itself to paying the bills”.

In fact, his advice is to create without concern for commercial value, arguing that the “twist is that as soon as you focus on your art and leave the money behind, you may just discover that this focus turns out to be the secret of actually breaking through and making money”.

Sounds like good advice to us here at Karmafan. If you create something you value then there’s a very good chance that others will value it, too. And they might just be willing to give you a little something in appreciation of your work.

Seth’s Blog

Freeconomics - The Big Giveaway

The Guardian had an article in their G2 section today about how Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, is convinced that free is the only way to go:

On the web, the marginal costs of manufacturing and distribution are zero, or close to it. This means that you can now experiment with giving away one thing to sell something else much more than you could in the pre-internet era. The traditional model is of giving 1% of goods away as samples in order to sell 99% of the product; on the web, you can give 99% away as free samples to sell 1%.

When it comes to music, the idea is that a band can gain popularity by giving music away, which creates new fans who will then tell their friends, buy merchandise or attend concerts.

Anderson’s last book, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, argued that it’s possible to thrive by appealing to niche markets. His next will argue that the future of economics is inevitably free:

In every industry where the product can be made into a digital file, somebody is, or is going to be, offering you that product for free because the marginal cost of doing so online is heading towards zero. Divorce papers? Free. Books? Music? Free.

He doesn’t see this as negative. Things have changed, as they always have. Money will continue to flow, but now the barriers to being heard and noticed are so much lower, and that has to be a positive environment for creativity.

Check out the full article by Stuart Jeffries at guardian.co.uk.

A new spirit

The Sherlock Holmes series of films with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce has been a favourite of mine since childhood. They were often shown on a Saturday afternoon so I decided to revisit one today. Sherlock Holmes Faces Death is an adaptation of The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual set against the background of the Second World War. If you enjoy old movies, then you can’t go wrong with them (you can watch Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon for free at the Internet Archive).

At the end of Sherlock Holmes Faces Death, Rathbone delivers a short speech which seems particularly relevant to Karmafan:

There’s a new spirit abroad in the land. The old days of grab and greed are on their way out. We’re beginning to think of what we owe the other fellow, not just what we’re compelled to give him.

Of course it didn’t really turn out to be true in 1943, but perhaps we can make it true today by thinking of how we can all give something back.

1000 True Fans

Essential reading from Kevin Kelly on how fans are vital for artists:

A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author - in other words, anyone producing works of art - needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.

It’s a refreshing reminder that artists can make a living doing what they love, and that success can simply mean reaching out to a small number of people - something which is easier every day on the Net.

[via Seth Godin]

Micropayments experiment

Aaron Schiff started an interesting experiment the other day at 26econ.com:

What if you could make a micropayment simply by clicking an attractive button. I’m interested to know how much people would tip if it were that easy to do. For the next little while, you’ll see a set of buttons underneath each post. After reading the post, I want you to click the button corresponding to how much you’d tip me for that post. If you think it’s not worth tipping, don’t click any button.

The problems Aaron points out with exclusively using methods such as PayPal to tip (”it costs too much to transfer money securely, and it’s too much trouble for users”) are some of the reasons we decided to go with the top-up idea for people who want to use Karmafan to support more than one artist or site. Allowing a fan or a reader to support what they like without worrying about transaction costs seems like the best way to encourage multiple small acts of patronage.

We’re looking forward to seeing the results from the 26econ.com experiment.

Writers will write

WIRED had a piece (via AP) on the end of the writers’ strike the other day. An interesting thing about this particular strike was that it was unlikely that the writers actually stopped writing:

I, at least, have been writing almost every day in the exact same way I was - not necessarily on the studio projects I was paid to write, but I’ve been working on my own stuff all along. - Phil Johnston

Writers and other artists will tend to create even when there’s not necessarily a pay-off. They don’t do it just for the money, although it’s nice to get something back when you’ve made something people enjoy.

There are millions of artists out there creating right now who may never get any great return for their work. But the net makes it so much more likely that they can reach people who would enjoy what they have created, and that those fans might want to show their appreciation. We’re only in the very early stages of this interaction, but it will be interesting to see how artists and their fans find new ways to entertain and support each other.

Season’s Greetings!

2008 will see a lot of changes at Karmafan. We’ll have new ways for fans to support the artists they like, and some major updates to the site and widget.

We’re busy working on these…

But all we can offer you for now is our best wishes for the season!