Archive for February, 2012

The Louis CK Effect: How Should We Fund and Distribute Art Music?

February 24, 2012

Comedian Louis CK has gone into business for himself, cutting out the middle man, distributing a new DRM-free video comedy special directly through his website for $5. He made his first million dollars in under two weeks. It is exciting to see someone in the arts take a chance and elegantly use the Internet to distribute their work.

I see many classical musicians using tools like Kickstarter to raise funds for the sorts of projects that used to be funded by old media companies. Recordings – even live performances – are now being funded directly by backers rather than legacy institutions. In a way, this is how we wish the arts could be funded, by putting more ticket-purchasing butts in (virtual) seats. Perhaps the Internet has simply expanded the audience base by allowing the music lover in San Francisco to participate in performances by a New York-based group. A $10 donation is certainly cheaper than an airplane ticket.

I have a few thoughts, though, that give me pause, albeit insufficient pause to suggest that classical musicians stop doing this! Obviously any tool that gets people interested in supporting the arts is fantastic…

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