Rising the Comments Above
You know, the comments a couple of posts back really got humming with great stuff I don't want to lose. It all started when Tom threw me into a depression by pointing me to Clay Shirkey's article on why blogging won't pay. Now Tom and I and Clay have bantered gonzoite ideas before, and maybe it's my current reflective (read depressed) state, but Clay's saying something here. Let me layout the ensuing conversation by raising the comments up a level for further exploration....
Matrullo Drops the Bomb
Tom said: "J., I know we've had some discussion with Clay Shirky about gonzo issues before. Here's his bit about blogging for dollars - it's worthy of inspiring counter-arguments."
Partington Kicks Corporations in the Ass
Then, George Partington contributes this: "The best way to get paid for blogging is to have people, not corporate entities, pay you. Corporate involvement would just corrupt this thing we got goin on, because, as RB has pointed out, despite the fact that they are comprised of people, they have no body and no heart. Let's cut out corporations and build communities. Not saying I have any answers. Just my two cents."
Mays Wants to Pay AKMA Partington's Two Cents
To which, Jonathon Mays says, "Dang, I just want to make money. Gekko type. How bout AKMA and Frank become my editors (better still, ghost writers). You could write. I could make money. Therefore, keeping everyone's integrity intact? Yes?"
Jeneane Gets Depressed, Talks Too Much
Then I chime in with my big ole mouth here: "Wow. I just read Shirkey's piece. I need to go drive around for a while before I pick up Jenna. I have seen this parallel within the music business--In Boston for example, mom and dad pay for many a college student to attend one of many very fine colleges. Too many of these kids are also amateur musicians, who will likely use their fine degrees one day to do anything but perform music for a living.
"Yet these same passionate (and some even likeable) amateurs play for free--some even pay to play. They clog up club after club, event after event, venue after venue. Some are good, some are not. Most will remain amateurs. They don't need to get paid because their real job is going to college. And they are going to college to not play music professionally one day. But to have a "career" or at least a "fallback."
"It's no secret that you have superstars in the business who make the majority of the money, most not through recordings (where the labels gobble it up) but through touring. Then you have amateurs who play for love and not money. And then you have a whole professional class in the middle who eek out sometimes okay livings from a business not set up to pay them. The world Shirkey could end up just like this. We pay to read the superstars. The up and comers and tech flashers blog for free. And what will become of us in the middle? When will we decide to put down our axes and get a day job? :-( " [i.e., end of jeneane's big mouth]
AKMA's in the House and He's Bringing His Crash
When blogosipher AKMA jumps in with an idea I really liked because it meant something for ME ME ME: "But we wouldn't accuse someone of corruption if she accepted a free Zildjian for her drum set, right?"
[to which I responded with some lame statement about send me stuff. and saying sorry to AKMA about never sending his peanut brittle, and he tells me how Margaret and the kids are doing.]
Partington Loves Courtney
Followed by that smart George Partington responding to AKMA's cymbal analogy with:
"No, not out of hand. But if the drummer's tour was sponsored by Zildjiian, and Zildjiian was part of a company that included big ol X Co. that had lots of nasty practices in the name of profit, our drummer might feel a bit compromised (not to say corrupted, the "thing" is corrupted, the person could be or not, maybe just caught in a not-so-healthy situation), not wanting to write a song about unfair labor practices, for example.
"Courtney Love had some interesting things to say about such a situation. I think it was Pepsi that sponsored one of her tours, and they pressured her to say things in favor of the product, etc. (wanting to get their money's worth). She says they acted as if they owned her and she should be grateful for it. And, she says, she took every opportunity to slam them instead, so she'd never be tempted by another, similar deal. See her rant, Courtney Love does the math, for more.
Frank, Where Have You Been All Day?
At which point Mr. Paynter chimes in with:
"Oops, gone for a full day and the whole thread morphs in a zillion directions... oh well, I like Jonathon's idea of ghost written blogs, but I don't think the business model is right. How about y'all talk to the rich and famous people you know about the new Sandhill ghostblogging service. We (me and my hand picked stable of professional ghostbloggers) will create a unique and authentic voice for you online in a blog of your own! Why waste time writing when someone who enjoys it can do it for you?!?
"And to offset ghostblogging costs, we will hook you up with an ad agency that will create a banner ad revenue stream for you! Drink Coke!!! And for the ad agency, to offset the costs of those banner ads, we will provide 'bots that harvest email addresses from comment streams so you can direct sell those people on Bose radios and organ and glandular enlargement therapies. After this little engine of commerce gets humming, we at Sandhill hope only to exert ourselves endorsing checks to deposit. Cyber Paradise."
Steve "One Pot" Splits Frank's Hairs
To which Steve responds thoughtfully:
"Re: Zildjian and Pepsi, to my mind there's a difference. If Zildjian chooses to give free cymbals to drummer x (would that it were my poor, sold-his-congas-last-week-to-buy-new-traps brother!), it's generally because drummer x is already using the product. Or because the company is developing--a la Eric Clapton--a new product specifically along the lines dictated by the sponsored 'name'. The company does so in hopes that other drummers will see drummer x actually using the product, and note its quality.
"When Pepsi or Budweiser sponsor a tour, they're doing nothing but cash in on something totally unrelated to their own product. It's no different than going to an expensive charity dinner just to have my picture taken with famous people. There's no real connection between us, but I'm implying one for purposes of my own gratification. In other words, whether or not Courtney Love drinks Pepsi means nothing to her concert; the type of guitar she plays does. One allows her to do what she does *ahem* 'better' and more easily, the other doesn't. Maybe I'm splitting hairs unnecessarily, but to me it seems more insidious to sponsor something simply to get your name attached to it gratuitously rather than because it's actually relevant."
And that's where we are. So continue, please. This is too tastey to drop off now.