« NameSake | Main | Classic »

May 14, 2007

Never assume your friends will like eachother

...just because you like them.

I have started a project I shouldn't have. I've tried to be a catalyst, and ended up as an unwilling (and uncomfortable) spokesperson to two hostile audiences.

Obviously you wouldn't guess it to look at me, but I have a bit of a soft spot for prog rock. Not the ridiculous wizards-and-maidens bit of it, but trying to do genuinely new stuff with music, things that are a bit more adventurous.

I'm also quite interested in the power of the internet to enable serendipity and creativity, and think that most DRM is bollocks.

So when I found the myspace page for 'Prog against Pirates' I was a bit surprised. Here is a genre of music where discovering a new band is the best thing ever, but where nobody plays the stuff anywhere you can find it. So myspace and filesharing are a great way to check out a band, live with them for a little bit, and then decide just how much of their back catalogue you're going to buy. (Will it be Matthew Herbert's latest microhouse album, or Eloy's prog classic 'Metromania' this month?)

To me filesharing can only be good for this genre - because this isn't disposable wallpaper you put on during a dinner party. It's stuff you have to actually love. They don't need to follow the BPI's misguided and failing rhetoric.

So I put some of these points on their myspace page, where it went down like a cup of cold sick.

I could also feel myself getting a bit out of my depth on some arguments I'd skimmed quickly on the Open Rights Group mailing list. So I braced myself for a bit of derision and tried to link the two groups together. After all, here was a perfect case of where the new business model could work.

But no.

I now find myself being the reluctant defender of all things prog to the ORG folks.

The options initially offered back were "make some music people actually want" and "they can make money back from playing live". Which isn't ideal stuff to go back with.

And then after four posts (of which only one was useful), it went silent.

Of course I could have let it lie. But I have been tired and delusional over the last few days (I'm off work today) and in a fit of pique sent one last message this morning saying kind of 'if that's the best you've got to offer, sod you'.

There are now 29 messages in the thread, and while there's some genuinely helpful stuff in there, I'm spending an uncomfortable time being on the receiving end of many people's personal bugbears about rock bands. And the main thing I'm going to get to go back with is "yeah, you're probably a bit fucked, but you're going to be a lot less fucked than everyone else".

I wish I'd never bothered.

Posted by Tom Dolan at May 14, 2007 05:07 PM



This is the continual problem I've had with the copyfighters' argument. While I'm definitely on their side, I've not seen enough of an effort made to assuage creators' fears beyond "There'll be new business models, deal with it". I'd love to see some persuasive discussion from musicians who're already persuaded, talking about what they're going to be doing to fund their work and where they see the money coming from now.

Posted by: Yoz [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 14, 2007 07:42 PM

I think there's a whole brave new world out there, and I think both sides are making out that the issues are a lot less complex than they really are. Far better to make out the other side is an enemy and an idiot than to accept they've got a fair point.

Unless you can offer some kind of hope to creators, or even offer a new business model that could be adapted, then why would they do anything other than dig in and try to preserve the past.

Any suggestion that the audience might quite like the musicians to carry on making stuff is shouted down as 'the world doesn't owe them a living'. It doesn't, but I'd quite like them - through hard work and good ideas and a bit of luck - to be able to create enough of one to make it worth their while to focus on it.

Posted by: TomDolan [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 14, 2007 11:11 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?