Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Harvesting Freebies (FOFC 3)

Part 1. Part 2.

A major topic for artists, to the point of anodynation--decades of repetitive reassurances through books, seminars, internet, et cetera--is the idea that the important mediators in any given field are too busy, too important, too just, and/or too idea-laden to have any interest in stealing your song or your style or your screenplay or your whatever, therefore just send it in for them to part out, since you'll be fairly compensated like a lottery winner if they like it. Plus, no one achieves success without a lot of rejections first, and it helps you grow, and it helps you develop, and send your resume to every company on LinkedIn and you'll eventually get that job.

Try it out sometime if you've never dealt with any of these fields. The communal consensus--like that found in both automobile enthusiast industry publications and mysteriously popular private venues regarding the incomparable desirability of this year's model cars--is to get yourself out there by climbing the mountain of success by investing in your future by letting a bunch of people have unprotected and unconfirmable access to your work. For a generic international take, read some of the How to Sell your Song Guide for Idiots type stuff, or, for a generic lowdown real person take, browse postings on popular sites by authoritative nobodies (like me but with a C.V.-equivalent posted and maybe some links that lead or that once led to workshops/revivals) about how to bootstrap your way to success. It's a powerful pull, a longstanding duh, that anyone's job as a modern creator is to violate all imaginable laws of worldly economics and/or business by letting the world have that type of access to one's product based upon the unverifiable success stories of people who were once nobodies at home like you and then became pop sensations through the marketplace's ability to recognize and fairly reward the original quality for which it hungers.

Today's internet equivalent is tragically giant in its continuation of old memes. Think the now-stereotypical innocent young girl who goes to Hollywood looking to become a star, falls under the wings of an adviser, bites the bullet, and screws her way to her first role (a la "They weren't big shots, they were nothing but tricks"), only to learn that those kinds of transactions aren't contractually guaranteed, and that their bodies/ideals are mostly fringe benefits for small-timers, since the powerful ones prefer bonding via preselected children rather than the unreliable produce of the bus station and airport. The tragic stories among earnest artists who've headed to Manhattan or L.A. over the past century (it's currently early 21st century Terra), and the amazingly pervasive social encouragement for them to trade their bodies and/or their effort for unwritten option contracts, are connected to all stories of labor, albeit on the completely unorganized end; the coal miners have suffered thoroughly, yes, but somehow the teenage girls weren't even getting paid a pittance for their end of the deal. Whose story is more tragic? We'll not know on this side, but economically speaking, greater tragedy goes to the teenage hopefuls who, contra the miners' experience, weren't even paid for being molecularly and/or mentally destroyed.

Since robotics are still insufficiently precise, and since consumers still exercise the spectra of choice-ability to allow their preference for some form of perceived human contact to affect purchase decisions, many companies still need some form of asses in chairs, ergo traditional-career-based social networking yet persists as a more plausible model (sic) than art-breakthrough networking. The tangible ineffectiveness of traditional-career-based social networking makes this statement seem laughable, but your chances of getting a job you found on the internet are, however deplorable they may be, higher than your chances of your screenplay becoming a movie (with you paid/credited for it) based on submitting it to internet fora.

The more pervasive, more effective 21st century variation is similar, but instead of "sending it in," or begging the local DJ to play it, we're encouraged to put it up on a prominent internet hub where there is even less chance of proving that so-and-so was ever aware of it, and where the crop volume is so high that you have a small chance of noticing it even if a part of it contributes to a profitable venture. For the generation of "newer" products, a.k.a. creativity-related fields, today's firms are phasing out the direct plagiarism model.

Consider the evolution of western art, post-Nicean invasion. Initially, financiers and their pet inbred aristocracies controlled creative types through funding. In order to have access to markets, artists had to sculpt or paint (or otherwise create in some form) things lords liked enough to pay for.

Those who deviated from financier wishes in the beginning achieved nothing except mockery; those who did so, or threatened to do so, subsequent to achieving fame could be removed, thus the "troubled lives" of artists to this day. American rockers, for example, drink and do stupid things, like all other Americans, but often need to be rendered speechless by their handlers; their supposed fast lifestyles, testified to rigorously by the industry and those still on its leash, construct normative messages meant to plausify the removal of dissenting products when they're too young for their disappearance to be assumed due to "natural causes." We drug ourselves both legally and illegally while simultaneously lamenting and forgiving the lifestyle that supposedly robs us of what we like. If you've caught on to how the media now portrays the European self-inflicted death rate as due to "meth" and "heroin," while the African group-inflicted death rate is due to "gangs" and "poverty," you might see a correlation between the calls for laws/programs to fix those problems, and the crocodile tears shed over Cobain eating a shotgun all on his own without any help whatsoever, simply due to drugs and music and fast lifestyles. (Seriously, if you "make it" and dare contemplate telling anyone about what it's like to make it, you lose your card and they either kill you or force you to make pro-WW2 movies.)

The nobility-based system resulted in the flood of Judeo-Nicean art that, under occupation pedagogy, forms the corpus of "western" achievements. Paganism was politely tolerated, phased out over the centuries, like freedom of association or execution of child-rapists. Rabbi after zombified rabbi, Mary after honorably ovaryless Mary, Adam after perfect Chosen Adam, were sequelized, like so many African Bonds, in order to gradually swallow up earlier cultures. The Europeoid's low time preference (as compared to more farseeing species) and traits of visual-communal reference made them easy prey (on a versal scale, a couple millennia to exterminate most vestiges of an earlier culture is considered fast and easy, indicative of low subgroup resistance) for this top-down approach. Once the relevant conditions could be met for all goddesses being replaced by Mary and all history being replaced by the Torah and the Nicean Gospels, earlier salon.coms began funding only non-pagan art, and remembered-culture was adjusted.

Creators during the openly-nobility-based period, though steered in certain directions, were still "creators," and some could comment upon, sign, and otherwise receive direct personal credit, by their contemporaries and by later generations, for their own work. The cultural losses of the occupation are untrackable; the more cogent artists who didn't slaver at the chance to spend decades rendering only the occupation text's plagiarized characters received no audience, and their work either was not produced or is not accessible (except inasmuch as it recurs through genetic memory, but that's beyond the scope of this essay).

With the spread of communication technology--not in itself a bad thing, anymore than other technology, but bad in the sense that it increased the occupation's dominion; be wary of the mentally neutered occupation zealots who decry progress as the cause of badness--the prior model shifted. Aristocrats no longer needed to deal directly with artists.

Use music as an example of art, and use Mozart and Cobain as examples of earlier changes--not due to parity of skill, worth, or influence between the two, but as examples of product. Mozart was a child of a court retainer, and when he proved skillful, he was bounced around Europe in the employ of various churches/nobles. He met firsthand many of the nominal world leaders who produced his work, and his genetic line had been cultivated, making him one of many speculative court assets that paid off. Less successful investments than Mozart still offered positive returns; they ended up teaching, producing less-popular stuff, playing at parties, or joining someone's orchestra, which still provided courts a major cultural and financial return.

By Cobain's time (or that of any other wealthier and/or more impressive latter-day twentieth-century Terran musician of comparable success whom you prefer), Cobain wasn't meeting the Bank's presidents or senators, nor did his popularity need to be established by the public patronage of celebrities. Performing directly for a church or lord was replaced, gradually, with increasingly modern churches and lords identifying artistic "trends" (responses to pedagogically instilled subconscious narratives, e.g., "generalized alienation"), and exploiting intermediary producers who would select moldable talent. Once talent had been molded, the news could notice how popular it was, causing it to become popular, for better or for worse. The artist(s) in question would be rewarded--a comparably small expense considering the total gains of the product--and the normative reinforced. Court scribes, having noticed and popularized and lionized Cobain, could then circlejerk his work as "the voice of a generation," or other such self-proving media banalities. To people unable to envision the opportunity costs involved, or offended by the implication of their lack of absolute perceptive power, the thought that any given artist so-crowned wasn't the voice of a generation, or somehow inherently meaningful without the press declaring it so, is offensive because it threatens the "things are pretty okay in this regard" need.

Now look back at Mozart. Between him and Cobain, we see major changes in the development of artistic produce. Firstly, Cobain didn't need to become popular by being known as performing for the pope, the duke, or their modern day equivalents. That function had been delegated to local producers who networked with local press to create/spotlight a trend that would go nationwide, increasing demand for the product. Like Mozart in the 1700s, Cobain in the 1900s might have earned notice simply by people walking past him playing on a street corner, and each of them to some point deserved that notice; Mozart, though, like Cobain, could've ended up as simply "that weird little guy who sometimes plays cool stuff at get-togethers." His producers held ultimate power over the scope of the creative force. With Cobain, though, smaller fish could do the jobs that once took bigger fish. More important Bank frontmen--literally, popes and dukes, rather than their 1900s equivalents of personal assistants to personal assistants thereto--had to make in-the-flesh appearances and endorsements so that random bourgeois and peasants would express an interest in that new sensation.

More importantly, in order to have a Mozart, thousands of potential Mozarts had to be cultivated. Mozart's father, mother, and six prior siblings had to be provided for solely on the artistic merits of his father. Mozart nursed, grew, ate, and schooled under the auspices of musical investment from the lords who later profited by him. Cobain, by contrast, came from a laboring family of no particular patronage. That family had to finance his growth and education separately, while later producers could profit at least as (if not more) significantly from the end result. Better for them, they didn't have to raise thousands or millions of Inadequate Cobains in order to get one Adequate Cobain; all they needed to do was select one of the Adequate Cobains that had been externally generated, and sell it. (This isn't to say that the Cobain we know of is not special or worthwhile, but that, absent the industry's barraging influence, a fair marketplace might have found value in other grungy little guitarists, too. Locating available space for such collective attention could be done in the absence of the current mediators as easily as cutting a governmental budget absent the same influence.)

This process is similar to the economic model whereby Banks do not need to engage in identifying future trends in land development; instead, they deny developmental rights to all competing parties, then use zoning to permit connected developers to acquire the choicest parcels in regions where other development has occurred. In much of Europe, the Bank has employed concepts of "aristocracy" to do this. A noble line may, for example, hold theoretical rights over "hunting" in forty thousand acres; therefore, no one else may hunt there, or more importantly, build, live, farm, mine, hold water rights, et cetera. These private preserves can later be sold at a premium, as all organic development is restricted to open areas, providing for an effect akin to planned technological obsolescence as populations grow (because growing populations need somewhere to live, ergo the privately held land can be sold by those who artificially removed it from the market). The geography of Canada and the United States allowed for a more cunning exploit of this principle. Too much land was initially available for the Bank to fully zone and develop it. Therefore, territory was annexed in conjunction with setting aside vast swathes for "nature preservation" (of various living and unliving things, including arbitrarily interesting native species and/or geological features), which is released at a slow drip only once investors have seen where marks show interest. Like the narrative that brilliant economists at central banks prevent panics and stabilize currency, or that corporate executives add value to the marketplace equivalent to their salaries, the lie is made evident when developers show they can't actually predict where people will want to live, ergo they must remove all open land from the marketplace until they know where people will buy it at a premium--ergo their system is a lie; they aren't actually good at predicting anything, nor interested in preserving nature, but are, rather, afraid that there might be clever people out there who invest in that vital future railroad junction, and will then only sell it for its fair market value, not for private betterment. Exterminating an "Indian" tribe that claimed to live in a flat location was permitted, while tribes living in mountainous locations were given "reservations." These lands were barred from sale to or from any entity except "the government," thereby preserving the mountain property for later resort or high-value residential development, and the prairies for later low-value residential or industrial development. Nineteenth century Canada's nigh-metrosexual interplay with its own "native peoples" is more apologetically noxious than America's comparatively blunt nineteenth century stance, and, like so many things un-American, focused more on later evil than on current; land specuation, though, is a topic for another time.

Return to music; to Mozart and Cobain. Cobain in the twentieth century was almost as lucky as Mozart in the eighteenth: Cobain and his family had to wholly finance his own life and musicianship, but he plied his trade in an age in which live performance still existed, e.g., an age in which acting (lip-syncing and pretending to play instruments) was considered more vulgar than it was in, say, 2019, 2009, 1999, et cetera. Ergo his musicianship capability was relevant to his role. He was more an "artist," able at least to perform in groups, in increasing contrast to modern actors, the scripts of whose performances are not only purchased behind the curtain, but performed in a manner which is not verifiably by the actor(s) in question. Cobain's musicianship was not as relevant as in Mozart's time--where vocalists, for example, lacked the technology to contractor- or self-backup through reverb and were often forced to build relationships and learn to perform with other vocalists--but still relevant. Video killed the radio star less than the phonograph killed Beethoven, in the sense that artificially-duplicated culture permitted the Bank to increase net profits by eliminating investment in the stock of court artists who had formerly been paid to breed children for those skills in hopes of generating good returns on a small percentage of them. People who still attempted to be artists without being selected to disseminate mediators' message and give them a cut increasingly became targets for Bank mockery (you can click through that to the ✡/inbred [sic] Christopher Guest. The saying "every. single. time" is here again relevant).

Between Mozart's and Cobain's respective time periods, artists who weren't properly born to court assets (Mozart) or weren't able to bumble their way into local clubs (Cobain) were encouraged to self-finance their own ventures--not as artists, but as businessmen promoting a brand. The Bank's theft of the airwaves via government censoring of dissenting radio companies demolished what would have been a proto-internet freedom of millions of communal, family, local, and standalone anti-Bank stations. The theft also eviscerated music and musicians in a foreshadowing of what television, then the internet, then thinkspace, would later do. The idea of a band, and a band's name, had to come into play in order to allow for a product that didn't depend solely, then little, then at all, on an individual's (or a group's) skill/talent/musicianship, but instead an easily-recognizable marketing term. More importantly, to reach "anyone," the artist had to begin approaching the mediators to whom had been delegated the Bank's power to control airwave access. Artists no longer had to perform for nobles/clerics, ergo nobles/clerics no longer had to be seen eating McBurgers in order to generate popular interest in McBurgers. Instead, the technological glamour of the radio station, and its more-transferable power over "the market" (the marks), was to be appealed to: artists were encouraged to grow and feed themselves on their own, learn their instruments on their own, develop a repertoire on their own, and then provide their product for free to the very mediators whose business it was to maximize income and minimize expenses with regards selling ads decorated by new music.

The above rubric is exemplified economic insanity. The fox guards the henhouse; the wallet inspector is an actual respected governmental position; the slaver-merchants are running the treasury. None of these descriptions--the metaphorical fox nor the literal thieves and slavers--are exaggerations, but even many people who understand the nature of fiat currency loaned to the permanently indebted taxpayers fail to see the similarity between occupation finance and occupation art. What would rationally immoral economic actors do in such a situation? Simple: they'd plausibly alter choice submissions and sell them under copyright without need to pay the original submitters. And so they have, since the unprotected submission was, like other once-inconceivables--say, mandatory state-supervision of childhoods--made to seem ordinary. Cobain's era brushes against the last few decades of partially actualized performance, where artistry, rather than show business, still retained tiny pieces of relevance.

The business model of consumers paying mediators for other consumers' goods and services grows more efficient as the internet grows. Now, investment in thousands of crappy little clubs and thousands of crappy little bands may drop to zero. In order to achieve success, the musician is supposed to share her/his product for free on the internet. Key lyrics, imagery, and musical components--selected melody, harmony, rhythm, et cetera--must be made openly accessible to advertise a product which costs money, when the original creators lack the media power to produce the artificial consensus of (real or fabricated) prior adorers and purchasers that drive most art sales. Marketable product components are now generated with zero investment, and unknown hordes of musicians receive zero credit for a melody that a bunch of formerly jobless BFA contracted mixers can turn into a professionally prepared hit for a genre-appropriate puppet to perform. Everyone was influenced by someone, so any uncanny similarities between a low-bit-rate acoustic sample dug out of the nobody internet, and a 99-cent mp3 bestseller, can be attributed to Johnny Cash or Shakespeare--an eventuality defense that has rarely, if ever, needed employ. The accustomization of the consumer to systematic powerlessness has made it redundant to not merely give up hope of recovering something that is stolen, but to, rather stockholmishly, produce it for the thief without being asked, and to be glad for the privilege of being part of it all. Ergo this; ergo the contributory nature of the product sold to profound fiscal effect by the great mediators.

1 comment:

  1. I'll make out with you for free. Heck, I'll pay!

    PS I am really surprised random shootings are not a lot more common. The distraction/soylent regiment is truly doing wonders.