— Steve Lawson (@solobasssteve) July 15, 2013
So, how does a cult musician like that become a figure of popular sport? A lot of circumstances conspired to introduce her to the larger public, from a heavy online presence to her relationship with popular writer Neil Gaiman. But the turning point came when she broke from her label, took to Kickstarter to crowd-source funding for her next project, and raised — remarkably, unexpectedly — more than a million dollars. This constituted an actual general-interest news story, in which Palmer’s accomplishment could be touted as proving something important concerning “the future of music.” (That claim’s a questionable one: It’s been clear for a while now that artists with major-label histories and established audiences can gather fans around independent projects, at least the first time out. So?) And negative reactions to that press were merely warm-up for the main hating-Palmer event, which arrived when she, in the course of assembling a tour, asked fans to volunteer at various stops to play strings and horns as part of her band, unpaid. This was, technically, just another facet of that intimate connection with the audience — letting them participate in the music-making, a daydream-come-true for plenty of fans. But when you’ve just raised more than a million dollars from fans and sold them tickets to your show, it’s evidently poor PR to ask them to perform for free — and even more unseemly to claim, when criticized, that you literally can’t afford to do otherwise. It’s also an open invitation for curious parties to investigate your finances, and when other musicians did so, they tended to be baffled. Palmer suggested she was returning her Kickstarter windfall to fans in the forms of lavish gifts for donors; others saw her rough budget breakdowns as a festival of profligacy and unnecessary costs. There were also, as a matter of routine, those strangers who didn’t much care either way but found Palmer’s entire manner of being vaguely off-putting.
Glass could legitimately change the way we interact with real-life events. No matter what, holding a smartphone during a concert is distracting, not only for the person holding it, but to the rest of the people in the audience. As the show went on, and JT played hit after hit, more and more people were recording videos with their smartphones as I watched the show and captured moments with Glass. Even though I was bobbing my head and dancing to the music, the headset stayed put — there were even times that I forgot I was wearing Glass altogether.
Wearing Glass let me near-instantly record a video or snap a photo whenever I chose, and alleviated the inconvenience of reaching into my pocket for my iPhone. It’s much easier to press a shutter button on the side of your face while you\’re looking at your subject than it is to take out your phone, activate the camera, and snap. Glass’ wide-angle lens does a very good job of capturing exactly what you’re looking at, and you don’t need to tilt your head to frame your photos. What you see with your eyes is what you get.
“In the old world, we did cumbersome things including teams of people wearing headphones and listening to thousands of hours of television and radio programming,” but had to use proxies for what was playing in places like bars and clubs, DeFilippis said. Now, ASCAP is very reliant on technology to insure proper reporting and payments.
But MRI’s Watkins said that even though his company ties data and technology together wherever it can, “we still have about 30 people doing copyright research,” however they can through the internet and contacting people. “You still need the human element,” he said.
Most people in the music business see a side of the music world to which fans are never really exposed. When a manager or an A&R person gets a demo from an artist they work with, there’s a thrill, a moment of true discovery. You’re about to hear something you’ve never before heard. You’re sitting on potential gold, or you aren’t, but either way you’re in.
And so my question is, why can’t the fans feel some of this too? Why can’t the fans be in at the same time as those who are making these records are?
About once a month, we get an email from a researcher, journalist, policymaker, or a student asking us a simple question: how many musicians are there in the United States? Given our work on Artist Revenue Streams, it makes sense that they ask us, but our answer is the same for everyone:
There is no reliable way to measure the real size of the US musician population.
There are three particular challenges in estimating the size of the musician population in the United States:
– There is no agreed-upon definition for “musician”, nor certifications or qualifying tests.
– There is no one organization that represents all musicians.
– The government’s statistics excludes a huge chunk of the musician population by their own counting standards.