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Mark Allen
Director , Screenwriter , Composer
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Indy Success Despite Piracy|盜版傷不到獨立成功

That is a great thread going in the comments of the last blog, I figured I would pick up from there and focus the question to sort of finish this "indy" trilogy blog.

Let's address the question:  Since you can't control the world and instantly stop Piracy, how can independent artists who don't want to just be poster-children for products actually make a living making music or movies?

I'm assuming that you can't fight piracy because every copy protection scheme ever mass produced has been circumvented.  If you make it so that only the elite can do it, then you're basically setting up a black market.  If you remove it altogether, you are exposing yourself to file sharing.

I'm also assuming that the net will be the main source of indie distribution.  I don't think manufacturing costs or even location come into play now.  The net is the new television with the amazing side factor that you can actually purchase through it.

First I'm going to look at something strange that happened in the software industry.  How does the worst of 3 programs became the market dominator?

There were three 3D programs.  One was made by  Alias called "Maya."  The other was made by Autodesk called "3D Studio."  One was called "Electric Image."  (For those of you who could argue with me version names and timelines, I know - I know, but bear with me keeping it simple to make the point)...   Initially Maya (and it's former versions) was hurrendously expensive and very well copy proected.  Electric Image was also expensive and very well copyprotected.  3DStudio was not as expensive and not as well copyprotected.  3DS was the worst of these.   So, how is it that Electric Image all but became obsolete, and the company that made 3DS eventually purchased Maya which was struggling?

3Ds of the bunch was the most pirated.

So, what happened was that everyone was learning this program.  Suddenly third party developers started making plug-ins to support this application.  Eventually studios who make money of their games and entertainment started hiring kids who had learned 3DS on kracked copies.  But the studios started buying legitimate copies - so did the smaller groups of people using this for profit.  So, in my view, piracy allowed a not great application to thrive.  The fact that it was priced less (for a long period of time) probably didn't hurt either.  [by the way if people are looking at 3D apps today, I still do not recommend 3DS, I would look at modo, lightwave, xsi, or maya.]

This was pointed out to underscore the idea of "getting your product out there."  In the advertising world, they have a fantastic phrase for this:  Induce Trial.  How can "we" get people to sample our goods so they come back for more.

Unfortunately while musicians can use this technique which has worked very well for crack dealers across the globe, movies will have a harder time in the current paradigm.  The idea of a trailer is as close as movies can get - which isn't really the same thing because you're not giving somene a sample of the real experience.  But being longer, larger entities, is it possible to do this?  Will movies change to a format of 2 minutes clips or 10 hours of 20 minute episodes?  Would that help?  that way you could give the first one for free.

But if they can just get the rest from friends - why would they pay?

What do people pay for?

I have a theory on this (big surprise).... The only things which make people spend money are:  Vanity, Insecurity, Fear, and Experience.

Vanity are things which make you feel you belong, or you have a high status.   Blingy things are vanity.  The fact that you bought the 50,000 car verses the 20,000 car because it makes you feel more successful.  The fact that you paid 1.99 for a ringtone that has the song of a band you want to identify with - vanity.

Insecurity - you're not pretty, thin, or rich enough - basically all the things which schemers will try to get you for in their advertising.

Fear - anything that potentially affects your health or survival.

Experience - Sex, Being "There" (travel), concerts.

You can pretty much put anything you can think of into one of these categories.

The catch is - if you can get it for free, then none of these will work.  Ringtones are a great example.  People don't know how to get things onto their phones - so while they may have a shared version of the song - they went ahead and paid for the ringtone. 

I'm not including "convenience" as something people pay for because that is a requisite to pay as my recent example just displayed.

So - how does an independent artist appeal to one of the four purchase categories so that people will actualy pay for this stuff?

An analyst said something interesting about the itunes store - it became "cool" to buy music there.  Vanity.  Vanity is a great motivator for entertainment because I believe that people do want to be identified with an artist.

Perhaps the missing link is how do you let your audience wear their purchase like a badge?  Allow for the identification? 

Next - How do you provide an experience?  Concerts are still working for bands.  In fact, in the states, this is where the money is made lately.   Somethng has happened with movies - audiences are dropping.  Has the experience wayned or are the movies just not as good?

There was a traveling movie that is a fantastic example of a movie creating an experience - www.ashesandsnow.com

Going to this traveling art show was not just seeing a movie - it was the experience of the art.  The experience of being in this fantastic museum.  It gave people something to do as well, somewhere to be, somewhere to experience time with others.  Could that be the future of movies?  Will they become "events" to bring in audience and the non-events will remain downloads on the net?

Hopefully some of these ideas which beget further ideas from the discussion in the comments.  I look forward to hearing what people have to say.

從上個部落格的評論中,我得到了很好的啟發。現在繼續討論,結束這有關“獨立”的部落格三部曲。 讓我們想想:既然你無法控制這個世界,讓它立即停止盜版,那麼那些不想只做產品代言人的獨立藝術家們,又如何靠銷售音樂或電影謀生?




有三個3D程序。一個是Alias出品的”Maya”,另一個是Autodesk的"3D Studio",還有一個叫做"Electric Image"。(有些人要和我爭論這些版本的名字和時間了,我知道-我知道,只是為了簡單化把事情說清楚)…最初Maya(和它更早的版本)非常昂貴,受到嚴密的保護。Electric Image也很貴,版權也保護得很好。3D Studio則不貴而且沒甚麼保護版權。3DS是其中最差的一個…那麼為什麼Electric Image現在已被荒廢,3DS反而買下了Maya?


是因為每個人都在學習3DS。突然第三方開始製造插件程序以支持這個應用,靠遊戲和娛樂起家的工作室也開始招聘學過盜版3DS的孩子。工作室開始買正版軟件-令小型團體的人因此得利。所以,我的看法是,盜版只助長了小部份應用發展成長。事實上,它令花費減少(在很長一段時間裏),更可能沒有傷害。[順便提一句,即便你們現在要用3D應用程序,我依舊不推薦3DS,我會用modo, lightwave, xsi或maya]。


不幸的是,一旦音樂人這麼用了,全世界高明的經銷商都這麼做,電影就要面臨艱難時期。試看意味着可以看到電影 -這不可能是一回事,因為你不可能給別人真實的體驗。那更長的影片有可能嗎?電影是否要變成一個2分鐘的剪輯或每段20分鐘共10小時的系列劇?有幫助嗎?如果這麼做的話,2分鐘的剪輯可以免費看。

但如果他們可以從朋友處得到其餘部分 –他們為什麼付錢?










所以 -一個獨立藝術家如何在以上四個購買要素中佔一樣,讓人們為他的作品付錢呢?




有一部旅行電影是電影製造體驗的絕好例子 -www.ashesandsnow.com

去看這種移動的藝術演出並不止於看場電影 -而是藝術的體驗。在這個絕好的博物館裏的體驗。它同時告訴人們去做什麼,去什麼地方,和別人去哪裏體驗時光。這可能是今後的電影方向嗎?他們將帶給觀眾「事項」還是「非事項」,僅供網絡下載?







有三个3D程序。一个是Alias出品的”Maya”,另一个是Autodesk的"3D Studio",还有一个叫做"Electric Image"。(有些人要和我争论这些版本的名字和时间了,我知道-我知道,只是为了简单化把事情说清楚)…最初Maya(和它更早的版本)非常昂贵,受到严密的保护。Electric Image也很贵,版权也保护得很好。3D Studio则不贵而且没怎么保护版权。3DS是其中最差的一个…那么为什么Electric Image现在已被荒废,3DS反而买下了Maya?


是因为每个人都在学习3DS。突然第三方开始制造插件程序以支持这个应用,靠游戏和娱乐发家的工作室也开始招聘学过盗版3DS的孩子。工作室开始买正版软件-令小型团体的人因此得利。所以,我的看法是,盗版只助長了小部份应用发展成长。事实上,它令花费减少(在很长一段时间里),更可能没有伤害。[顺便提一句,即便你们现在要用3D应用程序,我依旧不推荐3DS,我会用modo, lightwave, xsi或maya]。


不幸的是,一旦音乐人这么用了,全世界高明的经销商都这么做,电影就要面临艰难时期。试看意味着可以看到电影 -这不可能是一回事,因为你不可能给别人真实的体验。那更长的影片有可能吗?电影是否要变成一个2分钟的剪辑或每段20分钟共10小时的系列剧?有帮助吗?如果这么做的话,2分钟的剪辑可以免费看。

但如果他们可以从朋友处得到其余部分 –他们为什么付钱?










所以 -一个独立艺术家如何在以上四个购买要素中占一样,让人们为他的作品付钱呢?

一个分析家说itunes这店很有趣-到那儿买音乐变成很”酷”的事。空虚。空虚是激发娱乐最好的东西,我相信是因为人们想通过一个艺术家彰显自己的品位。 也许我们要做的是如何让你的听众戴着他们买来的东西象戴勋章?一视同仁?


有一部旅行电影是电影制造体验的绝好例子 -www.ashesandsnow.com

去看这种移动的艺术演出并不止于看场电影 -而是艺术的体验。在这个绝好的博物馆里的体验。它同时告诉人们去做什么,去什么地方,和别人去哪里体验时光。这可能是今后的电影方向吗?他们将带给观众「事件」还是「非事件」,仅供网络下载?


over 14 years ago 0 likes  8 comments  0 shares
Photo 22998
One controversial but interesting idea I have heard (I think on NPR - National Public Radio, US) was this: If we invision that a large majority of media is transfered via the net - then the service providers would pay royalties and then charge their clients a flat fee or by bandwidth. The clever aspect of thisis that internet service is not something people are going to easily be able to steal (except via wireless and I'm sure everyone would suddenly password their wi-fi's)... so you create a situation where in order to access the data, you need to pay for it or your service will shut down. This would stop teenagers from being persecuted by the governemnt for something they've not really seen as something wrong. The challenge would be the registry of who gets the royalties - but this has been the model for radio for many years with the ASCAP and BMI keeping track and splitting royalties.
over 14 years ago
Photo 22998
But Patrick - that model worked when people actually bought CD's. The problem is... they're not buying CD's anymore... so they are being promoted for people to go "oh, I'll get that from my friend." This goes back to the primary concern that if artists are not supported by their audience directly - they will start being supported by commercial interests and that's a dangerous threat to the concept of independence.
over 14 years ago
Photo 22998
Patrick - watched that documentary. It was interesting. I think it's a slightly different issue. i think artists affect culture and the last quote on the documentary is true and maybe a good warning - that if you overprotect, you are risking strangling the development of culture. On the other hand, I think there is a vast difference between all of these issues (listed in the order of concern: Mass Production Piracy vs. Piracy / bit-torrent / sharing with friends vs. Sampling Sampling in it's purest form would be almost an homage. However, when people take entire songs and just rap over them - that's not a sample, that's using the song. It's the icecream analogy. If you sample something at an ice cream store - they don't give you the whole soop - just the little spoon. :) I should mention also that the real point of this blog trilogy was twofold: 1. To bring up a side of the piracy argument that doesn't get much attention - which is the potentially unexpected result. 2. If accepting that there is nothing you can do about piracy - then create some ways artists can support themselves outside of the traditional means without becoming employees. The discussion has been interesting so far. It's a huge topic for our generation to address.
over 14 years ago


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