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10 December 2007

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Chris Becker
1.

The DearRockers link you provide is another example of the profound disconnect the U.S. public has from creative people and how they pay the bills while making art. By writing "guilty, guilty" I'm assuming you are insinuating that anyone who downloads music (without paying for it) or burns CDs should not feel guilt. Fine. I agree. But what should they feel? The DearRockers doesn't make any effort to address this real world issue. It doesn't even succeed as satire - I'm not sure what the creator of the site had in mind other than drawing attention to himself?

It also bugs me that the site is called DearRockers which (and I don't think I'm reading to much into this) insinuates (that word again) that rock musicians somehow aren't as deserving of money for their work as jazz or classical musicians. Every rock musician I know makes money on the road by selling merchandise at their shows. If you find yourself on a bill with David Bowie on night and then playing for three people the next in Ohio (my home), your income is going to go up and down. CDs or legal downloads can help.

And fans of jazz and classical and other forms of music are as "guilty" of downloading as anyone. Dave Douglas has described audience members coming up to him after a gig with a burned CD of his music asking him to sign it or a group of three or four buying just one at the gig copy to pass around. If we love it so much, why shouldn't we pay for it?

I am intrigued by new business models, by new technology and by the history and future of the recording industry. I realize this link is just supposed to be a funny aside for people (if the DearRockers site is trying to create an intelligent discourse about the above issues then in my opinion it fails). I just think that we the musicians - the people who spend money on studio gear, paying musicians and rent for rehearsal spaces - should be a little more honest and confrontational with our audiences when it comes to supporting our work.

Which, may mean not just buying a CD but making a donation to the Secret Society.

DJA
2.

Chris,

The site is not satire. These people are really sending $5 directly to the artists. The "Find an address" link really works. Some of the letters are a bit cheeky, or written with a sense of the absurdity of the situation in mind, but, you know, that's how it goes.

Chris Becker
3.

"The "Find an address" link really works."

And you believe everything you read on the net..?

DJA
4.

Chris,

The "find an address" is a Google-powered search of the http://www.fanmail.biz archives. Fanmail.biz is legit.

I really don't see any evidence that this site is anything other than what it says it is.

Chris Becker
5.

Well, what is the site exactly? And what does mailing five dollars out into the ether actually accomplish? I realized you and I (and probably most of your readers) were having very different reactions to DearRockers. The issues I ran down in my earlier post after visiting the link were what came to my mind.

I mean, I "get it" - the site on one level is what it is. But it's tone, and how it is truly a product of the medium that is the net (i.e. no interpersonal dialogue, no accountability) bothers me.

And this comes from my own recent reassessment of the Internet as a tool for promotion, dialogue and earning some kind of income. I haven't figured it all out yet!


DJA
6.

Chris,

Perhaps you read the RAQ (i.e., Rarely Asked Questions)? I took all of this stuff at face value. I think the impulse is sincere and laudable. The money isn't being sent "out into the ether," it's being sent to the artist's business address.

Having your fans send you $5 through the mail is obviously not the basis for an exciting new business model, but it's not meant to be. To me, it seems like a fun and inventive way to reinforce the idea that artists do actually require some form of financial support to get their work out there.

Chris Becker
7.

And to me, it feels like an empty gesture to me. Your a composer, I'm a composer. We disagree on this.

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