Someone is Stealing Your Stuff–Attitudes Toward Copyright are Morphing

Posted on August 17, 2011 at 7:13 am by
in Getting Ahead
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If you’re an older person with copyrighted material you probably have a different view toward protecting and publishing your creative work than a younger person. Here’s an interesting blog from Andrew Taylor in Arts Journal that was posted on 6/7/11. It seems that times could be a changin’.
It’s a reasonable assumption that theft equals loss of income. After all, if somebody has stolen the thing you’re selling, why would they turn around a buy it? But there’s an increasingly contentious debate on that assumption, and its impact on physical products, digital content, and even scholarly work.
Recent studies on Japanese anime DVDs, academic publishing, and even designer handbags have shown little impact on sales, and sometimes an increase in sales, where piracy occurs. The logic is that when something is accessible, people can find it and sample it more easily. Then they are more likely to want more, or better. In the case of the designer handbags, the knock-offs seemed to serve as gateways to the real thing. Says the article:
For her doctoral thesis, Gosline immersed herself in the counterfeit “purse parties” of upper-middle-class moms. She found that her subjects formed attachments to their phony Vuittons and came to crave the real thing when, inevitably, they found the stitches falling apart on their cheap knockoffs. Within a couple of years, more than half of the women–many of whom had never fancied themselves consumers of $1,300 purses–abandoned their counterfeits for authentic items.
As arts and culture and all forms of creative expression struggle with copyright protection and theft, it will be a rather essential issue to understand the implications with some nuance. Some artists, like author Neil Gaiman (video below), have already changed their minds about rigidly defending their copyright. Others are wondering how much effort the battle is worth.
http://youtu.be/0Qkyt1wXNlI
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What Is a Brand and Is Yours a Good One—A “Jack of Nothing,” How Diversified Should You Be?

Posted on August 7, 2011 at 10:01 am by
in Being a Professional, Musicans as Brands
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This is always a difficult question to answer and it varies from person to person.  It stands to reason that if you do one thing and take it to the max, your chances of being superior to the person who does two or more things is enhanced. With a few exceptions most musicians who are at the absolute top of their field do essentially one thing really, really, really well.  Miles Davis didn’t have to know anything about the C trumpet or playing the Petrouchka excerpt.  Itzhak Perlman doesn’t have to know the chord progression of the Blues and Lang Lang doesn’t have to play ragtime (though his handlers might have him do that someday). Nevertheless, certain musicians have been able to excel in several diverse areas of music (read: Legos).  Leonard Bernstein and Andre Previn immediately come to mind. Wynton Marsalis is arguably another in this elite group.

Breadth and depth are essential.  Take one thing to as high a level as you can as you continue to expand your knowledge and expertise in related areas.  But if you stray too far from the core of your brand, believability suffers.  Going back to Lang Lang, it could well be that he could become a good ragtime pianist.  The music is written out.  He has the technique.  He would have to capture the style.  That is believable, but Lang Lang as a first-class improvising jazz pianist, playing with Joe Lovano isn’t.  Jazz improvisation is simply too far afield from the Lang Lang brand.

So–this ends our mini-series on brands. The lessons learned herte should be to maintain the core of your brand, and keep it at a high level.  It is easy to become a “Jack of Nothing,” when you stretch too far to master it all.  But that won’t happen if you always maintain quality, grow slowly, diversify, hire the best to teach you what you don’t know, be flexible and know your competition.  We’ll talk about these in other blogs.

 

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