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Businesses Music The Almighty Buck The Internet Entertainment

Slashdot Asks: Is the Internet Killing Old and New Art Forms or Helping Them Grow? (nytimes.com) 110

The thing about the internet is that as it gained traction and started to become part of our lives, it caused a lot of pain -- bloodbath, many say -- to several major industries. The music industry was nearly decimated, for instance, and pennies on the dollar doesn't begin to describe what has happened to the newspapers. But things are starting to change, many observers note. As Netflix CEO Reed Hastings noted at the New Yorker Tech Festival last year, the internet is increasingly changing the way people consume content and that has forced the industries to innovate and find new ways to cater to their audiences. But some of these industries are still struggling to figure out new models for their survival. Farhad Manjoo, a technology columnist at The New York Times, argues that for people of the future, our time may be remembered as a period not of death, but of rejuvenation and rebirth. He writes: Part of the story is in the art itself. In just about every cultural medium, whether movies or music or books or the visual arts, digital technology is letting in new voices, creating new formats for exploration, and allowing fans and other creators to participate in a glorious remixing of the work. [...] In the last few years, and with greater intensity in the last 12 months, people started paying for online content. They are doing so at an accelerating pace, and on a dependable, recurring schedule, often through subscriptions. And they're paying for everything. [...] It's difficult to overstate how big a deal this is. More than 20 years after it first caught mainstream attention and began to destroy everything about how we finance culture, the digital economy is finally beginning to coalesce around a sustainable way of supporting content. If subscriptions keep taking off, it won't just mean that some of your favorite creators will survive the internet. It could also make for a profound shift in the way we find and support new cultural talent. It could lead to a wider variety of artists and art, and forge closer connections between the people who make art and those who enjoy it.
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Slashdot Asks: Is the Internet Killing Old and New Art Forms or Helping Them Grow?

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  • sooooo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @12:10PM (#54051467)

    newspapers are now art?

  • I think it's done a pretty good job of boosting awareness of the most glorious form of art - ANSI (and ASCII). That's pretty old by tech terms.
    • by TWX ( 665546 )

      Ah, I still remember my ANSI animation signature from my BBSer days. Looked great at 9600 baud but those on 2400 baud complained about it.

      • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
        I use 300 baud you insensitive clod and your screen full of crappy graphics takes me 5 mins to download!
        • by TWX ( 665546 )


          A friend of mine figured out how to sign-up for Renegade boards by manually typing the ANSI escape sequences for color, so his username itself on the boards was in color. He couldn't receive mail because no one could manage to type his actual username, but he was able to be really fancy in teleconference.

          • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
            Ahh yes, ANSI, VT52 and VT100 escape codes. The memories... sometimes I just play around with telnet for fun.
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @12:12PM (#54051485)

    If the Internet is forcing a change it's only because it's one of the more recent agents of change in a long line of changes. Music at one point was by-ear and with live performance. Then it was by notation in the form of sheet music requiring someone to actually play it themselves to enjoy it. Then it was fragile media, then radio, then more durable media, then copyable media, and finally electronic media. Funny thing is, it's still by-ear, in-notation, on the radio, on durable media, on copyable media, in addition to being electronic, and each variation has had its problems with theft (originally stealing ideas, then copying sheet music without paying, etc) so while changing it's not like the old forms are discarded.

    The Internet allows for a global audience, but it does not necessarily mean that the global audience will appear, nor does it mean that everyone will value the work the same.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If anything music has a wider audience with the "Internet." The music mafia has been in decline but the artists are thriving and previous generations of music are easily accessible and discovered by new audiences now. For all of the mainstream music groups promoted via traditional means, there are thousands of lesser known musicians, singers, songwriters, and performers gaining exposure on a global scale. Better to buy direct from the artist than pay a middle man who skims the majority for themselves.

      • by TWX ( 665546 )

        That's been one of my chief complaints about the modern recording labels, they basically keep almost everything and even tend to seek compensation from artists they sign if the sales do not make-up for the initial money they paid the artist to make the album in the first place.

        I understand how making a modern album can be expensive, given the amount of post-production that seems to be required, but given that the label is choosy about whom they sign in the first place it seems rather unfair that they are in

  • Yes, some of them are hurt, many will be reduced, a few will be eliminated. But at the same time, it enables many more new markets, it creates new avenues for culture to grow, it opens options that have never existed.

    The article talks about death of newspapers (probably because they are the New York Times) and it is obvious the selling of printed paper articles has plummeted, yet more people than ever before are reading news stories. The article talks of the fall of independent bookstores, yet there are ne

  • by bistromath007 ( 1253428 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @12:18PM (#54051545)
    The music industry is defunct. Music flourishes. Newspapers are irrelevant, but awareness and engagement with current events is so high it's probably deeply unhealthy.

    Media as a business is effectively on hiatus while society sorts out how to monetize things and what problems those monetization schemes cause. Media itself is in a golden age.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sure, you can get more articles (health and political commentary especially) than before as well as more music, but all I am seeing is a glut of amateur level crap.

      Blogs with no actual content except "opinion." Yeah, that's valuable.
      Music that is Youtube videos of some highschooler playing a cover song in his bedroom on a guitar or plonking some electronic bloops on his laptop.

      The Internet has lowered to the barrier to getting stuff out to an audience, but it hasn't increased the talent level of the produce

      • by s1d3track3D ( 1504503 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @02:06PM (#54052365)

        The Internet has lowered to the barrier to getting stuff out to an audience, but it hasn't increased the talent level of the producers. Net result: easier to find more JUNK. Enjoy your cat videos.

        If your looking for junk you will find it. I come across so much genuine and unknown talent online that I really scratch my head when I hear the radio and what is being fed to consumers. I've finally realized that success is majority marketing/publicity with a dash of talent, not the other way around.

        • Yeah, if you haven't found any good musicians on YouTube, you aren't trying. I don't try and I still find some good stuff. The assertion regarding the quality of "reporting" is certainly fair, but the niche of people who sincerely want relevant facts more than bias confirmation is small enough to be economically insignificant.
        • People don't line up hitting refresh constantly for marketted junk. I may not like a lot of modern music, you may not either, but to call it junk that is surviving only through marketing is doing it a disservice. Just because it's by formula doesn't mean that a crapload of consumers don't actually like it. Heck that's why the formula exists in the first place.

          What it is, is mediated. Success in the industry depends on impressing the mediator. The mediator can then get it out to the consumers or can let it d

      • I haven't noticed the ratio of junk to awesome being any worse than what I hear on the radio. If you haven't found good indie music on youtube, you haven't looked very hard. Since I am an old fart, and miss the 80s, I have been ecstatic to see the synthwave subculture finding an audience, and inspiring new bands, Some of which are really good [youtube.com]. This is something that would have never happened under the old distribution system.

        I, for one, welcome the chances of sub cultures to flourish with massive conn
        • by Flozzin ( 626330 )

          If you haven't found good indie music on youtube, you haven't looked very hard.

          Isn't that his point though? That you have to look? He complains about a poor signal/noise ratio and you tell him to spend more time looking. Personally what has worked for me is setting up pandora with a few bands/songs I like and let it play.

  • Not remembered well. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @12:35PM (#54051697)

    For many years archive.org has operated in the background to save pages for the future but now many sites are choosing to opt out.

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @12:36PM (#54051701) Journal

    The change in art & music is not just about unauthorized file copying, but also about more choice. Content from amateurs and tinkerers is much easier to access than before, giving people cheaper and free choices.

    I myself have put my own amateur music online for people to (hopefully) enjoy without charge. And cat videos etc. compete with professionally produced content. (I don't make cat vids.) This cats into, I mean cuts into revenue options for those struggling to make a living on art, entertainment, and music. If so many entertain for free, why pay?

    The most popular acts are still doing well, in part because the fad mechanism makes those "in-style" a scarce resource. Yet another reason the rich get richer while the rest stagnate.

    Also, "physical" artists are still doing fairly well, but the Internet also makes it easier to find and get physical art from all over the world, creating a problem similar to business labor outsourcing in higher-wage countries.

    If you want to make a living in music, become a bar band. So far they haven't been able to mass outsource those. However, there's a lot of ageism in that biz, especially for females. You don't see many 50 year olds playing in bar bands, with the possible exception of very rural country bars.

    • What's old is new again. The most exciting "innovation" the internet has brought to music, for me, has been the resurgence of patronage. Have an old band that you loved which faded into obscurity 20 years ago, who you wish would put out JUST ONE MORE ALBUM? With the advent of patreon and kickstarter, you can help them put out a new album just by donating. Hey, it was good enough for Mozart!
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @12:40PM (#54051731)

    Last time I checked the RIAA isn't art. Neither is a newspaper.

    They may transport art, and they are replaced by a new medium that does it better.

    I fail to see the story here.

    • Concur 100%!

      The OP is confusing the middleman with the content creators -- I guess they _completely_ missed the memo in back 2000 when Courtney Love called the RIAA is nothing more then a bunch of thieves [salon.com]

      Today I want to talk about piracy and music. What is piracy? Piracy is the act of stealing an artist's work without any intention of paying for it.

      I'm not talking about Napster-type software.

      I'm talking about major label recording contracts.

      She also made a letter to Recording Artists [gerryhemingway.com]

      Dear Fellow Recording

  • the new age (Score:4, Interesting)

    by puddingebola ( 2036796 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @12:41PM (#54051755) Journal
    "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." It is Shiva, both creator and destroyer. Indie music is getting flattened, and the mass consumption of streaming insures only the most banal music makes money. But the internet creates new possibilities for artists also. Some artists have adapted better than others, and new communities of musicians have been created.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I currently hand make electric guitars. I would not have been able to figure out many of the details without Youtube. In addition buying special tools for it and materials is actually possible with the internet now.

      I think there are many out there that can make types of art that they just couldn't figure out how to before. The number of word working video instructions online is great, and I'm sure a lot of people learn a lot watching them.

      So I think ability to create art has INCREASED greatly from the in

      • The converse to that is that since the barrier to entry is so low now in most things is that you will get little or nothing trying to sell your craft unless you are very good, lucky or both.
        • The task of marketing is more on the musicians now. You have to get out there, play small venues, interact with blogs and your fans on social media.

          I know a small local death metal band, though one of my friends. They started in late 2015, and have played at least 30 concerts in 2016, in Denmark alone. No big tours, just whichever venues they could get in touch with. They're out there, working their asses off, interacting with people, getting their name out there.

          And now they've been booked for Roskilde Fes

    • by moeinvt ( 851793 )

      What gives you the idea than indie music is getting "flattened" by the Internet? That seems counter-intuitive. Don't streaming and downloading help to level the playing field because production and distribution costs are so much lower? Wasn't it the old model of distribution via physical media that severely disadvantaged indie music and assured us an ongoing supply of popular garbage?

      A few searches on Indie music market share seem to indicate that it's thriving under the streaming model. e.g.

      http://www. [hypebot.com]

      • The criticism has been made that the major beneficiaries from this new method of music consumption are the major record labels, not the artists. Indie artists with a limited number of recordings may indeed benefit from exposure through new streaming services, but the amount of money they stand to make is much less. David Byrne made an interesting point in a Rolling Stone article: "Perhaps we might stop for a moment and consider the effect these services and this technology will have, before 'selling off' al
        • I think the main issue is that people think you can simply put out a popular album, and then sit back and live off the royalties. That only works when the distribution channels are tightly controlled. And it mostly pads the pockets of the big record labels, not the musicians.

          Want to get exposure and make money? Get out there and play some damn shows! Interact with your fans, sell merchandise, make connections!

          If you want to be a studio-only musician, that's fine. But don't expect to get rich doing it.


    • by enjar ( 249223 )

      Indie shows I've attended sell out fast nowadays. If I don't get tickets quick they are often gone in hours. These aren't for "big" acts, either -- we are talking club shows or small theaters/arenas holding up to say 1000 people tops. Not stadium or arena shows by any means, you can see the musicians sweat from the bad seats and see facial expressions and the whites of their eyes with modestly better seats / showing up a little early.

      In contrast to today, I spent my formative years in the middle of the US w

  • TMI and Titanic and Fukushima-dai-ichi.
    Optimists...these "new voices" won't get paid.
    They will go out of business as well.
    The 0.01% already own 80% of the eyes in "news", which is why you fell for the WMD lie
    What other catastrophes await those who prefer subsidized "news" like Faux and Newsmucks and Sludge?
  • In summary, the internet is good for most art forms and reinvigorating it.

    Sure, the big companies making their profit from having a choke-hold on the distribution of art are suffering, but they had it coming. They were complacent and exploiting customers and artists alike.

    Also with the internet a floodgate has been opened and works of all quality - mostly total junk - has inundated the world. Curating the work isn't yet where it needs to be to filter out all the crap, but there are definitively improvements

    • You make good points, but "traditional art"? What the heck is that?

      I was thinking about The Devils, which hasn't seen the light of day in decades because Catholics, but is now up for streaming in a Director's Cut.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes. Art ideas propagate quite fast now.
    I am a face and body painter, and the fads for these are really fast. And face painting follows Disney and marvel ( kids face paintngs ) in a big way.
    Body painting not so much, but the trend is there. ( 3D, graffiti style, cosplay, SI swimsuit edition ).
    I do agree about sculpting and 3D printing ( CNC should be in this also, but is a bit slow in getting started ).
    Tech is also affecting watercolors, oils, and acrylic painting... and the airbrush - wow!
    Digital art is no

  • What the internet and the modern world definitely do is level the playing field. Big time. Basically everybody can have professional tools at their hand. For free.
    You can grap a guitar and spend the next three years flat, 8 hours a day, surfing youtube and learning how to play it and become an expert without ever setting foot into a classic music school.

    Same goes for digital fine art. There is an abundance of digital painters out there that are at the level of the grand masters of old and perhaps even beyond. Because they have an abundance of paint and canvas. And many of them are still students and do art in their spare time.

    You can go online and find videos of dancers no one has ever heard of and yet they belong to the best in the world because they've spend the last 4 years practicing in their parents garage in their spare time.

    You find films that would've cashed an arthouse award on the spot 30 years ago but today barely get a few thousand views - because equipment is basically free and the entire world is making films.

    What the internet does is take away the cultural hegemony of the academic field. It's not that the academic field is yelled at it's more like it's simply ignored and completely steamrolled without academic smart-alecs ever knowing what hit them. A university professor of music that merely focuses on classic and maybe two pieces of John Cage today would either have to admit that he doesn't really know that much about the world of music world today or risk being called out as being silly, stupid and ignorant. Old-school media critics know zilch about videogames and are so disconnected from what's actually happening they couldn't even form a useful opinion - allthough they sometimes do try.

    An academic definition of science-fiction literarture I found in a school book two years ago is so stupid, you wouldn't even believe it.

    Another very good example of this is the demo scene. They've been doing the worlds best multimedia artpieces for decades but are basically completely ignored by the academic world. Yet no one in their right mind would say that what the demoscene does does not constitute fine art in its highest form.

    Bottom line:
    Art is doing great. Better than ever. The concept of what constitutes 'real' art and who gets to decide about it gets shattered to bits and pieces every day though. And that is a good thing.

  • Missing from this thread are actual artists and their experiences. I know many artists, including family, who equate the bottom dropping out of their market for physical art media with the arrival of the internet. Some have managed to transition online to continue to make some sort of money, but all of the artists I know agree that the internet killed the art economy in a special way....the work, no mater how much time, effort, skill and craftsmanship was needed, became badly devalued non coincidentally wit

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson