I never, ever, ever thought I’d tell you that Courtney Love should be listened to. (Never been a fan.) If she really wrote what she said here, she did the math and calls out the RIAA and major label cartels and dot-com Mad Men VC fuckwads (oh, they’re all the same now) for strangling artists out of their rent. She spells out something that is just as relevant ten years later — especially in the new tech bubble.
Think I’ve been smoking what she’s been smoking? You tell me. You tell me if you’ve ever wanted to create, write, make something you know people want and have run up against corporate distribution mafia tactics/traditions, smelled the sweat of piracy fear from your hard work’s gatekeepers, or realized your work will never get recognition or given distribution access based on merit.
Read this transcript of Love’s talk in Salon and in place of the word ‘musician’ insert ‘writer’ ‘author’ ‘blogger’ ‘developer’ or ‘filmmaker’ or even ‘sex worker’.
This is a cultural slap I’ve been waiting for — this is one of my favorite parts:
When you people do business with artists, you have to take a different view of things. We want to be treated with the respect that now goes to Web designers. We’re not Dockers-wearing Intel workers from Portland who know how to “manage our stress.” We don’t understand or want to understand corporate culture.
I feel this obscene gold rush greedgreedgreed vibe that bothers me a lot when I talk to dot-com people about all this. You guys can’t hustle artists that well. At least slick A&R guys know the buzzwords. Don’t try to compete with them. I just laugh at you when you do! Maybe you could a year ago when anything dot-com sounded smarter than the rest of us, but the scam has been uncovered.
The celebrity-for-sale business is about to crash, I hope, and the idea of a sucker VC gifting some company with four floors just because they can “do” “chats” with “Christina” once or twice is ridiculous. I did a chat today, twice. Big damn deal. 200 bucks for the software and some elbow grease and a good back-end coder. Wow. That’s not worth 150 million bucks.
(…) I know my place. I’m a waiter. I’m in the service industry.
I live on tips. Occasionally, I’m going to get stiffed, but that’s OK. If I work hard and I’m doing good work, I believe that the people who enjoy it are going to want to come directly to me and get my music because it sounds better, since it’s mastered and packaged by me personally. I’m providing an honest, real experience. Period.
When people buy the bootleg T-shirt in the concert parking lot and not the more expensive T-shirt inside the venue, it isn’t to save money. The T-shirt in the parking lot is cheap and badly made, but it’s easier to buy. The bootleggers have a better distribution system. There’s no waiting in line and it only takes two minutes to buy one.
I know that if I can provide my own T-shirt that I designed, that I made, and provide it as quickly or quicker than the bootleggers, people who’ve enjoyed the experience I’ve provided will be happy to shell out a little more money to cover my costs. Especially if they understand this context, and aren’t being shoveled a load of shit about “uppity” artists. (…)
* Courtney Love does the math – Courtney Love – Salon.com (This is an unedited transcript of Courtney Love’s speech to the Digital Hollywood online entertainment conference, given in New York on May 16.)