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Why the future will be different:

Croon
Two interesting music-related pieces of news arrived recently on my electronic doorstep.

The first is that Amanda Palmer, whose excellent new album Who Killed Amanda Palmer was released in September, is having something of a difference of opinion with her record company.

Read Palmer's summary of the events here (rated Grownup for naughty words), and watch the (really pretty terrific) music video that is only part of the disputed turf here. Note that expectations about whitegirl rockstars' bodies are only part of the weirdness; pay careful attention to a contractual arrangement that puts all the decision-making power in the hands of the record company.

The second piece of news is about the artist formerly known as Jane Siberry, now called Issa. She's also got a new album out. You can buy it from her. You'll be able to download it track by track, as soon as the files go up on the site. You can pay what you can afford, whether that's the iTunes "standard" 99 cents a song, or the recommended price plus a bit to support her as she writes and tours and figures out cool new ways to spread her music around...or zero dollars, because you're broke and you still love what she does. Her music is available through a cooperative site, Sheeba, that she shares with a handful of other musicians. On the site she explains her costs and pricing plans. The new album, Dragon Dreams, is over here. (She's also generous with artists in other media: she gave us her permission to use "Half Angel, Half Eagle" as the opening credits theme for Shadow Unit.

No, Issa's not getting fabulously rich. But neither is Amanda Palmer. Issa's business model may not be the future of recorded music. But I know that Roadrunner Records' form of legal indentured servitude will require something even more revolutionary than the cotton gin if it's going to keep its skeletal grip on musicians and listeners.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
ygolonac
Dec. 5th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
Is that Leeds United video you linked to the edited version or is that the one that the record company wanted to edit?

I was specifically watching for 'the belly' after reading this and barely caught a couple glimpses. Hard to understand what the big deal is.

This sort of bullshit from record companies is part of the reason many people are no longer buying stuff from them. Hopefully those old school music business guys dry up and blow away soon.
x_mychem_rock_x
Dec. 6th, 2008 12:12 am (UTC)
That's the one they wanted to edit. Amanda stood her ground and the video was released late but untouched.

http://www.therebellyon.com/The_Rebellyon/Home.html

http://www.theshadowbox.net/forum/index.php?topic=6054.0
_twilight_
Dec. 6th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC)
The unedited produced a huge "WTF, she's got to be within her medically ideal range--probably toward the low end... and anyhow, people *listen* to music, so she could look like The Elephant Man crossed with someone who needs a crane to get out of the house for all I care," from me.
coffeeem
Dec. 6th, 2008 03:35 am (UTC)
Yeah, seriously. It makes me wonder if Queen Latifah had to smack some record execs' heads together to get them to leave her the f*ck alone. Would Roadrunner have complained if Palmer was flat-chested instead? Or is that obvious enough that she would simply never have been signed?
_twilight_
Dec. 6th, 2008 08:25 am (UTC)
I wouldn't be too shocked.

I don't know. Even ignoring individual body/face parts, if she wasn't hot overall, I wonder. And that's ridiculous because it's MUSIC, which is for listening. Yeah, image, style, and looks do contribute to how entertaining stage shows and music videos are... but I think of it as bonus points if a musician is hot, not a requirement.

And both style and image can make up for a lot if someone didn't hit the genetic (or surgical) jackpot.

But as I type this, I'm not even thinking of pretty Amanda Palmer, but people like Ric Ocasek who work with less looks-wise.
coffeeem
Dec. 6th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
Yeah, you read Roadrunner's complaint and think Palmer must spend the entire video in a bikini. Nope, maybe two seconds altogether toward the end of the song.
joeboo_k
Dec. 6th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
Gah. Amanda Palmer is playing at First Avenue tonight and I can't go! I bet that would have been an interesting show.
coffeeem
Dec. 6th, 2008 03:30 am (UTC)
I bet she's all kinds of swell live! (Or, no, that will just make you sadder. Um, ah, she does a really tame show. Yeah, that's it. Hah.)
maruad
Dec. 6th, 2008 03:53 am (UTC)
I saw her at the Pantages in Winnipeg many years ago. IIRC it was about the time Speckless Sky came out. She had two excellent backup singers with her so the harmonies were great. She was quirky and fun. Unfortunately I do not remember enough of the show now except to remember I really emjoyed it.

There is a video kicking around with her leading a cow around to the music of 'One more colour'.
maruad
Dec. 6th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC)
Jane Siberry was a favourite of both my wife and myself for years. I still listen to her early cds. The name change could explain why we never hear about her anymore.
coffeeem
Dec. 6th, 2008 03:40 am (UTC)
I love her--she's strange and funny and thoughtful.
calanthe_b
Dec. 7th, 2008 06:23 am (UTC)
She's also got a new album out. You can buy it from her. You'll be able to download it track by track, as soon as the files go up on the site. You can pay what you can afford, whether that's the iTunes "standard" 99 cents a song, or the recommended price plus a bit to support her as she writes and tours and figures out cool new ways to spread her music around...or zero dollars, because you're broke and you still love what she does.

Wow. Ax Preston's brave new world of music marketing comes to reality?
coffeeem
Dec. 7th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
Hee. I haven't read Bold as Love, but based on the summary, I think I'd better. It sounds, um, disturbingly timely. And I can use all the pointers for surviving meltdown and chaos I can get. *g*
calanthe_b
Dec. 7th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
Hee. I haven't read Bold as Love, but based on the summary, I think I'd better. It sounds, um, disturbingly timely.

...How much do I love that you recognise the books I was talking about based on one character name? :)

I have been eyeing the economic situation warily, I admit. Much as I love those books, I don't want to live in them!
desultorie
Dec. 8th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
Thank you for this post. I follow both Palmer & Siberry peripherally, and I welcome a chance to support them both. I've joined the amusing Rebellyon.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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