I stumbled on a couple of interesting articles contrasting the internet's influence on bottom lines for writers and musicians recently.
Basically if a few bright people do everything right; and open up every possible revenue stream, work long hours and if they can get their acts to tour pretty much non stop; there are still ways to eke out a living.
"Major Maker was an unknown, unsigned indie band when it sold the rights to its then-unpublished single, Rollercoaster, to be used in a TV spot for Maynards Candy. The band got a quick paycheque, and Maynards got a catchy ad that became a hit on YouTube. Everyone wanted to know: Who wrote the song?
Major Maker can thank Maynards that the single is available on iTunes and in regular rotation on radio. But you can bet they thanked the guys at Runaway Music first. As the band's publishers, Daniel Cutler and Jay McEwen solicit and respond to licensing opportunities, including ring-tone deals, commercials, TV shows and films. Publishing was once merely the administrative side of the industry; these days, it accounts for a hefty chunk of an artist's revenue."
It helps if a band like Broken Social Scene is there to build on at the beginning, too.
The money tree for writers grows a bit differently now.
"Shrinking space has definitely worked against my job satisfaction. I'm basically an essayist, though I often disguise myself as a critic or a journalist. Either way, it means that I am a long writer guy. I like to develop topics, approach them from different, often contradictory angles, and most of all, I like to polish the shit out of them so that the flow and the prose shine and bedazzle. On and offline, I find the internet-driven pressure to make pieces short, data-dense, and crisply opinionated — as opposed to thoughtful, multi-perspectival, and lyrical — rather oppressive, leading to a certain kind of superficial smugness as well as general submission to the forces of reference over reflection. I do enjoy writing 125-word record reviews though!"
For the most part, it kind of goes on like that. I've often said the world doesn't need any more writers, just more readers. Still and all, it's starting to look like a scenario where if anyone is going to prosper creating text, it helps to get somewhere first and write very well very quickly all the time.
It's just that easy.
Posted by Dave