Music Thing is doing a week-long special on The Tiny Music Makers, a series of articles on the artists responsible for small sounds in operating systems and ads and so on. After doing the Gaim 2.0 sounds I have a pretty good appreciation of how challenging it can be to make tiny evocative sounds, so this'll be an interesting read.
Metafilter's freaking out about it, but Jason Kottke's idea of macropatronage is an interesting one. The idea is essentially that regular folks can sponsor Jason so that he can go about blogging and doing web projects full-time. The write-up:
I'm attempting to revisit the idea of arts patronage in the context of the internet. Patrons of the arts have typically been wealthy individuals, well-heeled foundations, or corporations. As we've seen in many contexts, the net allows individuals from geographically dispersed locations to aggregate themselves for any number of reasons. So, when you've got a group of people who are interested in a particular artist, writer, etc., they should be able to mobilize over the internet and support that person directly instead of waiting around for the MacArthur Foundation or Cosimo de Medici to do it.
Whether Jason "deserves" to live off of his work or not is ultimately up to fans and supporters, which to me is about as pure as it gets. If you're not big on him, try to think of an artist you love and ask yourself how much you'd be willing to pay to keep that artist doing his or her thing for the next year or more.
Donations of course aren't a new idea, but I think the micropatronage term is an interesting switch in the fan/artist dynamic. "Donations" in context of the arts sounds like a tip -- "the artist is clearly doing okay on his or her own, but here's a bit extra." "Patronage" however sounds more serious -- like the work couldn't have existed without it.
Jason's doing it for something relatively intangible too, which should be of interest to musicians as the Internet is rapidly making music intangible. If you believe CDs are dying and want artists to resist DRM, the only thing musicians might soon have left under their control is whether new music gets made or not. Maybe micropatronage fits into that somehow.
Divider - Why Are You Doing This? is the new album by Jeff Fal, who is one talented and all-round cool dude. There are MP3s you can check out and the CD is a mere $10. If you require a single, I nominate track 10: "Flagwavers".
Scott sent me The Cut-up Page. And it's a pretty great resource for anyone interested in cut-ups. My favorite one so far is Bot 002 which makes cut-ups from text it finds on the web randomly through Yahoo. It'd be extra great if you could specify the source or seed it with some text for its search query, but still it's better than most of cut-up tools I'd played with before.
I tried out the 0.8 preview release of BlogTorrent today. Pretty interesting, but I couldn't get it to work. Maybe it works better on the uninitiated, but I found myself confused and fighting with their upload tool and trying to figure out if it wanted torrent files from me or if it was going to make them itself and then how to get that over into seeding the files. I assume there'll be better documentation eventually or I'm just a dummy. I had a lot more success with Ryan's WPBT Bittorrent tracker for WordPress. Easy to install and it integrates into the Wordpress user system. It worked first try for me, though you have to use other utilities to make your .torrents and seed them. It doesn't make Bittorrent seeding a point and click experience, but it made it a hell of a lot easier, which is good enough for me.
CC Mixter is a site for material under Creative Commons sampling licenses. It allows artists to post their samples for collaboration and use in remixes/mash-ups. They've got some samples on there from the Creative Commons licensed songs included in Wired Magazine's November 2004 issue. I uploaded a highly compressed version of the sample set for Making Me Nervous and I'll probably do more when I get some time.
Coverfight is over, the results are posted and voting is now up. My cover of Ken's Super Duper Band's Too Goth Too Rock is on there (with background vocals by John Benjamin) as is Henrietta's really well done country cover of We're Not Friends. It was a neat experience though I kinda ran out out energy to obsess over the mix of my cover at some point. I was assigned a solid song that really didn't need much done to it so I did a fairly straightforward cover.
There are a lot of other really good covers in there so be sure to check them out.