torsdag, januari 31, 2008

Don't come around here no more

Stop calling us. Stop mail us. Just stop with what you are doing and listen for a minute.

Yes, we are talking to you, journalist. We have answered your questions regarding the 'downloading' scenario for at least three years now. We often talk to you at great length. We can notice that you are curious and often possess great analytical power and wit.

However, when you finally deliver your piece 'on filesharing' for print or the airwaves, all that talk, all that jazz, seem to be lost. It's the language of media, we know. You have to be 'pro' or 'against' something. You need to sell papers, get viewers, listeners, need to find people with strong opinions and make a fuzz about 'the issue'. But we are tired of it.

You see, in the real world, life goes on. There is progress. At blogs, between real people, nuanced and informed debate take place. On the more official side of things, in the broad massmedia outlets and in the music biz though, there are a complete stalemate. It's noizy people arguing like childs. Going on in a rethoric fashion bending facts however they want, to fit their fake theories, all in the pursuit of their own special intererests(as in = PAYCHECK).

This is not an issue to take lightly. Go ahead, please, pretty please with sugar on top, argue like idiots over building a mall here or there, about having privatized day-care or not, over giving grades in 7th class or not, over just any 'issue', but please, dont do it about this one.

This issue is about our whole culture. You know, that itsy bitsy thing that separates us from being ants. This is fucking important, ok?

In 1999 we downloaded music in big fashion for the first time. Since then it's been an endless stream of music, movies and words with absolutely no end. In front of us at the office there are five external hard drives at a total of 2.4 Terrabytes all completely clogged up with music and movies. Behind us are another room filled up with 2500 vinyl records and about 4000(no idea really, too many) CDs. That is, basically what it looks like when someone has had best of both worlds. Younger people might identify more with the 2.4 TB thing and older with the 2500 vinyl records(you do so bad want to come over and check them out dont you).

Anyways, what we are trying to point out is that the way culture is built today, is through filesharing. There are loads of things filesharing has had an impact on. Irreversible impact. Like how one builds ones identity. We remember the days of the 80s and 90s. The subculture of then seem to be half the mainstream today. The impact on identity might be the strongest impact filesharing has made. It's not your friends older brother that influence you anymore, it's the random and haphazardly downloading of culture that shape you.

Downloading of music, movies, games and programs is only one side of the story as well. On the other hand there is communities, blogs, websites with loads of information, free information of high and low(THE lowest) quality everywhere, all the time and it's increasing by the minute. It goes hand in hand with the downloading of music, movies, programs and games. It's stressful, highpaced, superficial and at times very rewarding. It's a world of culture under ongoing change at a level so basic that it probably will have replaced the old system completely in a couple of years. 4 years, counting from last thursday, is our guess. The change is exactly like the change when copernicus told people that the universe doesn't spin around the world. It's exactly like that. 9000 years ago, you built your cultural universe bit by bit at a pace painfully slow, like your own little Lego cathedral of culture. Today it comes crashing down upon you like the Niagara falls while you desperately try to keep up, going up for air, trying to focus, organize your thoughts until the waterfall just thunders down your neck hurling you down beneath the surface again.

And all the time you are being directed to new and newer pieces of technological equipment more and more perfect in style and function to handle your downloading life.

We cant remember if it was Stalin or Lenin that said something like "Wish for that you don't live in a time of changes". Lucky for both Stalin and Lenin, they are dead today. Luckily as well for a brave russian poet opposing the regime, the DIY-arsenal and infromation channels at hand is far more advaced than when Stalin and Lenin ruled supreme. Maybe a bit unlucky for that poet though is that politicans from all countries are lining up to CONTROL AND MONITOR us. Maybe that is a bit lucky for the poet since then the poet has something to oppose. However, there are a lot of unjust things in the world to oppose, so the poet can probably live without that CONTROL AND MONITORING. Just thought we should point that out, the 100% uneasy feeling we got that the CONTROL AND MONITORING thing is not the right way to go.

Anyways, back to us know. We wont be interviewed anymore. Practically all interviews so far has been pretty backwards and non-constructive. Even the lengthy ones. Sorry for dissing you like that DN, SVD, Aftonbladet, Expressen, GP, Sydsvenskan, SVT, SR, Fokus, DI and all you others that has phoned, mailed and met us. But it's the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth and you need to get your act together. You see, the people know shit by know. They don't have to be told things over and over again. They are tired of it and they want to move on.

This doesn't mean that we wont make our voice heard. We will, just that it will be at our initiative and at platforms where our thoughts doesn't goes unheard. Or, at the minimal risk that a journalist actually sets up some form of journalistic piece that looks like it will make things move forward, we will of course be happy to chat! We actually do have some suggestions of how media should approach the subject. Here are two ideas:
1. Write 200 pages full of text about it during one week in a daily newspaper.
2. Air 40 hours of serious interviews and debate during one week in national television.

Repeat x 3

Until then, thank you very much for your interest and hopefully you will get better at your job soon.

By the way, the swedish journalist Anders Mildner wrote a great text(a rare exeption to the rule in the media) the other day about some of this stuff we just wrote about above. We could link to it, but why bother. Here's the full text, only in swedish though, cut and pasted without any respect for copyright WHAT SO EVER(BUT HOW ARE YOU GOING TO EARN MONEY THEN, HOW CAN YOU BE 'FOR' THAT BLA BLA OSV. ETC. M M)

BTW, there should be "Text blogs" just like there are "Mp3 blogs". Hyperlinks, pfffft, that is so 2007.

Anders Mildner:

"Fildelningsveckan, del 3

Två val.

Det är vad medierna ger dig.

Vill du föra fram en åsikt måste du välja mellan att kalla dig pirat eller antipirat.

Debatten blir därefter. När diskussionen mallas efter tanken att debattörerna måste vara antingen FÖR eller EMOT fildelning missar journalisterna ett gäng viktiga frågor.

Komplexa ämnen kan inte diskuteras i termer av ja och nej. Det vet ju alla egentligen. Testa dig själv så får du se: Är du för eller emot invandring? För eller emot kulturbidrag? För eller emot vägtullar? För eller emot tillsatser i maten? För eller emot ett svenskt försvar?

Men om man lägger FÖR eller EMOT åt sidan ett tag, dyker det snabbt upp en rad stora frågor som kommer att påverka morgondagens samhälle.

Till exempel:

– Hur skapas kultur i dag och hur kommer den att kunna skapas imorgon? Vilka begränsningar för skapandet som inte funnits tidigare håller vi på att införa och med vilka argument?

– Vad händer med integriteten på nätet? Vad händer med den ökande övervakningen – och exakt varför ökar den?

– Vad håller på att hända med den kulturella allmänningen? Och varför är det ingen som ens nämner denna i debatten?

– Vad händer med kulturkonsumenternas rättigheter? Och då syftar jag inte bara på DRM, utan också om vad som händer när den digitala kultur som distribueras av multinationella företag går mot gratistjänster – samtidigt som den privata fildelningen förbjuds. Finns det inte en maktfråga här (mellan medborgare och stora företag) som vi missar?

I dagens SvD är förresten Google-chefen Nicklas Lundblad inne på besläktade tankegångar:

”Det är en komplex debatt. Den vinner knappast på att förenklas till frågor om upphovsrättens vara eller inte vara eller på den polarisering som nu pågår. Det vore intressant att ersätta debatten mellan pirater och antipirater med en diskussion mellan reformister och klassicister – de som vill reformera upphovsrätten och de som föredrar den precis som den är. Det är där de stora framtidsfrågorna döljer sig, snarare än i utformningen av sanktionsfloran.”

Och för den som vill se hur den här debatten ser ut i ett internationellt perspektiv, kan jag verkligen rekommendera en läsning av två texter.

Först Paul McGuinness tal från Midem.

McGuinness har varit U2:s manager i 30 år och rott hem en skivförsäljning på över 150 miljoner album. Han tar bland annat upp Sverige och Renforsutredningen.

Sedan kommer alltid lika läsvärda Bob Lefsetz arga svar.

McGuinness är intressant eftersom vi i Sverige inte har NÅGON från skivindustrin som debatterar fildelningsfrågan.

A&R-folket och skivbolagsdirektörerna har gömt sig i åtta år och skickar istället fram Ifpi. Och sedan undrar man varför inga musiker hörs i debatten? Eh, ja, är det så konstigt? Hur kan man kräva av 20-åriga musiker (som bara är intresserade av en enda sak – nämligen att spela) att de ska ta den här diskussionen om skivbolagschefer med mer än två decenniers erfarenhet av branschen inte ens uttalar sig?"

Check out Anders article with his links. Bob Lefsetz is highly recommended, he is right on the money a lot of times(although his musical taste even is beyond Mojo)