So I came across this company, Bohemian Guitars, that makes guitars from old oil cans. Apparently it’s inspired by the founders’ experience growing up in South Africa. Pretty cool stuff! I’d love to learn more about the South African music that inspired them.
“There’s nothing tawdry about offering your wares on the street. It’s how magazines and newspapers started. It is a model where the people decide and no one is in charge of the velvet rope deciding who gets to write or who gets the big writing contract or not. In some ways we’re breaking up cartels and creating a true kind of journalistic capitalism.”
Andrew Sullivan is doing some real wishful thinking here. The reason he has enough readers to even consider going it alone is that he came up through those traditional velvet-roped media, with the support of big writing contracts. The importance of traditional platforms is true for other supposedly “game changing” funding models, too: The Tomorrow crew was able to get our Kickstarter funded so quickly because we were all known for our work at a traditional media outlet. If we were a group of unaffiliated writers and designers who banded together, I’m confident we wouldn’t have made as much money. (And what we made wasn’t even enough to pay ourselves fairly.) I’d love to live in a world where all readers supported their favorite journalists directly. But the truth is they still have to find out about those journalists. And those journalists still have to hone their skills. Right now, traditional media structures are pretty crucial to both of those things.
And the same is true for music. Kickstarter et al. are great, but they’re not going to finance a long-term career.
"We enjoyed the fact that we were called to the folk festivals and we got to know Joan Baez, Dylan. We were singing strictly gospel, but then after we started hearing songs that they would sing, we saw that those songs were very fitting for us because they were singing the truth, and truth is gospel."