July 2009

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Not sure why I have such a bug up my butt about the whole Anderson “Free” thing. Certainly, the well-documented accounts of near-plagiarism/sloppiness (is there a difference?) didn’t help, but it’s more than that.

I suppose it relates back to my general lack of time for those pontificating from the sidelines. I’d guess my patience for this moves with an inverse correlation to how far away I am from the sidelines. Right now I’m just so incredibly not even knee deep, but up to my eyeballs deep in the middle of trying to make various businesses work – businesses where there is real content, created by real artists, for which there is a real audience – that someone telling me to embrace “free” or some such variant just fatigues me to no end.

Let me be clear, if I thought this would work, not only would I do it, but I’d shout it from the rooftops.

Happily, some others who haven’t sipped the Kool Aid seem to be calling Mr. Anderson out. Here’s Janet Maslin:

“After beating the drum for giveaways throughout most of his book, Mr. Anderson eventually acknowledges that his idea is in fact not viable. Such are the perils of his sloppily constructed sweeping argument.”

See, you get to make sloppily constructed arguments and sell books. Guess what you don’t get to do: Make sloppily constructed business moves and stay in business. Heeding the advice of Anderson et al. would prove disastrous to people who rely on this “advice.”

Unfortunately, the people who buy books such as this one are precisely the ones least adept at discerning good advice from horse-shit. People – artists, for example – who, through no fault of their own, have no real business training.

This is why it pisses me off. It seems another example of taking advantage of the artist. It’s not really that different than the slick record label guy/producer/whatever who makes the artist feel as if they should trust him, and then takes their work/money.

Ok /rant.

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