Posted by: Brian Hibbs on November 28, 2012
I think I will have some reviews up Very Soon (maybe even today, if I follow the plan in my head), but in the meantime, here’s a little link bait of stuff that’s been sitting around in my browser and made me think a little or a lot:
The first link you’re probably already seen and read, since everyone else has linked it, but I was impressed by Jim Zub’s analysis of costs for printing comics. The reason I bring it up here is that I think that it needs to be completely underlined that most of the other legs of the chair ALSO make very small amounts of money from straight publishing in the kind of low circulation world that Jim accurately describes — publisher, distributor, retailer, none of US are making any money from 5k-and-under books either. In fact, you might recall that my last Tilting was about how even books selling under 30k are breaking the periodical market at this point for the big publishers. The problem is the same at the bottom end of the ecosystem — too many people putting out too much material that’s only marginally commercial, and since we don’t have any (good) filter for access-to-the-market, the stuff that’s actually got a chance (like SKULLKICKERS!), gets crowded out for anyone without the fortitude to play the Long Game (and, let’s be realistic, even then…)
A lot of people in Zub’s thread are going “hey what about digital?” and while this is not strictly the same thing, I want to make sure that people say this essay by Damon Krukowski of the band Galaxie 500 about what “streaming” services generate for musicians. I have to imagine that the economic picture on TV and film, be it through something like Hulu or Netflix or whatever, is pretty equally bad. My favorite paragraph is this one:
“Or to put it in historical perspective: The “Tugboat” 7″ single, Galaxie 500′s very first release, cost us $980.22 for 1,000 copies– including shipping! (Naomi kept the receipts)– or 98 cents each. I no longer remember what we sold them for, but obviously it was easy to turn at least a couple bucks’ profit on each. Which means we earned more from every one of those 7″s we sold than from the song’s recent 13,760 plays on Pandora and Spotify. Here’s yet another way to look at it: Pressing 1,000 singles in 1988 gave us the earning potential of more than 13 million streams in 2012. (And people say the internet is a bonanza for young bands…)”
I also really liked this post by Hilary Smith discussing how an author or a work’s social media profile doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with its sales. PARTS of the promise of digital are clearly a chimera.
I suspect everyone who comes here is also a Beat regular, and has thusly read Grant Morrison’s response to the allegations that his work is derived from Alan Moore’s, was, I think, my favorite read of the week. If you haven’t already discovered it: you’re welcome.
Finally, I was mesmerized by this post on Rock, Paper, Shotgun of how video games can open you in astonishing ways to new worlds. I thought it was a powerful and touching piece.