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  1.  (8972.1)
    I've been thinking a lot about my digital library lately and all of the wonderful Artists, Writers, Musicians, and Madmen that made all of those great works and how most of them haven't received a cent from me and I feel ashamed.

    Now, I do have digital copies of a lot of work that I bought in the physical form at one point or another so I guess the artists may have received something, but how much of my $8 for a paperback really made it to the Author?

    I download out of convenience. It's fast, easier to store/consume, and honestly it makes finding rare/out-of-print/hard-to-find pieces a lot easier to get a hold of.

    I know we have options like iTunes, etc, but I don't own an iPod, I use Linux, I like lossless formats and I don't want to worry about what device I'm able to use to consume my purchase.

    But, when given the option, I will almost always buy digital copies directly from the artist.

    I'd love it if there was something like Paypal where I could just go and donate / pay the Artists directly. Something like the pay-as-you-go model but available anytime. A simple "donate" button on the Artists website.

    This post ended up being a lot longer that it should have been, but I really think a lot of Creators are missing out. I can't be the only one who would be willing to go give Kirkman $5 for a digital copy of issue 77 can I?
    • CommentTimeSep 25th 2010 edited
    I suppose if you pick and choose who you want to give the money to it doesn't reflect the work invested in the comic by all the other professionals involved but then you have no choice at all in where the money from the paper article goes. It certainly would be nice to have more paid for digital content available.

    I have noticed that I download a lot less pirated music since more options for paying for it arrived. When it was just i-tunes or a subscription based mp3 service I was downloading a lot from p2p/torrent sites but nowadays I can just go to the shops where I would buy the cds from and get a guilt-free download instead. Easy.
  2.  (8972.3)
    I see what you mean about giving directly to one member of a creative whole - I guess I didn't really mean to donate to only one person if multiple were involved.

    Regarding legal downloads, I'll use the new Grinderman album as an example - I downloaded it because that is my preferred medium for music. I don't need/want/have space for cds or records. I just want the music. But I want it in a lossless DRM free digital container. Where can I purchase that? I can't.

    That vs. the newest Trent Reznor project which I don't think is all that great but I can get it in damn near any format I want.
    • CommentAuthorrobb
    • CommentTimeSep 25th 2010
    Pulley, and things like it, are going to make this much easier and feel more legit than paypal. Musicians with web-savvy friends were the only ones who seemed to do it properly before now.
    • CommentAuthorkperkins
    • CommentTimeSep 25th 2010
    So how does Pulley work? Saying something feels more legit than Paypal (which has been around for 12 years, so is pretty legit, at least in people's perceptions, after all probably more than 90% of people online have a paypal account), then linking to a sign up for beta testing, with no more details than that, doesn't exactly speak legit to me, since there's no context.
    That said, I do love being able to pay artist's directly for their work, and imagine we'll see more attempts at this, especially now with the economy in the shitter.
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeSep 25th 2010
    I suppose the problem comes when you try and pin down creators (unless they are an self-published cartoonist doing all the different jobs and you can probably already buy directly from them) - colourists and letterers often get overlooked even if there work can enhance or detract from the finished work, editors may have put in quite a bit of time to help make the comic you are reading better and designers have worked on other aspects. Equally, if it wasn't for the publisher then the comic may never have seen the light of day, especially with work-for-hire, and if they don't get anything from the money you would be hypothetically paying for the (presumably illegal) digital downloads then you could see the well running dry pretty quickly. The only workable current solution is to... buy it from a legitimate store and the money gets divided up between all the contributors. Not what you were looking for but...

    I do wonder if there is a way to monetarise the pirate downloads - people like Rapidshare have premium accounts, where you pay them for faster downloads or more at the same time and the sites tend to be filled with ads, and it see it seems... rude shall we say, that they are partly doing this by distributing other people's content illegally. There must surely be a way for the creators to get their cut of that or if there isn't for them to find a way. If you look at YouTube content producers have gone from spending a lot of time getting videos removed to one where they can get money from ads and/or links to the iStore where they can download the song the music video is really an ad for (I think there is an article in the Guardian Guide today about how YouTube has injected new life into the music video). Orrrrrr you could have a "donate" button somewhere that people could send a micropayment to the creators if they liked what they read/listened to/watched, although I can't see many publishers being happy with this as it does emphasise quality over marketing/hype ;) So I can't see the second option being something big publishers will go for (although it'd be nice to have for the smaller ones, FreakAngels gets a lot of downloads despite being free and it'd work out nicely to get even a modest trickle of money coming in from those) and the first idea is tricky because the publishers would be basically legitimising giving their content anyway for free with a much smaller revenue stream coming in (although if you could get 50c per download and there are hundreds of thousands of downloads it could add up) and it'd basically kill their paper publishing arm. The only other alternative would be... ComicsTube, a separate service that would make comics more easily available to read for free online in a ad-supported and/or donation system that would let you read a comic once in a Flash-application for free with a link to a download. The ease of availability would starve the downloaders but could you make enough money from it? It might also encourage... "stunt comics" when they do something really stupid and it becomes a must-read, so-bar-its-good title and spreads virally (can you imagine how many views The Rise of Arsenal could have got just from people wanting to rubberneck at the car crash comic?).

    On Pulley: PayPal is the big fish in that pond and only someone massive can take them on, someone like Google Checkout. If systems like Pulley work out and prove popular it is more likely they'll get bought out by one of the 2 or 3 major competitors in this field.
  3.  (8972.7)
    as both a musician and a music buyer i've come to live by the simple motto of 'Buy what you love'.
    there's no way I can afford everything I want to see or hear so i dl it but there are certain bands / directors / writers who i really want to continue making art so i support them with my money.
  4.  (8972.8)
    @ian hollowy - I agree completely but I see a problem where I want to buy what I love, but doing so requires me to have a CD. Do I mind paying artists whose work I love? Not at all. But I don't want the cd. I don't want the paperback. I want the product not the medium. But at this point I'm almost forced to get the product if I want to support the Artist.

    Maybe it's a silly issue, but for some reason I keep thinking there must be a better way to go about this.
  5.  (8972.9)
    There comes a point where... if you only want digital goods but the artists you love work in physical media... you have to ask yourself if you've become dogmatic to the point where you're starving yourself of the things you love to make the point that you're not being pandered to correctly.

    And, you know, I've gotten pissed off that artists have released something on 7" only when I don't have a working turntable. But, ultimately, it was their choice to release in that medium, usually for very specific reasons, and I have to respect that.

    You may have to question the respect you supposedly afford these artists.
  6.  (8972.10)
    Part of it is being idealistic and dogmatic, but I guess for me it keeps coming back to practicality. I don't have room for a thousand cds anymore and it feels strange to buy a cd just so I can rip it to flac and then try to resell / give away the disc, when I can more easily click a few buttons and wait a few minutes.

    And I do question those who cling so thoroughly to the methods and models of the past. A lot.

    It's especially been on my mind since your recent post about going digital - because I was just talking with a good friend of mine the other day about that very thing. With so many laptops/tablets/pdas/smartphones it has become easier than ever to release/share/consume artwork. I can see a time when artists work directly with writers and editors to release challenging comic books on their own terms - and make a profit!

    Now if only your success with Freakangels could convince a few others to take the leap.
  7.  (8972.11)
    I do question those who cling so thoroughly to the methods and models of the past.

    that seems a loaded statement.
    am i clinging to the past for prefering to release my music in a physical medium and for prefering to buy albums in that way also (my absolute favourite format remains vinyl).
    I understand your point - i recently ripped and sold almost my entire dvd collection for space reasons - but surely it is the artists choice if they want to continue utilising models that they trust or prefer.
    I really hope that new models evolve that allow artists to profit from the digital age to a greater extent but i don't believe these will in any way invalidate previous formats.
  8.  (8972.12)
    An interesting paradox for sure. We all love the artist’s but the fact remains that I haven’t purchased, or even touched any of my CD’s in years. I do however follow the “Buy What You Love’ motto. The digital world let’s me do my research but if something really grabs me I like to put it into a physical collection. This has saved me a lot of space and money as I used to have something like 150 VHS cassettes full of crappy movies I wasn’t able to preview or see otherwise. Now I have less than 20 DVD’s, one small shelf of hardcover literature and graphic novels ( nope no monthlies any more). I also made a point of collecting my absolute favourite music on vinyl, and again have less than 20 of them. As much as all this work enhances my mundane existence I doubt the artist’s got any of my money though ( except Dave Sim and hopefully Warren on my Transmet collections).

    @ Warren, I've noticed Avatar sells Freakangels on paper, but everything else here is free ( and thank you very much), how does Whitechapel work?
  9.  (8972.13)
    Whitechapel is donated to the world through the kindness of William Christensen and Avatar Press.

    We could probably press harder to monetise it with merchandise -- and I have to drop a note to William, actually, to see if there's any of that stuff left in the Avatar compound -- but, basically, it costs money that Avatar pays.
  10.  (8972.14)
    People need to keep in mind that not all creative types want to sell directly. I don’t sell my typefaces directly because I have no desire to set up a business, build an online store, do a lot of extra bookkeeping, create a better web site, do more marketing, etc.. All of that stuff is a big fucking pain in the ass, and a lot of it isn’t cheap. If you live in a state or municipality that has an ugly bureaucracy to deal with it’s really ugly. This is why so many indie bands just sell their music on MySpace. Direct sales make sense if you’re Radiohead and you can just toss $100,000 to a design firm and let your accountant run the whole thing through a private company set up as a tax shelter. For the rest of us they’re usually questionable. I choose to let other people deal with all that work and cost and I rarely feel like I’m the one being exploited in our business relationships.
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2010
    @James Puckett
    Fuck yes I concurr! Managing a professional shop with cherry on top is a whole different beast and takes time out of creating. Thanks for your post. :)

    @nemomen and all:
    so if you can't buy any more than you already have, or just don't like the format would you consider donating via a donate button if you like the artist(s) works?

    Why do I ask?
    Well, I've seen some artists put up a donate button on their blog/main website and I'm curious if it is indeed something that adds or detracts. ( along the lines of: your respect towards the artist, your appreciation of their professional work)

    Personally I'd rather be commissioned to work on a project tiny or small; than be gifted money from strangers while I give nothing in return but keep on doing what I'm already doing.
    I'd rather have them spread the word of my awesome achievements and have more folks aware and commissioning me. ;)
    But then strangely putting up a wishlist of artists supplies that people can buy for me or getting a referrrers fee if someone buys a book I've reccomended to them do not give me the heebie jeebies as much as getting perceived 'free money'.

    Your two cents?

    *In case it isn't clear: I'm curious about attitude of donater/donatees
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2010

    I have donated sometimes to musicians and I would do it quite often if I wasn't kinda poor. I see nothing wrong on it. I mean, it's not as if I was getting nothing: I have downloaded their music and loved it. Same with webcomics, for example: maybe I don't need a t-shirt, but I've enjoyed the work for a long time, why shouldn't I reward the artist? I can see where your "I did nothing for it" idea comes, but still, the artist DOES make something, and implicitly, by putting up a donate button, they tell "hey, no need for it, just enjoy this if you want, but if you want to give me some money I won't feel awkward or anything and it will be nice". The artist supplies wishlist seems like a quite nice idea to me, although depending on the price of your gear, might make it hard to make small donations, which I think is an important part of the process.

    For example, I enjoy xkcd, but I don't want a print of it, because I enjoy it as a webcomic, but I wouldn't like to cover my walls on it or store it in a folder. If Randall had a donation button, I well might have sent him 6€ or something like that (I told I was kinda poor!), but as my only option is to pay 15€ for a print I have no interest in, I probably won't. Same with music CDs, although in this case I do enjoy vinyl and try to buy it when I can afford it. But still, lots of independent Spanish artists I like publish CD-only, and I would gladly pay them 5€ for their music that I have downloaded to avoid getting CDs. As a matter of fact, even if the CD itself costs 5€, I'd rather just donate.
    • CommentAuthorblind51de
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2010
    What we need is a buzzword that stands for "I steal your work but wish to reimburse you directly", and slap that word on the memos of the cheques we could mail to musicians or software companies.

    But when it comes to open-source or free content like webcomics or bloggers, I don't think they need free money for anything more than their hosting. For that they should publish something physical.
  11.  (8972.18)
    @Yskaya - That's exactly it. I want to contribute to the Artists. A simple Donate Button would be great for those who don't want to 'set up shop'. While not as massively game-changing as Warren's ideas about digital only releases, it'd be a nice step towards compensation.

    Really, this all came about when I was thinking about one of my favorite bands - Rudimentary Peni. I own, physically, all of their albums and both of the singer's books (including one of the 350 hardcover first edition with a postcard containing a handwritten piece of the story). They don't tour due to old health issues of the bassist (cancer) and the singer (schizophrenia) so I'll never get to see them live - but I still wanted to give them some more money.

    Why? I don't know. I was listening to their music and just fucking wanted to. That's why. But I started thinking about it and realized it's kind of crazy how hard it is for me to give them more money without receiving products I already own. But at the same time I can download a free application on my Droid and go to the creator's site and donate as much money as I want as often as I want.

    I actually emailed the record label (Southern Records) about all of this but still haven't received an answer. I'm curious to see if I will.
    • CommentAuthorEvJ
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2010
    Part of it is being idealistic and dogmatic, but I guess for me it keeps coming back to practicality. I don't have room for a thousand cds anymore and it feels strange to buy a cd just so I can rip it to flac and then try to resell / give away the disc, when I can more easily click a few buttons and wait a few minutes.

    If you just google the name of the artist, you'll find, 99% of the time, that they've chosen some digital distribution or other for their work. You could use that to pay them, and just ignore the actual download. That would be functionally identical to your donation idea in practical terms, with the additional effect of supporting whatever paying distribution method the artist has chosen. Supporting those distribution systems is important in itself, but mainly you're supporting the artist. Refusing to do so is dogmatic, I would say, because it is likely founded on not wanting Steve Jobs or whoever to get a cut of the money. If iTunes is how the artist has chosen to distribute, who are you to refuse to participate when you actually want to give them money? What if it was Boomkat, or Bandcamp? That's how they've decided they want you to by their music, and they're presumably happy with that.
  12.  (8972.20)

    My viewpoint comes down to: Buy the thing, and honor the agreements all the parties made when they signed a contract to work together on something. And if you still feel bad, find these people at a gig or con and physically hand them a check or money. And if that's not a possibility, these artists/writers probably have representation (or a label) who will forward letters to the person.

    I could also be completely wrong on that last sentence, though.