Radio Berkman 173: The Portrait of the Self-Published Artist (Rethinking Music II)

January 28th, 2011

Listen: or download | …also in Ogg

Big music publishers may be worried about declining CD sales and the inability of digital purchases to make up the difference.

But independent artists have continued to create, innovate, connect with fans, and even make a pretty decent living on their own, without big budget promotions — or even physical copies of their albums in stores.

For today’s show we were lucky to be joined by two amazing artists:

Amanda Palmer sat down with David Weinberger to talk about her latest self-release, Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under, and her mission to redefine what success as a musician means.

And Donald Glover chatted with us about the wonder of his quintuple threat career — star of NBC’s Community, writer, standup comic, remix artist, and rapper — his most recent release, and how he makes a living making music that is free as in beer, and free as in speech.

Amanda Palmer (left) and David Weinberger point out exactly where musicians' ability to make a living lies

Listen up! Comment on the show! Tweet us! And check out the reference section after the jump for links to our guests and more.

Reference Section
Find music by Amanda Palmer (including her just released album “Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under”) and by Tristan Allen
Follow Amanda Palmer
Follow Donald Glover and find his music here
More on the Rethink Music Conference and call for papers
Also, the deadline for the music Business Model Competition (with cash prizes!) is February 1!

Follow our Rethinking Music series and listen to Part I

Next spring, the Berklee College of Music and MIDEM, in association with the Berkman Center, are hosting the Rethink Music Conference, bringing together artists, industry representatives, policymakers, educators, and innovators to discuss this very issue: the future of creative works, their distribution, and the laws that regulate them. Look out for more on this as we continue this series about music and the music industry.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Neutral  |  February 3rd, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    I think that it is good to get people thinking about value in terms of the individuals involved in creating that value; it brings people back into the equation. Having an understanding of what is required to produce something helps people to understand what it means to pay for that effort.

    Not everyone can afford to pay the same and if we allow for that, no one has to be a thief. Some people will abuse the system for gain but fewer people feel good about hurting individuals than they do about gaining from a faceless industry. This is more like the “good old handshake” with the good feeling about doing business to face.

    Amanda Palmer has highlighted this to some extent and this approach is win/win. It inspires trust (and confidence in the good spirit of dedicated fans). It also removes potential resentment that comes with over pricing. Donald Glover makes some good points too. It’s good to be able to get funding from people who care about what you’re doing without having to appeal to investors that are interested in a financial return. If the money becomes available that way, there is an obvious demand and confidence in what you do.

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