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Compendium of Links #35: Music and philosophy

I got sick last Saturday night while at work. You know that already. That means I spent the entire weekend cooped up at home, with the exception of the absolutely necessary trips: to pay the electric bill, to buy groceries and non-expired cold medicine and to do laundry.

That also means I had a lot of time to goof off. Because when you’re sick, you’re supposed to take it easy. Thus my predicament: Lots of time that I can spend, but not with people. We wouldn’t want to infect my entire church/extended family now, would we?

For today’s Compendium, let’s first look at a list of April Fool’s Day food and drink hoaxes. Including Squeeze Bacon. (Thx to da baum for da link.)

A writer for The New York Times recently exhorted my generation to take a hard look at the ironic lifestyle so many live. From the article, titled “How to Live without Irony:”

Throughout history, irony has served useful purposes, like providing a rhetorical outlet for unspoken societal tensions. But our contemporary ironic mode is somehow deeper; it has leaked from the realm of rhetoric into life itself. This ironic ethos can lead to a vacuity and vapidity of the individual and collective psyche.

Lots of Bible study tools are online and free at I haven’t used this particular site but it looks valuable. As does, which is meant to help you along in your Bible memorization.

A Christian blogger makes a good point about comparing music: Just because a song isn’t your style doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s more worthwhile comparing a music to its genre’s standards or to how acceptable it is in a certain setting.

Then, the owner of an thinly legal music-sharing site (Grooveshark) wrote a defense of why recorded music should be free. I’m sure I’ve had this link open for months but I’ve only recently been able to read through it all. It’s a fascinating take on the current setup in the music industry. (Kudos to Evangelical Outpost for their own take on the guy’s arguments.)

Another music link: Why folk music rocks, according to an Ev.Outpost blogger. I’m a folk music aficionado, of course, and part of why I like it is the poetry of much of folk music’s lyrics (think Paul Simon) and the variety of subjects (not just “I love/loved him/her”).

What are students really buying in an education? An Online Journalism Review writer suggests that it’s evaluation, community and coaching – because we can already get all the information we need for free, you know.

ReadWriteWeb is starting a new series, ReadWritePause, on how to better balance connected and offline life. They began by posting an article with “Don’t read this article” in the URL: “Yes, we’re a tech site. Yes, we’re suggesting you spend less time online.”

Courtesy of my cousin the seamstress-extraordinaire, I present: a C.S. Lewis poetic commentary on nostalgia, which begins:

No. It's an impudent falsehood.  Men did not
Invariably think the newer way Prosaic
mad, inelegant, or what not.

And for your viewing pleasure: ESPN’s impromptu homage to the cult classic The Princess Bride. Yep, I’m serious.

This is the only bit of ESPN I’ve watched in my life. But it’s a highly pleasing bit.


da_baum said…
The problem with the Grooveshark plan is that it only really works for big name musicians. In the Twin Cities area, I know jazz musicians who pay for all their costs (recordings, touring, etc). Most clubs they play will charge $5-10, where they can sell CD's that also cost $10. Sometimes they get paid a set amount, but sometimes they only get the money people pay to get in. When they go on tour (which when they have families generally can't happen that often), they are many times paying for their gas, lodging, etc. They might play at a club that has 5-10 people come to a show. That doesn't make very good money. You sell CD's and you can potentially double that.

As a freelance musician, a lot of what I do to make money is going to be small things that add up to make a living. I might teach 5 lessons a week at $25 a lesson, which gives me $125 a week teaching. Then I might play a couple gigs, which could get me another $150-200 (if I'm lucky). I might write an arrangement for church and get another $40. Then I may sell 5 CD's and split the $50 four ways (or it may all go straight to a band fund so we can tour). That's roughly $375 I might make in a week (in this hypothetical situation). The $10 or so from selling CD's doesn't sound like much, but when I'm paying $3,000-5,000 to record an album, I want to make as much as I can to offset from selling music to offset the costs of making the record. So while the upper 15-20% of bands may be able to maintain a living not selling recorded music, I don't think it's a sustainable business model, at least not at this time.

Also, some bands may give away their music for free. That's great for them that they can do that. Some bands don't want to do that and people are still willing to pay for their music. The more money I make as a musician, the less time I need to spend working at *my completely-unrelated-to-music job, and the more I can focus on actually making music instead, which will be a benefit for all those who hear me.

*I do not have one of these at the moment...

Sarah said…
Yeah, the Grooveshark plan was apparently aimed at the "music industry," i.e. the gigantic studios like EMI that are currently the ones mass-producing much of today's music. I'm not sure how the author would apply the model to small-scale musicians, or if he even would want to, though it did seem to encompass all recorded music the way he wrote it.

Have you had to defend musicians' selling CDs?

I always wondered what today's music would be like without the invention of the phonograph/recorded music. Did you ever picture that? More concerts, probably, but also more amateur musicians and impromptu little gatherings of friends around an instrument.

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