Last weekend, I visited NYC and checked out some new music concerts for the first time in a while. The first, on Friday night, was the first-ever New Music Bake Sale presented by Newspeak and Ensemble de Sade, a raucous affair with five hours of music, well over a hundred attendees, tables for different organizations (just like at a conference), and – that’s right – cookies. (Not to mention cupcakes, real cake, Froot Loop bars, and at least one plate of fried chicken.) The following night, I caught Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Dub Trio at the Bowery Ballroom, for what can only be described as a crazy show, particularly Sleepytime’s set. Their music is definitely not for everyone (like the three other members of my party, for example), but I was impressed.
Here’s your roundup for the week:
- As a reminder for the teabaggers out there, top marginal tax rates were over 90% from 1944 to 1963, including the entire Eisenhower administration. It took the administration of noted small-government advocate Lyndon Johnson to cut them below that level. (For comparison, under Obama’s plan, the top tax rate will rise to 39.6%. Taxes in the aggregate would still be lower than they were under Reagan.)
- The L3C is gaining momentum, having been passed now in Michigan, Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota, and the Indian Crow Nation.
- Uh oh: IMG Artists Chairman Barrett Wissman is guilty of securities fraud.
- Sean Stannard-Stockton marries my two favorite topics in talking about how philanthropy is like music.
- Here’s a sort of funny video from Network for Good about fundraising.
“Let’s just keep it simple,” responds the donor/girlfriend. “I’m breaking up with you.”
“I give and I give and I give, and I don’t hear anything from you,” she complains.
“I sent you a plain-text e-mail receipt. It had your name on it, for God’s sake!” he counters.
- Via Americans for the Arts, the new Serve America Act includes new (paid) service opportunities for artists. Not sure if it’s related, but the Music National Service Initiative, a new social enterprise, is hiring MuiscianCorps Fellows.
- Speaking of AftA, they’ve just released their 2009-11 Strategic Plan and the results of an environmental scan conducted by AMS Planning & Research. (h/t @lisa_hoang)
- Good news? There are expected to be 24,000 management-level nonprofit job openings in 2009, according to a new report from Bridgespan. The bad news? That’s down from 77,000 in 2008.
- Steve Reich finally wins his Pulitzer.
- Two contrasting takes on blogs and profitability from two formerly employed journalists. In one corner, ex-Backstage editor and Createquity reader Leonard Jacobs is profiled in Crain’s New York, sharing his plans to turn the Clyde Fitch Report into a revenue-generating machine. And over there, we have ex-Boston Globe critic Thomas Garvey calling into question whether anything on the internet can be revenue-generating over the long run. The latter essay is a really powerful, challenging critique of much of our received wisdom about the wonderfulness of the information age.
In fact, people are finally beginning to come to terms with the way in which the Internet actually destroys value rather than creates it. Indeed, the web may be the most efficient wealth-destruction machine ever devised. This was always the flip side of its immense efficiencies; the Internet made economic processes far less expensive, true, and cut out middlemen hither, thither and yon; but it also undercut the physical framework that made “value” possible. Indeed, the value of just about anything that wasn’t actually nailed down, like real estate, was quickly affected by the web. Locale, connections, knowledge – much of what made wealth possible at the individual level was attacked or simply replaced by the ever-rising tide of digital connectivity….
So I ask myself, in this environment, how could the content of my blog have economic value? How could it be sold? It’s true a handful of bloggers, like Perez Hilton or DailyKos, have rocketed to some level of economic success. But they have done so by generating national audiences, and, perhaps more importantly, by intertwining themselves with existing real-world power structures or publicity machines.
While not disagreeing with Garvey’s excellent points at all, Jacobs is probably in a better position than most to make it happen. Nevertheless, I am inclined to see blogs more as advertising vehicles for other services than as revenue generators in themselves. For more on this, via Seth Godin, here’s a great little pamphlet from blogger Chris Guillebeau on how he achieved overnight success in 279 days.