(This week I didn’t write a SexyLittleIdeas article because I was finishing my thesis for the Music Business course I’m taking from Vanderbilt University. This is what I came up with, in case you’re interested.)
If we tie music or anything at all in life, inextricably to money, in terms of worth, it changes the essence of that thing.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, and I’m not here to solve all the problems of capitalism in one essay. But when I think of the worth of music, in terms of monetary value, my relationship with music becomes less like a love affair and more like a rich guy wondering if he has any true friends.
Adding money to anything removes some of its truth.
Money + sex = prostitution.
Money + love = gold digging.
Money + happiness = misery.
Money + family = evil stepmother.
If we want to think about music as something that belongs in the same commodity-driven sentences as: cars, mining, petroleum, lead, cotton – then we should think about its worth primarily in terms of money. But if we want to continue to think about music as something that belongs in the same sentences as: joy, love, creativity, family, friendship, happiness – then we need to define its worth differently.
Monetary value is an extremely flexible concept from class to class and from country to country. ‘A lot of money’ in Bolivia is nothing in Mexico, and ‘a lot of money’ in Mexico is nothing in the USA. When you have Pharrell Williams and Aloe Blacc complaining about having made a mere $3,000 for a million streams of their hit songs, it seems eerily like a massive First World Problem to me. Do you know how long it takes the average person to make 3,000 US dollars in Bolivia? Practically an entire lifetime of 8-hour work days.
So I’m going to think about worth in a different way.
Most of my favorite musicians, myself included (and possibly *you* the reader as well), would just be thrilled to have a million streams of one of their songs, *for free*. (Some of you might even be willing to *pay* $3,000 to have your song heard by a million people!) And honestly, whenever I hear Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ for the millionth time, I feel like *I* should be paid some kind of royalty rate for having to suffer through it again. (‘Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof..’ seriously, this is what ‘spending your life working hard to master your craft’ has allowed you come up with?)
I think excesses (and whining about the lack of) in a still-Malthusian economy hurt the planet, hurt the craft, and more importantly, hurt the actual working-class artists who have full-time jobs and dedicate their spare time to their music for free without any hope of compensation, not because their dream is to snort candy off Candy’s ass, but because they have music inside of them and if they don’t get it out they couldn’t live with themselves.
I do think music is worth money, and I do think that artists should be paid fairly for their work. But when your idea of fair is being showered with excesses upon excesses in a society where excess is already the norm, maybe your idea of fair is long overdue for a tune-up.
How many of you will keep stirring your heart into your mixes whether or not you become millionaires?
I think that the worth of the music I love is independent of finances and business and royalties and greed. Like Ken Paulson (Dean of MTSU) said, poets never had their day where they really kicked in as a business model. Poet talent scouts, poetry labels, poetry label executives, and the poet stars themselves don’t expect to be millionaires. Unfortunately, music *did* have its day, and now everyone in the unfortunately monikered “music biz,” from the humble rock stars to the even humbler record execs, seems to feel entitled to their pound of flesh from the fans.
a concert ticket,
that I love
The best way to support the music that I love is to listen to it and to share it with my friends.
If you as an artist want to monetize it, that’s up to you, and there are plenty of ways you can do that without penalizing me for my love. But money is separate from worth, and my time is worth more than my money.
As an artist, connecting with my audience is all that I need in terms of worth. If you like your earworms served with a side of nuance, and if I can connect with you and make you excited to go back and play it again, then leave the riches to the rich, I have succeeded as an artist.
And that’s all the worth I need.
- #1. If I text you and you don’t text me back for days, you go from ‘Friend’ status to ‘Two People Who Use but Don’t Respect Each Other’ status.
- #2. If you tell me you’re going to do something and then don’t, I reserve the right to tell you I am going to do something and then not do it.
- #3. If we’re gonna hang out, we have to like each other. If we’re just gonna occasionally have sex and go our separate ways, liking each other’s personality is less important.
- #4. If we have plans, me and you, it’s polite to let me know if your plan also involves your friends or your sister or your officemates hanging out with us and for how long.
- #5. If you’re a dick to me once or twice or every once in a while, I understand, we all have tough times. But if you’re a dick to me 4 or 5 times in a row, you’re just a dick.
- #6. I’m not a therapist. I understand sex is not exclusively about orgasm, but imbalance in relationships can be toxic. If I’m always cumming all over the place and you never are, that’s an imbalance that you might come to resent. If you always have an extremely hard time cumming unless you’re by yourself, that’s something you need to work out on your own. I can try to help, but if every time we have sex turns into a therapy session, that’s not fun for either of us.
- #7. I’m not a taxi. I don’t mind picking you up or dropping you off occasionally, but please don’t assume it’s a given that I can always go scoop you up from wherever you are and then drop you wherever you want to be next.
- #8. I don’t mind you fucking my friends or relatives – I can even recommend the ones who I think you’ll like. If me fucking your friends would bother you, let me know. Just keep in mind that if in the future you do something horrible to me, I will be struggling against my vengeful and grieving inner caveman to not take advantage of that knowledge.
- #9. I don’t really like morning sex. (Fill this one in with whatever kind of sex you don’t really like).
- #10. If I always text you first and you never text me first, you run the risk of our communication eventually dwindling down to nothing. If that risk is okay with you, it probably should dwindle, and the faster the better.
- #11. Treat me like a real human person, and I’ll treat you like a real human person.
PS: Most of these are more guidelines than hard and fast rules. Most of them can be overlooked or overruled if there’s a very good reason.
or Etiquette at an Orgy
Dear Self-Proclaimed ‘Feminists’ on Tinder,
You say all you want is respect.
Respect takes different faces in different situations. If you showed up naked to an orgy & no one fucked you, that would be a lack of respect. If you strapped your gloves on and climbed into the ring and no one tried to punch you in the face, that would be a lack of respect.
If you have preferences about how you would like to be fucked or punched, your playmate would be wise to listen to you.
I too personally prefer a bit off warm-up before jumping off the diving board into the deep end. But just because you do, criticizing those who don’t doesn’t make you a feminist. And lurking on the fringes of social justice trying to entrap the lame, the sick, and the weak in order to attract more followers to your Twitter or Tumblr doesn’t make you a shero.
You want respect. We here at the orgy want respect too. So please respect our orgy and leave if all you’re going to do is stand in the corner and make killer comments about other people’s buzz.
or A Cynical Look at Some of the Reasons People Fuck Each Other
Guy Who Needs to Feel Special
Girl Who Needs to Quiet Her Sex Drive so She Can Focus on Work
Guy Who Gets Super Drunk and Wants to Fuck Something, Anything
Girl with Boyfriend Who Needs an Occasional Breath of Fresh Air
Guy Proving to Himself That He’s a Badass
Girl Going Through a Rebellious Phase
Guy Who’s Now an Independent Adult and Can Do What He Likes
Girl Experimenting with Her Body
Guy Proving to Himself That He’s Still Young and Carefree
Guy on the Brink of Falling in Love with Everything
Girl with Inferiority Complex Fucking to Feel Better About Herself
Guy on Vacation Going Wild Fucking Everything in His Path
Totally Not That Kind of Girl Who Has No Idea What Got into Her
Guy Who Needs to Feel Close to Someone
Girl Who Smokes and Drinks and Drugs and Doesn’t Give a Shit About Anything
New in the City, Making Friends
Heard About You from Her Friend
Guy Who Only Likes a Specific Kind of Sex or Body Type
Lesbian Couple Spicing up Their Relationship
Straight Couple Spicing up Their Relationship
Girl Who Wants to Get Back at Her Friend/Parent/Sibling/Loved One
Guy Who Wants to Be Like that Guy He Saw on TV
Girl Who Feels Such a Strong Connection with You
Guy Who Has so Much in Common with You
Girl Who’s Bored
Guy Who’s Impressed
Girl Who Feels She Owes You Sex
Guy Who Feels You Owe Him Sex
Girl Who Fucks Because She’s There and You’re There
Guy Who Fucks Because……..Party Woohooo!
Girl Who Wants a Story to Tell Her Friends
Guy Who Wants to Feel Superior to His Friends
Girl Who Wants to Celebrate
Guy Who Is Crazy (I Mean Literally Having a Psychotic Episode)
Girl Who Wants to Be Famous
Guy Who Wants to Try Something His Girlfriend/Wife Would Never Go For
Girl Who Doesn’t Want to Waste All the Time/Money She Spent on You Before You Turned out to Be a Jerk/Catfish
Guy Who Wants to Forget About His Ex
Girl Who Can’t Have Who She Really Wants so Fine She’ll Just Settle for You
Guy Who Just Wants to Feel Good
Girl Who Just Wants to Feel Good
or A Short Study on Weapons Legislation vs Crazy People
I think the gun control issue is a question of percentages. We have to weigh acceptable Weapons Legislation against the percentage of Crazy People with a Chance of Going on Killing Sprees. If the latter was exceptionally high, say around 50% of the population, we might only legalize the possession of exceptionally mild weapons such as swords or slingshots. If we had 0% Crazy People, we might be able to legalize nuclear bombs and light sabers.
To decide where you are as a rational person on the issue of gun control, you have to decide how many people you are comfortable with putting at risk of dying, say each year, in Crazy Person Killing Sprees.
In a nation of 320 million people, you have to assume that there will be some Crazy People and that some of them will go on Killing Sprees for whatever Crazy Reason. If all they have is slingshots or their bare hands, they will be able to kill very few people, maybe one or two per incident. If they have nuclear bombs, they will be able to kill maybe 100,000 per incident.
Weapons Legislation usually looks at weapons and victim numbers somewhere inbetween those two extremes.