12 thoughts on “Andrew Keen Isn’t”

  1. Yeah, what they both said. Missed his Colbert appearance, but Keen was on CBC Radio a few weeks back, spouting all this crap (as if the “professional media” were as high-falutin’ as all that in the first place!). The snobbery fairly oozed out of the speakers.

  2. I haven’t read Keen’s book, but based on what I’ve read about it and what I’ve heard him say, it seems to me he’s simply keeping up with the long tradition of doom-and-gloomers who pronounce upon “the end of art” every time technology makes a leap. He, like so many, fails to see the big picture of history around the twinned development of the arts and technology.

    Keen’s appearance on The Colbert Report and the rancorous whining it demonstrated seem to indicate that he doesn’t believe it in the scope of modern media and art to adapt to the challenges to monetization provided by the Web. Perhaps it’s a bit pollyanna of me to say so, but I think that this will happen one way or another, and that neither the arts nor the Internet will be the worse for it.

    It may have taken longer than we suspected it would, but the media companies are realizing that it is in their interest to adapt and do business with the Web community, rather than steadfastly pretending that the old models still work. Just because the old methods do not function does not mean that the arts and media they sell us do not function, or that free YouTube content in any way makes those arts and media obsolete. Far from it. The media companies just need to figure out a way to play nice and monetize (via advertising, or subscription based higher quality alternatives) the wide-open web. It’s been done before, and they’ll certainly do it again.

    Keen, meanwhile, will simply have to find something else to moan about when art and media slog on and outlast him, leaving him behind on the scrap heap with all of the other would-be prophets of the death of art. In twenty years time, no matter WHAT forms of genius may emerge from Web-based media, we’ll still be talking about Hitchcock and Monet and Shakespeare. No one will be talking about Andrew Keen.

  3. In twenty years time, no matter WHAT forms of genius may emerge from Web-based media, we’ll still be talking about Hitchcock and Monet and Shakespeare. No one will be talking about Andrew Keen.

    Damn straight.

  4. He does make a valid complaint in that the internet makes it difficult for artists to be compensated for their work, but the tides are changing and people are beginning to understand that fact. I’m one of many who have begun to buy my music & prints online, the only books I download are public domain.

    I know the Principle of Mediocrity is supposed to apply to the earth’s place in the universe, but I like to think it applies to myself as an individual aswell – I’m not so special as to be the only one in the world who sees thing that way. As companies and people adapt to the internet and users adapt to the realities of capitalism, Keen’s fears that artists won’t be able to make a living in the days of the web seem to be more & more unfounded.

    As far as his fears of marginalizing real, professional journalists and destroying truth in journalism, I doubt if that’s altogether likely. News-media corporations have begun integrating their different mediums and it is THEY that bloggers use to get their material and work out their articles. We need them to keep the blogosphere alive.

  5. “He does make a valid complaint in that the internet makes it difficult for artists to be compensated for their work, but the tides are changing and people are beginning to understand that fact.”

    I have never seen any conclusive evidence produced that the internet makes it anymore “difficult” for artists to get compensated than the old tape-trading underground did. On the contrary, the internet provides multiple outlets for artists of every medium to get exposer that they wouldn’t have dreamed of with the legacy media.

    What I find interesting is the patent refusal of any of the big-media apologists to even consider the possibility that the disdain they’ve shown for their customers is influencing their waning revenues. It stands to reason that if you keep cranking out mostly-filler albums at outrageous prices and loading up downloadable content with DRM, to name only a couple of big-media’s many offenses, that people will get fed up and competitors will step in to fill the demand. That’s “capitalism”. The current model is nothing but a mercantilist protection racket.

  6. I never said big business is entirely RIGHT in these matters, but they aren’t going to give away everything for free. The fact that they’re beginning to adapt themselves to an environment which is conducive to freedom of information and the fact that consumers are beginning to recognize the right of artists & companies to be remunerated for their work is what is ultimately the death-blow for Keen’s statement that the Internet is destroying culture.

  7. “I never said big business is entirely RIGHT in these matters, but they aren’t going to give away everything for free.”

    And that’s something I should have emphasized earlier. The idea that everything should be “free as in beer” instead of “free as in speech” has been the stupid strawman the media moguls have been using since day one. No one has argued that artists shouldn’t get paid. What has been argued against is the restrictive copyright maximalism they and their cheerleaders have been pushing with odious legislation like the DMCA, the Induce Act and the Broadcast Flag.

    And as for them “adapting” to the internet, it is overrated. Their idea of “adaptation” is restricting consumer freedom with DRM, stealth-spyware through rootkits and demanding that the FCC essentially shut-down their competitors with protectionist bullshit like the “Broadcast Flag”. In short, “adaptation” to them only means reinforcing the extant protection racket they’ve spent the last decade and a half establishing.

  8. Tyler, I have to disagree with you SOMEWHAT. I agree that the recent actions by ASCAP towards Internet radio and the whole rootkit/DRM fiasco are not positive adaptations, but I do see in them (and particularly in the ways they’ve failed) the BEGINNINGS of something positive.

    iTunes Plus seems to be successful, so far, using files with no DRM. True, the file info DOES contain traceable information about the iTunes account through which files were purchased, but in terms of freeing up content for my OWN use, it’s a step in the right direction. The fact that I can now download albums from iTunes, convert them from Apple’s proprietary format, and move them around howsoever I please from my computer to any other device is nice.

    I recently read a news story about another up-and-coming downloading service with similar prices to iTunes, yet which was also DRM free and supported by advertising…I believe it was called “G-Box” and was somewhat tied to Google Ads. If that succeeds, it’s another step towards the more reasonable side.

    And, as always in tech circles, a lot of people have to die before new ideas take hold. For now, there are ways for smart consumers to get around just about any form of protectionism they’ve implemented. As I’ve shown, they’re beginning to recognize this. Within a few more years, when people who are more in tune with the zeitgeist of Internet media rise to positions of power in the conglomerates, these protectionist methods are likely to fall away as well. ESPECIALLY in the face of Internet media competition, whose quality WILL increase in time.

    Sure, the companies are likely to always want SOME amount of rights over the distribution of their content. But if/when they come up with another way to make a buck, that need WILL lessen. It may take a while, but I’ve little doubt that it will happen.

  9. Thanks, Jared. I’d taken most of what you just said as read because I’ve expounded it before in other forums (I refer here to discussion forums & not web forums). In my egocentric view of argumentative continuity, I forgot that the cliff note version wouldn’t do. Thanks for stepping in.

    A side note: writing comments with a DS touchscreen is hard on the stylus hand.

  10. The truth of the matter is that a lot of what comes out of these supposedly ever-so-professional journalists is pretty low-grade material. I invariably find basic errors in any news story about which I have some kind of inside knowledge. The (fairly) recent Essjay scandal at Wikipedia is a good case in point – all the mainstream media reported the story with much the same errors, which I dissected on my blog.

    There are doubtless some good journalists out there, but I do get sick of the way journos and their supporters carry on as if their’s was a holy vocation (not that that would cut much ice with me), rather than a bunch of not very-intelligent folks mindlessly copying each other, making up stuff that sounds good, and generally discovering ways to convey distorted information to the public.

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