Posts tagged “mass customization”

Wild and Free

Me on bass, Firefly Club, Osaka, Japan, 2001

I had the TV on in the background the other night while I was doing some work around the house–I’ll admit it to you–I was watching E Hollywood True Stories, “Joe Francis Gone Wild.” (Francis is the guy who created Girls Gone Wild (NSFW))

Anyway…about halfway through the show, I heard a really familiar sound fading up in the background. I turned up the volume on the show, and, sure enough, it was a piece of a song from a CD I recorded a few years ago.

ghost7, New Directions in Static, 2004

As the wow feeling of hearing something I had made broadcast this widely subsided, I started thinking about other aspects of the situation: shouldn’t someone have contacted me, shouldn’t I be getting paid for this?

And here’s where the irony, or at least the thought-provoking conundrum, begins.

I know how hard it is to earn a living playing music (or even just to cover your expenses). Yet I have, ahem, “friends,” who download all kinds of “free” musical content. And when I lived in Japan, I had other, ahem, “friends,” who rented lots of CDs from Tsutaya (the Japanese Blockbuster Video) and copied them onto MiniDisc to build their music collections, thus depriving the artists of their cut of a CD sale. (For a great breakdown of the traditional music industry business model, and a startling look at the reality of making a living as a musician, check out Moses Avalon’s website and book, Confessions of a Record Producer).

My initial self-righteousness about getting paid for the use of my music highlighted a clear differentiation I’ve been making between creative “product” that comes out of the “entertainment industry” and what’s made by people like me, whose primary livelihood is something other than their music, art, etc.

Now that any content placed in the public arena is almost instantaneously redistributable, whither goes the business model/s for creative production? Are songs-as-products becoming obsolete, to be replaced by songs-as-loss-leaders, a la the Starbucks/iTunes “song-of-the-week” card?

How, in this freewheeling new world, will it continue to be possible to shift enough units to pay for the production of something like a U2 album or a feature-length film?

CD Cover, George Lynch (ex-Dokken), 2000

New analysis covered over at O’Reilly on Radiohead’s 2007 “pay-what-you-like” experiment for selling their album, In Rainbows, would seem to support the loss leader model, with the attention generated by the online trading of the album seemingly as valuable as any actual money earned through paid downloading.

I’d add as well that firing up the tour bus remains an essential part of the prospect. Aside from tribute bands, no one’s found a way yet to pirate the live performance. (Although perhaps the scenario in Kiss’ 1978 movie, where the band is attacked by a lookalike robot band, suggests one possible model.)

VHS box, Kiss Meets The Phantom of the Park, 1978

But back to more grounded futuristic pondering. Is Karl Marx’ dream of making means of production accessible to ordinary people coming to fruition via peer-to-peer content sharing and the free flow of certain types of “raw materials?”

As the “redistributability” of content facilitated by the internet crossbreeds with technology and approaches like just-in-time production, 3D printing, and mass customization, will other types of product production also be wrested from commercial producers?

And will someone from E True Hollywood Stories please contact me about that royalty check?

Custom colors everywhere (she’s like a rainbow)

A company called 3C will make custom colors for various cosmetics (lip color, blush, eye shadow, face powder, etc.)

We can reproduce your favorite discontinued lip color shades or we can create a lip color for you from a color swatch that you provide. Your ‘recipe’ then remains in our permanent files for easy re-ordering!

If you would like us to re-create your favorite discontinued shade, we ask that you send a sample for us to analyze. HERE’S HOW: Enclose a dime-sized sample of your favorite discontinued lip color in a plastic baggie or small jar (do not swatch the lip color on paper – it will change the color). OR: Enclose your tube in a padded envelope or small box. Your tube will be returned to you with your match.

We analyze your shade for color, texture and coverage and create a formula that remains in our permanent files! If there is anything you would like changed about your color, i.e. if you would like a gloss instead of a matte, or if you would like shimmer added, please let us know (some texture and shimmer options are listed below). Otherwise our formulation will be as close as possible to your original. If you do not have a sample but you remember the brand name and color name of the shade you are looking for, please email us and we can check our archive of over 7,500 shades that we have matched for other clients. If your shade is not in our archives, we can arrange to notify you if we receive it from another client.

To create your own shade
You can have us create your own shade ~ from a splash of nail color in a baggie, a piece of fabric, a paint chip, a photo from a magazine, two lip colors blended together to create the ideal shade… anything!

This is a fantastic service; freeing loyal customers from the capriciousness of fashion/sales volumes/limited availability. Years ago I trailed a friend to every single store in the massive King of Prussia mall, as they pursued in vain a specific shade that just wasn’t available. Anywhere.

Via MightyGoods


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