Thursday, March 06, 2008

welcome aboard the "csm" train!

Not only has Jonathan Reuel decided to start his own "csm" (Community Supported Music) initiative - he's also bringing his flair for communicating in fresh and direct and intensely REAL ways - and his passion and genius for networking with artists of all kinds - and has put together an excellent description of the CSM approach and how he's applying it to what he does.

I'll race you to see who signs up first!

That said, it comes as a bit of a surprise to read there that Pat DiNizio of the Smithereens "tried something similar" to what I/we are doing with "community supported music." There are some similarities, to be sure - the idea of an artist-based kind of "subscription service" and a more direct "artist-supporting community" relationship - and I really like some of the things he's doing with that. And there are, of course, lots of current examples of people experimenting with different ways to do these kinds of things, which I think is great.

However, I think of the "community supported music" approach as an ALTERNATIVE to the mainstream "celebrity system"... not another way to package and cash in on celebrity status in the context of (as DiNizio's statement puts it) "the ever-imploding music industry."

In other words, it seems pretty important to me that "community supported music" is a way of structuring the artist-supporting community relationship that is predicated on notions like "enough" and "sustainability" and "viability at a small scale" and real "community"... in rather stark contrast, it seems to me, to the underlying assumptions of the celebrity system...

Or, to put it yet another way - I get very excited about the possibility of passionate people catching a glimpse of how they might be able to pursue their art in a way that is healthy and sustainable (personally, relationally, ecologically, even economically) without feeling that the "celebrity system" is the only game in town. And I'm glad to see that Jonathan thinks the "csm" approach can be one of the tools to help make that happen.

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At 1:24 AM, Anonymous Jonathan Reuel said...

I really agree with, appreciate and am encouraged by the contrast you're describing between the celebrity game and a more sustainable model. An interesting question, however, is "What happens if our little circle grows big?" What if several denominations get all excited about SmallTall or a JRL song somehow stumbles onto the radio or catches fire on the internet?

It's worth thinking about a bit, I think, because sustainability may not mean limiting the number of people who can connect with what we're doing, but more clearly delineating the different ways people can connect, and rethinking how money and the use of resources tie into that.

For example, in my CSM I do have an option for people to recieve paper and cd copies of the delivery, but I'm making it pretty expensive to help people count the cost of expending those resources. For some people it's still a good choice, but for many a no paper/no cd policy for music purchasing and listening can be really good for the environment. Of course that's assuming that you're not buying a new ipod every 6 months...

I don't think there's one right way to do this, and I'm wary of too much comparing, especially when we're comparing ourselves favorably against those irresponsible others, but we've got to bring the important issues forward and describe our creative ideas at addressing them.

I'm really excited about all the work and thinking and articulating you've done Bryan. I'm so thankful to be able to draft off of that, bring my own spin on it, and do some real dialogueing about the models, the goals, the dreams related to the CSM model and the Kingdom vision we're moving towards in ways that are sometimes different, sometimes the same and sometimes complementary.


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