Self-Publishing (Movie Edition)

So the news broke from Sundance last night that Kevin Smith is distributing his new film, Red State, himself.

He had been telling everyone that he was going to auction distribution rights in public after the screening — and handed that over to his co-producer to officiate. As soon as bidding began, Smith bid twenty bucks, and the auction was closed. He’ll make deals with theaters himself, renting the space and pre-selling tickets. As Smith pointed out, with his 1.7 million Twitter followers and his Podcast audience, he’s been able to completely sell out venues (including Carnegie Hall in NYC) without spending a dime on traditional marketing.

The link to the site, above, features the current tour dates and a button that allows you to request a screening in your home town.

In the press release (also linked on the site), Smith says: “Don’t hate the studio; BECOME the studio. Anybody can make a movie; what we aim to prove is anyone can release a movie as well.”

Of course, the traditional media outlets are pretty dismissive of this whole thing. This, though, is one of the more balanced bits of coverage.

Most outlets are deciding to run with stories concentrating on smug “mixed reviews” for the film — but Neil Gaiman has said: “It’s the best thing he’s ever done. Left me shaken and grateful and wanting to make art.” I think I’ll trust Gaiman’s opinion, rather than conglomerate-fellatists like Drew McWeeney.

There’s no denying that Smith is able to do this because of his existing fame, built via the traditional model. But it’s a matter of scale — and it’s quite obvious that somebody without as much exposure could do the same thing on a smaller scale.

Publishing Houses, Film and Television Studios, Record Labels — they’re all relics of the last century.

Storm the gates.

Friday Music

Here we go….

Laura and I finally watched “Crazy Heart” last night on DVD (Netflix actually sends you physical copies of movies — I’d almost forgotten). I liked the film — definitely felt that Bridges deserved his Oscar. The film’s theme (played over the closing credits) won an Oscar too — but I actually liked the opening song better. I’m not a huge fan of country, but there are some songs that grab me. This is one of them. Jeff Bridges – “Hold On You.”

I’ll admit that it was the band name that drew me in. Occult Detective Club is a band from Texas who hearken back to the Post-Punk era — definite echoes of Sham 69, Billy Bragg, The Jam and (dare I say it) The Clash here. Their second album, CRIMES, is due out in February — this is a preview: Occult Detective Club – “C’mon Levi.”

I’ve linked to the stream, I’ve linked to the video, and (on Twitter) I’ve even linked to the remix contest. So I figured that I should link to the mp3. I love this song so much — Amanda Palmer’s tribute to pubic freedom, using Aussie slang: Amanda Palmer – “Map of Tasmania (feat. The Young Punx).”

Icelandic pop! Sindri Már Sigfússon is the lead singer of Icelandic folk-pop band, Seabear, and records solo under the name Sin Fang. I stumbled across this track last week, and I really love the sound of it (which I can’t seem to describe without using terms like ghostly and ethereal): Sin Fang – “Always Everything.”

Watched “The Boat That Rocked” (which was chopped down by 20 minutes and released in the US as “Pirate Radio”) — loved the film. Loved the soundtrack even more. Here’s a late-60s track that doesn’t get a ton of play here in the US, but which I’ve loved ever since I discovered in via MTV’s “Closet Classics” (when they’d fill out their broadcast day by playing clips from European music shows of the 60s and 70s as “videos”): The Easybeats – “Friday On My Mind.”

Fifteen years on (jesus christ!), this is still the epitome of the trip-hop single, in my opinion: Sneaker Pimps – “6 Underground (Nellee Hooper Edit).”

If we’re going to go back, might as well go back to the post-punk period for U2, which I still consider their best sound. This is from the 1981 album “October.” U2 – “Gloria.”

….and just because I want to: another single off a-ha’s massive 1985 album, “Hunting High and Low”, which is now almost entirely forgotten in favor of constant replays of “Take On Me.” a-ha – “The Sun Always Shines On TV.”

There you go. Enjoy.

Self-Publishing (Music Edition)

I had a bit about this over on Twitter, but I thought this merited an actual blog post.

From the realm of “OMG The Sky Is Falling” news reports, we see that Cake sets record for lowest-selling #1 album.

The story goes on to tell us that Cake’s new album, “Showroom of Compassion” only sold 44,000 copies in its debut week, making it the lowest-selling top-seller EVAR. This is then backed up with ominous data about Tailor Swift having the previous record last week with 52K, and overall sales being down 11%, yadda yadda yadda.

Oh NOES! The music industry! Won’t somebody think of the children music industry?
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