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Comment Re:Here's an idea (Score 1) 161

So, we can actually talk about one concert pianist who did launch their career on youtube, Valentina Lisitsa. As you can see, she actually is quite talented. Somehow she did gain popularity there, which is good for her, but if you want to make big bucks in the classical music world, you need to hook in to the system, and she did that, going on the tour circuit. She was co-opted by the system, and now she's a typical musician.

Comment Re:Here's an idea (Score 4, Insightful) 161

However, many independent artists would leap at the change to sign with a label, since 10% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

THIS. People always make the mistake of looking at high revenues that big-name artists get and dream of doing that themselves.

But that's kinda like dreaming of playing for the NBA or NFL or whatever -- sure, it happens, but the 99% of the kids out there playing high school sports will never have a chance at those sorts of salaries.

It is common for creative people to assume that they create the only value that matters, and that marketing, promotion, and distribution are all worthless.

Exactly. There's this new myth of "YouTube-o-genesis" -- just put your stuff up on YouTube, and users can "discover you," and then you start raking in the big bucks, no labels or whatever needed.

And yes, that HAS happened. But for every sudden "YouTube sensation," there are 10,000 people out there who are uploading stuff that gets 5 views only from their friends. And among those 10,000 unlucky people are usually loads of talented folks... they just need some help getting attention.

Labels can still be a path to help that (though they're not the ONLY path). Getting a few percent of revenue from a label that actually promotes you, gets you gigs, etc., is likely a lot better than the beer money people chip in when you just sing at the local karaoke bar.

And I hate the RIAA's abusive copyright tactics as much as anyone else here, and I'll be the first to criticize labels that do bring in large revenues for their executives and staff, but pay a pittance to artists. Nevertheless, they CAN still serve a function, and thus many independent artists still DO sign on.

Comment Re:Bluetooth Headphones (Score 1) 311

Plus Bluetooth on Android (may be true of iOS too, no idea) is fairly bug ridden and crappy. I've seen three relatively recent Android phones that crash if they try to connect to our minivan's BT system. Googling for "bluetooth share has stopped" (the error message the phones give) show this is a common problem and has been for some years. Looks like the 4.x series was the last version of Android that had remotely stable Bluetooth support.

You'd think, at the very least, Samsung would hold off until Google can put out a half way stable Bluetooth stack.

Comment Re:Wrong even if correct (Score 1) 209

Really? So I just got a 'raise' at work from deflation, somehow that is demotivating?

Here's the fallacy -- how long do you think that "raise" will last in a persistent deflationary economy? Prices are going down, because monetary value is going up. That means corporate revenues go down. People with large amounts of money invest much less, because an investment would have to have a LARGE rate of return to actually be worthwhile... otherwise, you just hide your money under your mattress.

So, fewer investors, decreasing prices... corporate revenues go down. And somehow you think get to keep you "raise" at your current salary in deflated dollars?? Fat chance. Eventually, they need to start decreasing your salary -- probably even more than to keep "pace" with deflation, because of the decreased revenues. Or they just start laying people off.

But that's only the tip of the iceberg. Why would you buy property in a deflationary economy, when it is likely to be a depreciating asset? Loans become nearly impossible to justify -- banks would still have to charge interest on them to justify them, which means you're throwing money at a depreciating asset, while the principal of your loan and your payment sizes effectively grow due to deflation. And given the depreciating value of assets, banks are likely to require additional insurance fees in case of default (a lot more than they have on risky mortgages today).

People stop trying to get loans to open new businesses. Investors stop financing them, unless it's basically a "sure thing," since they can "make money" just stashing their cash away. People stop taking out loans for basic things like real estate and houses.

"But," you say, "Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe people should learn to save up more before buying a large purchase." Okay, except who do they rent from in the meantime if they don't take out a mortgage on a house? The people owning rental property face the same difficulties in maintaining a rationale for owning it. If it's decreasing in value, along with other goods, rents will eventually be driven down too (along with the decreasing salaries). Why invest in maintaining property? -- it's just throwing money at a continuously depreciating asset.

If you're a landlord in such an economy, the best strategy is probably to dump your property now and get more money out of it while you still can before its value decreases further.

And we can go on and on. People hoarding cash and dumping most other investments leads to economic stagnation, then worse. Eventually this results in a deflationary "spiral" and the economy tanks.

Oh sure, throughout all of this SOME people will still invest and spend money, but it becomes increasingly hard to justify.

People who support deflation generally never think through even the basic next steps in their logic. They just think they'll magically have "higher salaries" coming from somewhere to spend on cheaper goods. That doesn't happen in real economies. The only people steady deflation is good for are people who have giant money bins already. For everybody else, you'd be much better off with the 1-2% mild inflation and actually having a more active economy.

Comment Re:We knew this going in (Score 1) 448

No, you are wrong. It's been planned for months. Here are some quotes:

Some of the GOP’s most ardent Taiwan proponents are playing active roles in Trump’s transition team.......Several leading members of Trump’s transition team are considered hawkish on China and friendly toward Taiwan, including incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus.

It was planned weeks ahead by staffers and Taiwan specialists on both sides, according to people familiar with the plans.

At the Republican National Convention in July, Trump’s allies inserted a little-noticed phrase into the party’s platform reaffirming support for six key assurances to Taiwan

Trump did the right thing. China should not be allowed to conquer Taiwan. Why would you think allowing that's a good idea?

Comment Re:Here's an idea (Score 1) 161

Cut out the greedy RIAA pigs and give the money straight to the artist.

There's a reason that won't happen: the RIAA's skills are more important than thee artists' skills.

There are plenty of really good musicians all over the place. The reason you haven't heard of them is because of poor marketing. The artists you do hear about have good marketing. If the RIAA dies, another marketing agent will replace them (or, a cluster of marketers).

To make $1 million as a musician, you don't even need to sing in tune. But you do need marketing.

Comment Re:Inflation or Rally? (Score 1) 209

They would not even seek to stop it, considering the value of 1-2% per year "normal" (that's a tax on wealth, BTW).

Small amounts of inflation are NOT a "tax on wealth." I suppose you might consider it a "tax on money you hide under your mattress."

But in the real world, mild inflation encourages people with wealth to get that money out from under their mattress and invest it somewhere or do something with it.

Deflation, on the other hand, encourages hoarding of money, which means investments have to have much larger returns to seem worthwhile, so most people prefer to just keep their money "under their mattress." And why buy anything unless you need it right NOW? If you wait a year, it will be effectively "cheaper" since the value of your money has grown.

Basically, deflation means economic activity decreases significantly, which means EVERYBODY loses except for those who have huge amounts stuffed under their mattresses.

There are some folks under the mistaken impression that deflation will be good even for normal folks, since their money will buy more. Except do you really think your salary can stay the same in a consistently deflationary economy? Fewer people are investing or buying anything, which means economic activity goes down, which means less revenue at a lot of companies. That means the average Joe either is looking at a salary decrease to "keep pace" with deflation (actually likely more than that, due to the effects of decreased economic activity overall, which depress revenues) or else they just start firing people.

Staying at a steady "0" (no inflation or deflation at all) is nearly impossible. So, yes, government policy tends to try to stay stable at a low inflation rate, which both gives a mild buffer to the rate (avoiding the dangers of deflation) and gives a mild encouragement to investors to keep pumping money out, rather than hiding it under the mattress. Having a slight preference for economic activity over inactivity benefits us all significantly.

Unless you have a giant money bin full of enough to keep you going for the rest of your life already, you likely would do much WORSE in a deflationary economy than having mild 1-2% inflation with its supposed "tax."

Comment Re: Yeah but... (Score 1) 183

That's why DVR users aren't thieves - in the end, the programming they like gets cancelled, so in the end they just hurt themselves in the long run.

That assumes they would have watched the same shows with ads. I can honestly say that I wouldn't, because in 2001 I canceled my cable completely because I found US TV unwatchable because of the ads. It wasn't until four or five years later that I "came back", and that was a combination of my soon-to-be wife wanting TV, and me requiring we have a DVR as part of the package.

What we're actually seeing now, as a result of the effect the DVR has had on the industry and the opportunities the Internet provides, is a massive, unprecedented, move to subscription TV. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, are all producing their own TV programming, with quality as good as the broadcast networks, and networks like HBO are broadening the ways in which their content can be obtained. Meanwhile even the broadcast networks are finding people buy their shows if they put each episode up on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, etc, immediately after broadcasting them.

Did we screw ourselves? Nah. I think we're getting what we asked for. And for the most part, we're getting what we wanted as a result.

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Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe