Go Jayhawks!

Some of you (particularly the Americans among you) may have noticed that there’s this little athletic ritual this time of year called the NCAA basketball championships and that a little ballclub from the University of Kansas called the Jayhawks are in the Final Four.

It seems negligent for me not to say anything about it here :) especially when two of the team members have been my students.

I can get excited about basketball in moments such as this, but basically I’m a lousy sports fan. Sports just don’t do much for me, and when I do get emotionally invested I find the stress of the game more painful than pleasurable (will we win? 16 second left and they have the ball and the best shooter in college basketball? agh! they shoot! agh! they miss! YES!).

Still, when a game ends and you can hear nothing but car horns honking in celebration for the next several hours, it’s hard not to get caught up in the joy that is exuberant local fandom.

Especially when you look at Facebook, and find that friends who no longer live here have promptly changed their pictures to KU flags or Jayhawks. When you look at Twitter and find alumni friends in other cities writing “omg! omg! omg!” during those last 16 second of the game.

When my local paper published pictures of fans celebrating downtown after the victory, my first instinct was to post the link to Facebook, knowing that our alumni who are not here would want to feel that connection to Lawrence, Kansas. As a journalist for the Topeka paper described it:

Lawrencians didn’t attend the actual game, but they certainly made memories. The celebration was something the likes of which I’d never seen, and might never see again. And amongst all the madness, it seemed like fans were behaving. Sure, there was sloshed beer and shouting, but there were families smiling and strangers embracing. (source)

And my remote friends did appreciate the link. They couldn’t get downtown, but at least they could browse the pictures and imagine what it felt like. And they could do that within hours of the victory when the intensity of emotion was all still there.

All of which makes me appreciate the many little ways in which the net can facilitate people’s sense of connection to geographic place and how fandom can invigorate and keep those place-ties alive well past one’s time living there.

Music is All about Money

Behold my favorite April fools post (so far) from Swedish independent label Hybris:

Due to illegal filesharing Hybris will have to shut down it’s business.

There are simply no economic incentive for our artists to create when copyright laws are not respected.

Hybris is one of several Swedish indie labels that have banded forces to create The Swedish Model. They share a commitment to celebrating file sharing as a means of music distribution and to building dialogue about creative ways to conduct the business of music.

In The Swedish Model’s statement they say wise things like:

We like computer nerds who put their souls into building protocols that efficiently spreads the music that we love. We are modern you know. We don’t want to have appeals against laws or pirates. We don’t want to have appeals against the appeals either. We want to have a creative discussion about how we can refine the distribution forms and how we further can refine the art form of music.

It is impossible to say yes or no to file sharing. It is something that exists and can’t be removed. Get started and put the energy towards driving the development instead of trying to slow it down. It’s not possible to slow it down – the force in great changeovers that are good for humanity is much too strong for special interest organizations and laws to stop it. That’s it. Stop whining. If you are creative and the music you make is good then there will always be space for you.

It hurts when old business models break. New models will however always take their place. Right now we’re at the end of one epoch and in the beginning of another. The key to moving on is to let the old epoch die and the new germinate. That can only happen if one accepts the new conditions the internet has brought. And it is really time to try new ideas instead of clinging to the old.

Read an interview about the Swedish Model Avi Roig conducted on Its A Trap!.

Read another post where Hybris talk about “the trap of the file sharing debate” here. Find some select quotes from interviews I did with Hybris and others where they elaborate some of these ideas here.

I approve!