Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Announcing Digital Subscriptions to

Yes, yes, I know. You'd hardly read here if you had to pay. There are plenty of other sources for half-assed art world commentary and amateur political punditry. But that's just too bad. Daddy wants a brand new Mini-Cooper and, well, it's an important life lesson to learn that nothing in this world is free.

So starting next week, is introducing digital subscriptions. I'm not promising any additional content or higher quality of content, mind you. Just the same off-the-cuff, polluted stream of consciousness drivel you're used to wading through now. But once you sign up you will be guaranteed full access to my pontifications, gallery press releases, holiday photos, and other electronic regurgitations on your computer, smartphone and tablet. Of course, I still reserve the right to go on vacation and cease blogging while doing an art fair. You'll get at least one day's notice before that happens though.

If you don't sign up for the new digital subscription, you will still have access to a maximum of 20 archival postings each year. Choose them wisely. And understand that if you open a new window to read the comments or add one of your own, that will count against one of your 20 freebies.

OK, OK, this seemed funnier in my head while taking a shower this morning. I am not introducing a digital subscription, but rather voicing my (slight) annoyance in how The New York Times has.

I do believe it's time that proper news organizations are able to earn money from their online offerings. We cheapskates have been gorging ourselves at the all-we-can-eat buffet of free news for long enough. But in trying to sort out whether or not I wish to sign up for the Times digitial subscription (and which one), I've noticed a few flaws in their "20 free articles each month" idea. Yes, I do understand the old pusher-in-the-playground approach to giving away a bit of product knowing your client will soon be hooked, but as I joked about above, the Times isn't introducing any new content that I can see and so there's nothing more than frustration that I've reached my 20-article limit that might push me to break out the credit card. I would advise them to consider a bit more, oh, I don't know...perhaps more gallery reviews or something like that.

Also, it's not entirely clear what constitutes an "article" or how the Times is keeping track. Yes, I have an account with them, but am I charged for navigating around to my favorite sections (probably not), what if I accidentally click on the wrong link (do I need to be on a certain article for a certain length of time for it to count?), and what about the publisher's "Letter to Our Readers About Digital Subscriptions" (does that count against my 20?).

As much as I empathize with the industry and know they need to find ways to earn money through online content, I hope this is only the first part of a trial-and-error period and the Times and others will keep working to get it right. Not quite there yet, IMHO.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got around this one by subscribing to the NYT with their Weekend Edition. I get Fri/Sat/Sun papers and get to read the paper online Mon-Thur. It's the best of both worlds.

Personally I don't get this business model of getting something for nothing. I support the NYT because as flawed as it is there is no #2 paper for me in the US. It's the only newspaper worth reading on a daily basis and I want it to keep flying as high as possible.

-----ondine nyc

3/30/2011 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Saskia said...

Did you not get an email that Lincoln cars wants to give you unlimited free access for the rest of 2011? I did... it kind of creeped me out, but I clicked the link to sign up. I'm with Edward, though, rather buy a new mini than a Lincoln.

3/30/2011 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Art Snob said...

I've done the same. Actually, I've been a Sunday-only subscriber for a few years.

I've enjoyed spending part of my Sunday morning with "paper."

3/30/2011 11:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Bernard Klevickas said...

I actually thought you were serious at first. Yesterday you do this webinar for a hefty fee (and nothing against you or Mr. Klein needing to make money and pay the cost of the webinar provider) but your charging to the poor artists living on a limited bugdet or perhaps unemployed in this environment who are trying everything to get their work out there. As much as I usually appreciate the advice you give to unknown/underknown artists I have a difficult time as seeing this much different than preying on the desperate.

3/30/2011 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Art Snob said...

Though my biggest concern (fear, really) is this practice eliminates the "free" from "Free Speech" and "Freedom of the Press."

3/30/2011 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

your charging to the poor artists living on a limited bugdet or perhaps unemployed in this environment who are trying everything to get their work out there.

Let me see, Bernard. One hour of private, focused discussion as part of a webinar series the included many, many artists as speakers (are they also preying on the desperate???), versus nearly 6 years now of free advice nearly every day to folks who have never paid a single cent.

I think I can live with that on my conscience.

3/30/2011 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I actually thought you were serious at first.

From the bottom of my serious heart: screw you!

3/30/2011 11:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

... and the money from advertising in the NYT goes where ?!

What a joke, we can live without the NYT, there are alternatives...

Ha ha ha ... lol.

3/30/2011 11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Gam said...

Google is an example of the free content profit model. They give lots of free access to their "per-users" and charge the bedajus form the compiled database of market data to the advertisers and marketers.

What you might consider Ed is a Winkleman Wall. Charge 'artists" a 20$ entry fee for juried inclusion is a 2 week or one week digital exhibit on a given art theme. Being juried you can choose what interests you, you expand interest in the site with changing bi-weekly content and if you had an agreement to to a percentage of on line sales for work in the Winkleman Wall, you could drop the 20$ fee and just keep your take on the sale. Artists or collectors could have a digital means of selling work via a respected digital gallery space and the gallery gets a payable means to pre-peruse the artists market available. (I realize it would involve a google checkout service or whatever and shipping policies- but its an example of a possible minor revenue stream without charging actual access to the content)

glad the blogs still has an open door!

(actually believe the parable where you collect more crumbs from the loaves freely given then the loaves themselves - teachers learn more then they actually teach )

3/30/2011 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous PuzzleArtist Alli said...

this is a straightforward issue ed, fraught with pitfalls and gaping hidden abysses ready to swallow us, whole or explode or is that implode and swallow us or something BAD, but the reality is that businesses stay in business by charging a fee for their service or products. blogs and other personal shared writings and ideas have been a communal shared experience since the beginning of time - but
as soon as kindle began selling newspapers they blew off the lid of intergalactic commerce and noncommerce/shared experience because they also charge for the blog experience to the tune of a few bucks each for those on the go. enterprise has been around since the first traders offered stuff for sale on a traveled road or in a village square or from inside their igloo. thats just the way things are. human nature. need to eat. need to own more toys. whatever. so the issue is a huge one. internet content that was free is not always free any longer. am i pissed? u bet i am! am i willing to pay for things on the internet i want - knowledge, stuff, experience, whatever - u bet i am! do i like it? hell no. and as an artist who spends LOTS of greenbacks for art supplies, art books, art conferences, art trips, art promotion, art consulting, art exhibiting costs, art shipping, art art art, i am wondering how i will be able to afford the physical things i need as well as the internet versions of those same things. i can foresee it doubling or at least greatly increasing the cost of doing art. and thats the rub. thanks for listening to my freebie rantings ed. PuzzleArtist Alli Berman

3/30/2011 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

teachers learn more then they actually teach

No question about that. I do very much appreciate what I learn here regularly.

Need to clear the air about something and then will return to the more light-hearted tone of the post. Regarding my little tantrum at Bernard: he (and much more than most people) hyper-melodramatically and somewhat intellectually dishonestly can find the victim stance in any situation. I've seen it repeatedly. Someone, somewhere needs to call him on that sh*t.... For his own good. It makes one radioactive in the art world.

I would also call bullsh*t on Bernard's assertion that all artists interested in such opportunities are "poor" or "desperate." No one was forced to participate. If the price wasn't worth it to you, there are plenty of other sources for the information. You might have to work harder yourself to find the information, but that's life.

It's the same with the Times's subscriptions. You could claim that the paper's poor, desperate readers are being preyed upon by the news corporation (with the implication being that the Times should give their information away for free), but the truth of the matter is the same information is (or soon will be) available in other sources. They're not as convenient (or timely or trustworthy), but that's life. To get convenience, timeliness, trustworthiness, you may in some instances need to pay. The people who work hard to make it convenient, timely and trustworthy deserve to be paid just like anyone else.

3/30/2011 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Bernard Klevickas said...

Fair enough. Only I don't see myself as being intellectually dishonest. Could you point out specific cases? I write what I feel and I don't hide behind pseudonyms. In terms of being radioactive- yeah, I worry about that sometimes and try to be diplomatic. I wish no ill to anyone and always appreciate the dialogue.

3/30/2011 02:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Larry said...

If this is today's post, what's left for this Friday?

3/30/2011 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Only I don't see myself as being intellectually dishonest. Could you point out specific cases?

I would submit this statement:

your charging to the poor artists living on a limited bugdet or perhaps unemployed in this environment who are trying everything to get their work out there

Who among the people who freely agreed to participate fits that description?

I'll wait....

If you can't answer that, then your argument isn't an honest depiction of the actual situation.

3/30/2011 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...



3/30/2011 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Bernard Klevickas said...

I considered signing on, and if it were $10-25 I probably would have. When I saw the price I gasped. In the grand scheme of things, could I have afforded it and be able to still buy my lunches until payday- well, yes.

Has a poor artist come up to me in the street on my way home from work asking for change so that they can partake in your webinar- well, no.

Let me elaborate on my point and reasoning behind my comment earlier: You have helpful advice that numerous artists out there would want to know and you offered it for a fee. I refrained for commenting on it yesterday partly because Mr. Klein has been a strong supporter of sculpture in Chicago (I lived there for awhile and he had a nice gallery there) and partly because you have a right to want to make money off of your knowledge. When I saw the headline of your post today it made me think Uh-Oh, now he's gone ahead and done it and I probably can't afford it either. So I typed up my comment.

Poor, I picture as an artist who feels they have tried everything and cannot get ahead. I do not mean it necessarily as starving, and as my joke above suggests no one came to me as desperately needing your advice, it is an assumption of mine that there are many out there who are afraid to complain or speak up lest they become "radioactive", but maybe I'm wrong.
I cannot know who did pay the fee and sat-in on your event because I did not pay the fee. Maybe those artist's will benefit greatly from your advice. Some kind of follow-up would be interesting to see.

Even though I've been to some events that included you as a speaker and also came to the #class and #rank events that I could get to I still wonder if you showed some secret handshake or something that you did not give away in these other events.

Melodramic- OK (it is the art world after-all), but I don't see intellectually dishonest.

3/30/2011 03:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Bernard Klevickas said...

I misspelled melodramatic.

3/30/2011 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Rachel Harvey said...

I was seriously relieved to find out half-way through the post that you aren't really charging (yet). I just discovered your blog, and while I'm well on my way to being hooked-- at least to the art discussions-- I'm one of those cheapskates you mentioned! And since I'll be working through the archives for a while, that limit of 20 just would not cut it.
So I hope you continue to get enough non-monetary satisfaction from producing your blog... at least until I catch up! (yes, I'm an artist, all about me):)

3/30/2011 11:50:00 PM  

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