Wednesday, February 3, 2010

wtf is this crap?

Crap Mariner is a robot whose internet "presence" is undeniable. Being a robot, Crap is presumably gender moot, but I have no idea. I love Crap's name, it's been rolling around my head for a few days. I love Crap's blog, which I've only just begun reading and do not yet profess to understand. I am very aware that Crap is highly regarded in certain circles, and Crap's opinions are touted across the length and breadth of the grid.

My morning lately consists of reading blogs and perusing the network sites. This morning I read that Crap Mariner "will only tip performers that are listed in Tunes inSL" and "will only tip venues that display the sign" for the same entity. Immediately, I thought I had better check out this thing called Tunes in SL, because I would hate to miss out on a life-sustaining venue tip simply by not having understood the importance of the Tunes in SL venture.

To be honest, I was expecting something worthily connected, perhaps raising awareness, or funds for some righteous cause. But no. Or not, at least, at it's inception. "I started off Tunes inSL because I had been given a bunch of iTunes gift certificates and wanted to buy music from SL performers with them." Oh, okay. So this is Crap's personal project. Right. Well ... it's a good idea. And it supports live music, which many of us enjoy and which needs support.

In case you didn't know, here's a quick rundown on how live music works in SL. This is the generalised version. We all have friends, god knows, Idle Rogue would not survive without them. And friends make special concessions to friends, that's understood. But if you are a new venue or a new artist in Secnond Life, the procedure goes something like this:

* Artists equip themselves to stream effectively into SL, with such musical instruments, hardware and software as they can afford to provide the best quality performance. They then seek venues to perform at and hopefully deliver performances that encourage a fan base. Common wisdom has it that startout artists will work for tips. Artists with a small fan base will work for 1000-1500L. Artists whose group has more than 100 members can command fees starting from 4000L.

* Venues rent or buy the land and build or buy the premises they will operate from. They undertake to meet the costs of running the venue and can do this by sourcing revenue in any of the usual ways - subletting real estate, retailing content, and tips from avatars to the venue. They also use these funds to pay the artists the fees mentioned above.

* The theory, as I have come to understand it, is that artists with a large following will bring good "traffic" to the venue. That traffic will then spend money in the various ways mentioned above. That money goes to the venue operator and is used to, at least, offset, the costs of paying for the performer.

* The problem, as I see it from a venue owner's perspective, is that staging a live performance actually brings very little return to the venue. Avatars assume that the artists are working for tips only, and naturally give their lindens to the talent. Large or popular gigs are extremely hard going for a lot of fans, and lag prevents them from camming around and purchasing something that might take their fancy. And fans, by their nature, follow the artist. They do not stay on after the gig, have a look around, purchase items or join the group with the intention of returning on a regular basis.

So when Crap Marriner announces that tips for the month of February will only go to those who support Crap's personal venture, I cringe on behalf of Idle Rogue, and on behalf of the artists who so generously share their time with us there.

Because it's not just about me and my little club, though in the past few weeks I have watched several well-known and loved venues fold. It's not even just about all clubs. Because, you see, the only artists who can be on Tunes in SL are "performers with music for sale".

So, for my fledgling artists - who are scrambling to get up to the speed of real world money earners like The Follow; who are in beg/borrow/steal mode to get good equipment in order to compete; and who haven't even begun to consider how or whether to record and distribute their music - the tips of Crap Marriner, and those who follow Crap's advice, will not be a prospect. At least for this month.

The Follow, incidentally, cost a venue 15000L for an hour's access. Please tip your venues. Take my word for it, they are hurting.

EDIT: To his credit, Crap Mariner has taken the time to respond to this post in his own blog, and I urge anyone with further interest in the matter to give him a fair hearing. I appreciate the time he took to consider and respond to my opinion.


  1. *shakes her head in awe*...
    If my memory serves me correctly if your PRO musicians, in SL and RL, wouldn't you be doing everything you can to support them?.. That might sound like there's an obvious answer, but by the sounds of it, people need a reminder!

    I don't know Crap (pun intended) and I'm just hoping he/she isn't one of those Avi's (even for the month) who stands up the back at a gig and refuses to tip an OUTSTANDING artist, and a venue that would go to the back-of-beyond to support that artist, and the fans who come to see them..
    .. because your NOT Pro Musicians.. Your PRO self-indulgence..

  2. Crap is many things....obnoxious, altruistic, offensive, helpful, cranky, creative and thousands of other adjectives I don't have the energy to include.
    He also hosts performers at his home and accepts no tips from the audience for himself - he insists that all tips go to the performers.
    The history of Tunes in SL is much longer and more complex than you were able to spend time learning and his point about his not tipping in February is directly related to other projects he has been working on and is not intended to diss anybody. He would also be apoplectic if he thought his readers would stop tipping artists or venues. Again, some more research would have given you the background to understand that.
    One thing is certain, Crap does as much or more to support live music in SL on behalf of all of the artists who share their talents with us than 99.9% of the worlds' residents - venue operators included.
    The really good news is that his regular readers and even his opponents understand much more about his beliefs, activities and history than you do.

  3. I started to comment here and deleted my words three times now.

    You are absolutely correct to defend musicians starting out in SL. Why don't they take advantage of Crap's very good name and send him info he can share with his wide audience? They get exposure and a tip from Crap on top of it. Seems like a win/win, no?

    Also, Crap has done more for the Sl music scene than anyone I know and has done so for years on end. You might do yourself a favor and get to know him.

  4. I'm impressed at your attempt to shoot SL live music in the foot by attacking one of its biggest supporters.

    Your selective quoting from Crap's blog left out an important fact, which you then misstated: Tunes inSL was expanded to cover all musicians during January 2010 (see It isn't the site's main goal, but it doesn't actively exclude them.

    Crap is sometimes loud and sometimes silent as he goes about supporting SL live music, but he has always been sincere in his support of it. He gives his time, effort, and I would not begin to imagine how much money to help musicians. The fact that he put together a musician of a directory to help SL musicians capture outworld revenue when all LL could be bothered to do was say "Live music is a killer app for our platform. We'll get around to helping musicians next year, ok?" shows an initiative to help music in SL despite the Lab's indifference. I, for one, applaud that.

  5. Baffled!

    Its a shame you didn't read Crap's blog further, then you would have seen that he opened Tunes inSL up to all musicians, not just those with music for sale and if more people stepped up and endlessly worked in support of music in SL as Crap does, it would be a good thing!

    Why anyone(especially a venue owner) would have an issue with the project and one person not tipping (for reasons that have been stated) is beyond me. Having owned a live music venue in SL for over 3yrs now personally i consider the Tunes inSL project to be one of the most valuable resources for SL musicians as a catchall for all their info, for venue owners to find out about musicians and for music listeners to find out about musicians. I have supported the project since it started and i think that anyone interested in helping music in SL should help out, not give out!

    Spare a prim and put up a poster!

  6. lol ... wow, sorry folks, I didn't intend the post to be taken as any kind of personal attack on Crap. I'm very glad you all came by to defend his right to tip at will, though :-D

    My problem was that a highly influential avatar seemed to have announced that there should be no tipping for the month of February to venues or artists who didn't support Tunes in SL. I can see now I need only have read back through previous posts far enough and all would have become clear.

    On the upside, I'm pretty impressed with Crap even bothering to explain himself. I still think a new arrival in blogland might miss the point,as I'm certain everyone who's been here did, but I thank you for your time :-)