Is Modest Mouse Missing The Boat?

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My favorite track on the new Modest Mouse record is called Missed The Boat.

It’s a great song which you’ll enjoy if you just hit that play button. And it turns out it’s the next single on the record (first one being Dashboard). The other blogging Jackson (conveniently named Jackson West) points out in NewTeeVee that Modest Mouse is letting it’s fans make the video to this song.

Here’s a link to the contest page in case you are interested.

Jackson West isn’t so sure he likes this trend. He says:

I’ve been looking at some of these user-generated content contests
with a more critical eye of late. The attention economy is all well and
good, but Epic and Apple are into the economy economy — you know, the
one with cash money exchanged for goods and services.

Who owns the rights to your finished piece? Epic presumably owns the
original source footage, and you own any additional content created and
then composited in. So does that mean that you’re entitled to a cut
every time someone downloads the video from the iTunes Music Store?
What about sales of Modest Mouse retrospective DVDs that might include
the video?

Turker, a reader who wrote to me about that post, said to me:

It seems there is never going to be an end to user generated content contests but what is disturbing to me is that I feel like companies who are actually making money are taking advantage of the buzz around user generated content and try to monetize attention economy by giving back very little to the user.

I don’t feel that way at all. I’d love to make that video (it’s not going to happen because I’ve got a few other things to do right now). And I’d love it if my video was selected. I wouldn’t want any compensation. I’d be sharing my love for Modest Mouse and the song Missed The Boat with the world and that would be just fine with me. I suspect that the vast majority of the people who participate in this contest feel the same way.

Jackson West ends his post with the following observation:

So, exciting foray into mashup culture and media democratization, or way to get both advertising and publicity for free?

I’m leaning towards the latter.

Well yes, these user generated contests are a great way to get content and publicity for free. But in a world where a lot of Modest Mouse fans are getting their music for free as well, I am not sure that’s such a bad thing.

The Internet takes a lot of revenue out of the system but it also takes a lot of costs out of the system too. I think Modest Mouse should be applauded for this one. And for their new record which is fantastic.