Cortney Harding Interview Transcription

By July 1, 2016


George: Cortney Harding, so nice to talk to you. Thanks for doing this.

Cortney: Yeah, thanks for having me.

George: So we have known each for a little while now and I’m just such an admirer of your intellect and the way you keep pushing things out there and being visible and working on exciting projects. It’s always, it’s always great when I get to be on a panel with you or just read your writing. So I really, really appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Cortney: Thank you, that’s so nice to hear.

George: It’s all true. So give, give a little bit of background on who you are and how we came to be talking.

Cortney: Yeah, so I started in the music industry writing for Billboard. I was a writer there, I became an editor there. And when I was there I was covering a lot of the music business and started focusing on tech. And came to realize that there needed to be someone who understood both the music business and the tech space well. And could be a liaison between between those two worlds. So I left and founded my consultancy that I have had for five years now.

George: Nice.

Cortney: Just crazy to think about. And so I work with a number of different clients. Right now I am working with a virtual reality company that’s really exciting, it’s called Fourth Dimension. Really young company but doing incredible stuff so far. I am working with Tokenly, which hopefully we will get to talk about a little bit later.

George: Sure, I know Tokenly.

Cortney: Doing really, really innovative stuff in the music and crowdfunding and bitcoin space. Really excited to work with them and learn from them. I do a lot of writing both under my own name and for some clients. I help them with their editorial strategy. And yeah I might be working on…

George: You got a recent book out too.

Cortney: I do I have a book out. And I might be working on another big exciting book project.

George: Nice.

Cortney: That’s still a little bit TBD. But it’s hopefully all going to work out if I can find the time. But yeah consulting is weird. It’s feast or famine and right now I’m in the feast stage. But there’s just like a lot of food on the table.

George: Enjoy it. So, well that’s great and what an awesome background and I love the sort of, that sort of overlap of tech and music. I mean I increasingly think that it’s now more than ever that the tech business with sort of a passion for music rather than the music business for better or for worse. But, but that’s where we are. So with Music2020 we’ve got sort of three, three prongs and I want to get your perspective on, on each of them. But they’re all sort of trying to approach you know how can we envision a music business that’s, you know ultimately have more winners than losers. Right, I mean think we would all agree that, that while more people can sort of make music today and that’s wonderful and I wouldn’t go back. The systems that we have in place maybe are not optimized and so really it’s our goal to sort of get, get disparate voices and talk this through and just sort of raise the level of discourse. But the three prongs really relate to sort of how can musicians be compensated more fairly, and what is fairly? How can the sort of the radio, streaming services ect. business partners, how can that partnership be one that’s better, more efficient, more transparent, more what have you? And then how do we get to place where there are less intermediaries determining who gets to be heard based on things other than market demand or value? Those are the three things and sort of a through line as you mentioned of all that will be technology for us whether you know it’s the bitcoin blockchain, and just the ethos of distributed ledgers we believe that to be a big part. So, I mean if you could just sort of freewill comment on those elements as you like or I can be more direct in my questions. But bottom line, what’s wrong with the industry now and what can be done to improve it moving forward?

Cortney: Oh, my god. How many hours do you have?

George: We don’t have hours. We have this conversation and hopefully many more but, but high level and you know for us we want to get this both in the hands of young people and students. So, you don’t have to get too granular. You’re out there living it.

Cortney: I am.

George: What’s really broken and what can we do to fix it?

Cortney: Well so I think there is a couple of things. I think first of all the value question that you started with. Is 100% the correct way to, to sort of approach it because no one really knows what the value of a song is now.

George: Right, right.

Cortney: The value of a song in many people’s eyes is zero. Or it’s sitting through a 15 second ad on MySpace, I’m sorry, geez on YouTube or that was a little weird.

George: Distinction without a difference on Freudian slip.

Cortney: Yeah not quite sure where that came from but you know it’s listening to an occasional add on Pandora, it is listening to an occasional add on Spotify. So for a huge number of people the value of a song is zero, unfortunately. But then it gets kind of tricky because even when you talk to people who are fighting that tooth and nail no one seems to have an answer. So, I’ve spoken to many prominent people who hate Spotify and hate Pandora and think they are ruining the world and devaluing music and the question I ask them is okay what’s the correct rate? Like, you’re going into a negotiating session, what’s the number? Right. Everyone’s got to have a number where they start from. What’s yours? And it’s like crickets. And then they yell about how Tim Westergren runs [redemption?]. And that’s a really big problem because if you’re gonna fight the system you need an end point. Like we’re never going back to buying CD’s, we’re never gonna reverse the internet. So, we need to think about how to move forward knowing that the value of a song, in many people’s eyes is zero. I’m fascinated by the Fight for $15 campaign.

George: Talk about that a little bit.

Cortney: So Fight for $15 and I’m not a labor expert.

George: Sure.

Cortney: Although I’m friends with some. So this is mostly what I learned from them. The Fight for $15 is basically a movement by minimum wage workers mostly in fast food all though some in other industries to guarantee fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage. It has been pretty successful so far in some different territories, cities, different cities have passed fifteen dollar minimum wages, presidential candidates have talked about it. It’s you know it’s moved further because these minimum wage workers have kind of changed the debate. They have spoken a lot about supporting their families. They have changed the way we think about the people who do that labor. So think commonly the perception of minimum wage workers was that they were you know kids or old people who just sort of wanted to work for fun. They were people who didn’t need the work and now we see them as people who need the work. We see them as you know mostly immigrants, or people of color who have children to support. And I think that has changed the discussion. So you know maybe there is something there for musicians to look at it. Do we change the story from like, oh I think most people think of a rock musician as like some kid in a band who’s like 22 and just drinks a lot and parties. And if we change the discussion to really talk about this is a labor and this is a livelihood might we have more success in convincing people to pay more for music? I don’t know.

George: No, I love it because what you represent is sort of a value proposition right. I mean you can look a minimum wage labor and your respective of what side that you’re on. You can say okay they are being paid for a service or a good right. And, and we as a society want to sort of ascribe a minimum floor value to that. Now there are people on the other side of that debate. OK, so fine, you’re going to price out a whole variety of workers that would work for less than that. So I don’t particularly want to debate sort of macroeconomic theory but, but what’s interesting to me is that you’ve done something that I don’t know, maybe it’s being talked about a little bit but not that many people are doing it. I don’t think people are doing it enough. Looking to other industries and best practices. So you can and Benji and others and Imogen have talked about sort of a fair trade around music. Where you say there is this minimal threshold. Going back to your early point of like, what is the value? Part of the reason we can’t define it, is because of and I don’t want to get all libertarian but sort of government intervention and the sense of well the rate it nine point one cents for a physical or download. You know a mechanically royalty.

Cortney: Right.

George: And some fraction thereof for a interactive streaming license mechanical those types of things. Where did that come from? Right, I mean you know there, there are many people that would be willing to sell there music for more. There are other people who say I ain’t getting any nine point one cents. You’re going to pay me a lot more than that. And sort of fair markets would emerge. The problem is, is you can’t or couldn’t do sort of one to one licensing. It just wasn’t efficient enough. You needed a clearing house. Right.

Cortney: Right.

George: Our argument with things like block chain is well, maybe you can.

Cortney: Yeah.

George: You, know, you want to talk about that a little bit?

Cortney: Yeah, I feel this funny I have to say like this is not a paid Tokenly paid advertisement.

George: No, no do it. Yeah that’s…

Cortney: Because I, I mean look…..

George: I love Tokenly.

Cortney: Full disclosure, I work for Tokenly. So I’m going to talk about Tokenly and what they’re working on, but I think conceptually this would work. So, one of the things Tokenly wants to do is disintermediate many businesses, but the music business included. So what does that look like? Basically it looks like the artist being able to set the price for their goods. And that can vary artist by artist. It can vary song by song. It can vary day to day, hour to hour. So, you know a lot of artists who are baby artists should give their music away in the beginning. You know the wall should not be so high that people can’t share their music in hope of gaining new fans. And then bigger artists should be able to say, “You know I wrote this song in twenty minutes in the basement I, you know, just me and my guitar. I’m just jamming, just throwing stuff at the wall. I’ll give it to my fans. They might like it. If they don’t, whatever.” That same artist the next day might go record with the sympathy orchestra and sample to Beatles tracks and charge a much higher price for it.

George: Right, right.

Cortney: Because that’s a more expensive set up. And that’s something fans might want to pay more for. Now you know that’s not a perfect example if you look at how much the Dylan tapes went for. People are still interested in the basement and guitar.

George: Yeah messing around in the basement if you happen to be Bob Dylan and Robbie Robertson. Yeah.

Cortney: Right.

George: Yeah right.

Cortney: So you know but the example is just that artists should be able to control the music and they should be able to control the pricing. And there should be flexibility. So look, if you want to try to sell your track for a hundred dollars, you can try. I mean you’re gonna fail. Probably.

George: For some but, but it does allow for, and so you bring up Tokenly which is, which is a system that is at least inspired by sort of blockchain tech. I don’t know if they’re using the bitcoin blockchain or Ethereum or something else. I don’t really care. You know so much of our perspective is the bitcoin blockchain has liquidity there is lots of reasons to build things on the bitcoin blockchain. However we’re indifferent as to the underlying or the overarching technology. It’s more the overarching ethos that, that sort of distributed ledgers, smart contracts, disintermediation generally represents. And you’ve got these incumbents who, whose main point of existence is you know, gets obviated as soon as they get disintermediated. I mean it’s exactly what Jeff Price and Iredell Lester to a degree did with TuneCore. You know, was like we don’t need you distributors to get artist music onto iTunes right.

Cortney: Yeah.

George: Blockchain sort of says, yeah we don’t need you ASCAP, BMI, Harry Fox or whatever in your current iteration. Now I’m a believer that they have much value beyond sort of being an intermediary but to get a license from a creator to a consumer whether that’s a taco shop or venue, or a radio station, whatever, really don’t really need you to do that anymore.

Cortney: Right.

George: And so they have to redefine what their role is moving forward.

Cortney: Well and even beyond that. I mean like Spotify or Apple Music.

George: That’s right streaming services. Sure, yeah.

Cortney: Streaming services like well, well we need them right? Like streaming services are, you know, they are the ones setting the rate and it’s very confusing.

George: Some of them are setting the rate right? I mean, so you know.

Cortney: True.

George: It’s a lot of governmental intervention on the public performance side of things and on the Pandora side that’s a government rate on both sides of it.

Cortney: No absolutely.

George: Spotify is negotiated, but you’re right.

Cortney: Yeah.

George: And, and that’s part of this mess of well who’s setting the rate and why? And why does one party, why does Pandora have both sides master and composition set by statute? Whereas Spotify only has one side and the rest is negotiated. I mean it’s just a mess.

Cortney: Yeah it’s a mess. You know it’s funny there was a cartoon that came out a while ago. I forget exactly when, but the guy who does the oatmeal which is you know Squirt the turtle. Love cartoons. You know he just did a quick three panel on the music business and the sort of solution is the artist and the fan just deal with each other directly. You know the artist says, “Hey this is five bucks” and the, fan says “Okay”. Or the fan says “That’s too much, can you take three” or ” Oh, I’ll give you seven”. And the artist is able to control their work, to control the pricing, to negotiate their own deals. You know, there could be a way to build a streaming service that has some sort of variable pricing built in to it.

George: I was just going to say dynamic pricing right.

Cortney: Yeah.

George: I mean as it should be right. And my partner on this Scott Kirby, he is fond in saying look, and he built on Andy Weissman’s point of view, “Like we shouldn’t have just five streaming services or four however many we have, we should have thousands.” I mean I would love the Cortney Harding streaming service. I would subscribe to that. RIght?

Cortney: Well we do have many streaming services now. Too many.

George: Do we?

Cortney: Yeah we have like forty or fifty at least.

George: Dominate ones? I mean most people know, most people know sort of Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and then it falls off a cliff. You start talking about Title, Deezer and those types of things.

Cortney: Yeah, well Amazon is going to do one. But yeah…..

George: Amazon, yeah I mean okay, good. I mean I hope we have more. My point is like could we move to its sort of a disintermediated social network where Cortney says “Hey, here is my library it’s on the blockchain.”

Cortney: Right.

George: If you want access to it you know and we figure out the mechanics around that and then that untaps sort of promotional opportunities because your earlier point about some artists are willing to give it away for free. Free! I mean there’s still value, right? I mean they’re still getting value back it, if it’s in the form of promotion. We just haven’t institutionalized that. It’s still just ad hock and unmeasurable.

Cortney: Well and the other thing a service like that would do is compensate the curators. Right.

George: Well that’s what I was trying to say. You just hit the nail on the head. Yes.

Cortney: So, you know, if I were to do my own streaming service people could subscribe to me. My playlist right, they’re paying the artist. I could also take a little bit of a cut.

George: Right.

Cortney: Because I am the one making those playlists.

George: Right.

Cortney: I mean, you know that’s the challenge here. Is yeah, all these, all these streaming services have playlist makers on staff, or as freelancers who are compensated.

George: And increasingly you’ve got Payola around this mix too.

Cortney: And yeah…

George: Which we can talk about the good and the bad of that. I just say decriminalize the damn thing. Just let everyone know. Stop trying to make everyone jump through these insane hoops. You know….

Cortney: Yeah, well it’s like you know is it an end cap or is it radio?

George: Right.

Cortney: Right. That’s the big, like the modern playlist, sorry young people you don’t know what those things are. An end cap like you had at a record store, where old people used to go buy music. You know, because that was paid.

George: Of course it what it was, co-op. Most people don’t understand co-op advertising but that did more to damage the record industry than anything else. But that’s a topic for a different conversation.

Cortney: Yeah, I mean like it was pretty obvious that you know those CD’s didn’t just show up in those prominent places because, I mean look some indie record stores did have staff selections and that’s great. You go to Tower Records, you know it was, it was paid. And that’s, that is what it is.

George: Absolutely and to go down that analogy. The, the records stores quickly realized that they could make far more money selling the real-estate in which they placed the items than by selling the items themselves. Which meant, turn them, turn them really fast. Which meant you never give a CD, a record, whatever, an artist, time to develop. They got about a week in there cause that’s what paid and then they can pay…, yeah that’s an interesting analogy. So, so is the Spotify playlist essentially co-op advertising, is it essentially an end cap?

Cortney: Right and then it gets a little bit blurry because you have these, you know Filter I think is one of them, or I don’t know what they are called but they are essentially record label sponsored playlists. Now there’s little fine print that says that.

George: Well and I don’t know if there needs to be? I mean they’re not, they’re not governed by FCC. Right, so…….

Cortney: Right. That’s the thing it’s the Wild West, there’s no rules. So I have heard from people at different services who’ve said you know, we don’t do that. That’s terrible, it’s all you know our genius play lister’s on staff who make the stuff up. Okay fine, but you know, is that the best way to do it?

George: Yeah. So, so let’s try to get a little more tactical, I mean you know the new artist, the young artist, the people thinking about this sort of music business generally, I’m with you. I mean I think you said it best, let, let what the dude from oatmeal said “I don’t know? Let fans and artists figure it out.” How do we tactically do that today? If you’re an artist? Are there ways to do that? Are we still so beholden to the sort of infrastructures that exist now where that’s an impossibility?

Cortney: Oh, sure, I mean there are certainly direct to fan platforms.

George: Sure, Sure.

Cortney: Artists can and should use those, experiment with them. You can, it’s not that hard to throw a Paypal link up on your website.

George: Right, right or increasingly a bitcoin.

Cortney: Or a bitcoin or you know any sort of, I mean it’s not that hard to do. I think the fact that we don’t have, but it’s so fragmented. So you know, if I if I like ten different bands, I have to go to ten different sites. I have to upload ten different pieces of information, I have to deal with all the you know…

George: I do.

Cortney: It’s a pain. It’s annoying.

George: Yeah.

Cortney: The one thing about streaming services and they’re all more or less the same, everything is in one place. So, I personally use Spotify because it’s all there. There’s a lot of issues I have with Spotify but for ten bucks a month to have everything there, easy. It kind of wins.

George: It wins from the consumer perspective.

Cortney: It wins from the consumer perspective and believe me I feel plenty guilty about it, but at a certain point I also realize that if I felt guilty about every purchase I have ever made I would never, I would have to go like…….

George: You would never leave the house. Yeah. Yeah, but I mean I think it’s important to know and we do want to and I want to sort of make this offer to you and everyone. I want to talk to more brilliant people like yourself both on the, from the position, the seat that you exist in with respect to the industry but I think that the consumer, the customer is left out of these conversations an awful lot.

Cortney: Yeah.

George: So, I would like to talk and my problem is like everyone I know, all my friends are somehow touched by the music business for the most part. So I would like to talk to the smart customers and see if there is any cognitive dissonance or not, or karmic whatever issues with sort of this Golden Age of consumption. Five, ten dollars a month anything I want all the time?

Cortney: So…

George: It seems to good to be true. Right?

Cortney: So, you know what’s funny is that I actually do talk to a fair amount, not a ton I mean I don’t do this for a living but I have interviewed a lot of normal consumers.

George: Right.

Cortney: So, you know the issue is, they kind of don’t care. So, I think that’s what you find and unfortunately a lot of business is…….

George: Don’t want to know how the sausage is made.

Cortney: Yeah, you know what like they have this vague idea that like, yeah Wal-Mart is problematic, but it’s really cheap detergent. You know, so I have spoken to a lot of users who you know they just use free Pandora and YouTube….

George: And that’s enough.

Cortney: And that’s enough. In their minds right, they hear ads. So, free Pandora and YouTube you know preroll ads or during the video ads there like okay, well that’s, that’s how they make money because they came up with radio. Right terrestrial radio…

George: Yes, yes that’s the analog of them.

Cortney: And you know I speak to my sister and her husband who are you know in their thirties and they grew up listening to terrestrial radio. So it’s very normal for them to, to think about oh, Pandora is the same. And arguably Pandora is even a little bit better than terrestrial radio in terms of artist payments, it’s not a great.

George: Well, it is in the sense that in terrestrial radio there is no payment to the performer.

Cortney: Right.

George: With Pandora at least there is a payment via Soundexchange for the right of public performance in the sound recording.

Cortney: Yeah.

George: Yeah, so there is arguably that payment. Well not arguably there is that payment which is better. Prima facie is better than terrestrial radio.
Cortney: Right, so you know I feel like the idea that people are really concerned about musicians unfortunately the conversation that I’ve had, that’s not borne out.

George: Is that…I’m with you. Is that an education thing? And granted your right, maybe it’s ninety nine percent, maybe it’s ninety five percent, but the vast majority of people are going to be perfectly happy and live a completely guilt free existence, with the respect to consuming music, because their essentially casual consumers that want music in sort of the place that they’ve always wanted which is sort of background and nights whatever. We can have a hugely robust improvable industry with the other five percent or one percent. We really can. I mean I think that’s, that’s the area of focus and I don’t know, I think super fans is wrong. Super fans relegates it to like, like you know fractions of fractions of percentages. I think there are people, just as there are for books, for magazines, for others sort of things, that you can certainly get for free that are willing to, to have the money distributed. I think it’s more a distribution problem then it is an actual supply and demand problem.

Cortney: Yeah I think it’s a distribution problem. I feel like you know the hard thing with music is it just collapsed so quickly.

George: Right, right.

Cortney: Other industries you never saw the collapse. Right, so the book industry certainly has gone down…

George: Sure.

Cortney: But, you know the way I look at books right, I buy a lot of book on my Kindle.

George: Sure.

Cortney: $9.99 to me is great price.

George: Sure.

Cortney: For a kindle book you know…

George: And for a publisher I think it’s fine to. You know, I mean you’ve got no cost of goods, no manufacture, no distribution cost. I mean if record…if the label, if downloads had just stayed, if we had stopped at iTunes, ten dollar downloads for an album? That was a beautiful metric in revenue model for labels you know.

Cortney: Yeah, just what the consumers didn’t…

George: Consumers if they can get it for free, we can’t stream a book.

Cortney: Right.

George : You know.

Cortney: Yeah, I feel like that’s, and a book is arguably, you know, it’s right in front of your face. It is, it takes generally a lot longer to read a book and interact with a book then it does to listen to an album. It’s hard to do, it’s a different value proposition. I’m mean, there’s a little bit of a weird crossover with, like, audio books but generally, right generally speaking it’s a different value proposition. The same with movies right. And again like once you have conditioned people that something is free…

George: It’s hard to go back.

Cortney: It’s really hard to put that genie back in that bottle.

George: Yep, yep.

Cortney: And you know, I feel like the arguments that people have made, like there’s nothing that has any sort of merit, as far as I can see. People have said, oh well you can get free coffee or you know cheap coffee at a bodega but people still go to Starbucks. But that has an appreciably different experience. Listening to a song on SoundCloud versus listening to it on Spotify is not an appreciably different experience. So that’s where that sort of falls off.

George: Do we then have to look at it from again going to some sort of percentage? You look in microcosms the resurgence of vinyl. Is the physical element is, is that the only way? And believe me we cannot rely on vinyl to fix the music business as much as we would like that. Is there some other sort of component…a device, that as you say, makes an appreciably different experience, a differentiator?

Cortney: Well so I think it’s experiential. So if you look at the numbers what are people spending money on? They’re spending money on festivals or live music right. You know there are plenty of people who probably went to Bonnaroo this weekend or Governors Ball the weekend before, Coachella last month who don’t pay for streaming music right. They’re like oh, that’s too expensive. Like, $9.99 a month too expensive. And they’ll spend $500.00 dollars to go to the fashion show that’s Coachella or Bonnaroo. You know because in their minds it’s not linked. It’s a totally different experience. So you know the experience then has to be you know is it a great live show? Is it you know something special for fans? Is it video chats? Is it great social media accounts? Is it virtual reality? So I’m really big into virtual reality.

George: Sure, sure.

Cortney: That’s gonna be huge for artists.

George: I agree.

Cortney: Because they can make experiences that are going to be really rich and really entertaining and the fans will want to interact with and VR is a premium product right now.

George: Yes it is and it needs music, right? And, I mean, this goes back to sort of I think if we, and I’m not saying you’re doing this, but if one continues to just look at this sort of traditional value propositions consumption have, it’s music that we have today there is no real good solution, right? Because, to what you are saying, you can’t put the genie back. If we look into the expansive ways in which music can be better integrated into our lives that is differentiated whether it’s through VR, AR or any number of different things, and that we can track that and, as you said, do it in a disintermediated manner then you start going, you start it’s not more how do we make this these limited channels more profitable? We say “We won’t,” or “We’re just going to increase the number of channels and have micro-transactions and better tracking throughout.”

Cortney: Right.

George: That’s really what I’m pushin’ at. Yeah, VR is a great example of that.

Cortney: Yeah I think that’s exactly right. You know I wrote an article earlier today, just a quick little piece, based on a something I saw about drones. How there’s this big thing in Brazil right now where GE has got all theses drones flying around preparing people for the Olympics. And they worked with all these Brazilian artists who soundtracked each of these experiences.

George: That’s exactly what I mean. That’s just an entirely new asset class and categorization that did not exist in any meaningful way a year ago even. Right.

Cortney: Yeah

George: And it’s potential probably won’t be realized for five or ten years. There are hundreds of those. In my opinion what we’ve got to do is get into that mindset. That’s so interesting, I mean you started the conversation looking at other industries to push back into the music and here we are wrapping up that conversation. I don’t know that we necessarily set out to go there, but it’s the theme.

Cortney: Yeah.

George: That to me is the theme.

Cortney: Yeah, and I think for musicians, it’s gotta be…you can’t just think of yourself as, “I am a this” right? You can’t, sorry, you can’t put yourself in a little box.

George: Right.

Cortney: That’s an oddly shaped box, but you get the point.

George: Right.

Cortney: You know and that’s how the economy works these days. It’s not like “Oh, the musical middle class is dying, the middle class is dying.

George: Period right, right full stop.

Cortney: Yeah, and we can debate that all day long but the point is if you think you can just play guitar and write songs and tour and do what people used to do…

George: Good luck.

Cortney: That’s it. I hope you have a trust fund, man, because other than that, it’s gonna be tough. But then it’s like okay I’m gonna write my own music on Monday. I’m gonna write music for drones on Tuesday.

George: Yes.

Cortney: Wednesday I’m going to go work an ad agency.

George: Yes.

Cortney: Because they ad agencies pay, you know look at all of these brand agencies, ad agencies.

George: Sure, sure, I started a company around Music Audience Exchange. I mean that’s what we do. So, but to me, I’m sorry to interrupt you because you’re going down this beautiful thread, but to me that’s awesome, right? That’s art with a capital “A”. Well why would I not want my art to integrate? We, on the site, we’ve got this wonderful artist, Beatie Wolfe. She’s integrating her music into like…garments. I mean, that’s what art is. It’s not, it’s not linear or one dimensional. It should infuse every element of your life.

Cortney: Yeah, you know, you should be meeting, you should be designing clothes.

George: Right.

Cortney: You should be making visuals. You should be selling it to brands. You know again depending on your comfort level and your ethics and whatever. But like you know if you, there are ways for musicians to make money you just have to be more creative and you have to think outside the box.

George: But again, and I don’t mean to hit this so hard. It’s like, in some respects that can be seen as like, “Oh, you need to be more creative, or whatever” in some sort of a brow beating way.

Cortney: No.

George: If you’re an artist that should be manna from heaven. That should be, that should be like, “Wow I get to be more creative.”

Cortney: Yeah.

George: And if it’s not, you’re not an artist…would be my hypothesis. Like, if you’re not a transmedia artist, you’re not an artist.

Cortney: Yeah.

George: It doesn’t make any sense. You know.

Cortney: Yeah, I mean, look you should be, as an artist, able to do different things, like cross boundaries and experiment. And…..

George: That’s what art is.

Cortney: Yeah.

George: Right, right.

Cortney: You know, and yeah this is not a negative. This is not yelling at people to go out…

George: I know, but some artists get into this thing…No, I’m gonna write my song and that’s it. Well, you’re not an artist. I don’t know what you are!

Cortney: Like, that’s fine but you’re not going to make money doing it. So, you know, listen if, if you are so attached to that idea, that’s fine, do that. If that’s what makes you happy, do it. But you’re going to be working a day job to pay your rent.

George: Then, then it’s a hobby.

Cortney: Then it’s a hobby and you know what if that’s the case that’s awesome.

George: Embrace it ya.

Cortney: Yeah do it. I mean I know lots and lots and lots of people who you know have day jobs that they really love and then they get off work and they go home and they sit in there basement for a few hours, they write songs they play at a coffee shops. That’s great, like I am a hundred percent all about that.

George: Right, me too. But that’s a very different…see I’m just trying to flip it around from a bird into an opportunity. I think that’s an important difference. It’s an opportunity now to be in a time period in which your music could be integrated into drones.

Cortney: Yeah.

George: Like that’s bad ass. Right that’s……

Cortney: Yeah it’s that super fun.

George: Right that’s…

Cortney: Well unless there are drones doing bad things. In which case…..

George: Let’s quantify that yes but I mean any technology can be used for, well many technologies can used for good and bad and obviously…..

Cortney: Yeah.

George: Yeah, yeah.

Cortney: Yeah I mean there’re also new markets opening up all the time. So that’s the other interesting piece of this.

George: Right.

Cortney: If you’re limiting yourself to just one market you’re doing it wrong.

George: You’re doing it wrong. Yeah, right.

Cortney: You know like think about all the markets in the world, and all the people you can collaborate with, and all the people that are so hungry for this stuff. You know like that’s what’s gonna like, I’m excited for ten years from now when the term K pop doesn’t exist.

George: Yeah.

Cortney: And it’s just pop.

George: It’s just pop.

Cortney: Because at this point like it’s just, literally it’s just pop. But pop made by white people in America or Canada is pop and pop made by Japanese or Korean folks is K pop or J pop. Like it’s all pop.

George: It’s music it’s just art I mean, go ahead I’m sorry.

Cortney: I’m excited for like you know the next hot teen sensation to be from somewhere in the developing world.

George: Syria would be nice right about now.

Cortney: Syria would be nice right about now or even you know I don’t know there’s some probably some really beautiful teenage girl with a really beautiful voice in Uganda right now.

George: That’s what I’m looking for.

Cortney: Let’s get her on MTV.

George: I yeah I mean nobody needs to hear me say more art equals less war. But I mean art is what sort of pushes cultural change and cultural acceptance. Art is an empathy machine you know.

Cortney: Oh yeah.

George: Yeah, and so Cortney you’re so great.

Cortney: So are you.

George: Thank you so much for doing this. It’s good to talk this through. You know.

Cortney: This is fun.

George: And I appreciate you doing this very, very much. Thank you ever so much.

Cortney: Thank you!