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Janis Ian Speaks Out

This could really go into both Entertainment and News, but I'm trying to not confuse things by putting them into two categories, so News it is.

Janis Ian, you know, the one who sang about not getting chosen for the basketball team (with apologies to Christine Lavin)?

Well, turns out she's quite the music activist.

Read her whole take on the RIAA "debacle" as she calls it here. She has excellent points. Read through them all.

One point to particularly note:

Or take author Mercedes Lackey, who occupies entire shelves in stores and libraries. 15 years ago she published a series of books with "Arrows" in the title; she's been getting royalties ever since. However, one royalty period after putting the first "Arrow" book on Eric Flint's "Baen Free Library" site, she received over triple the normal royalty.* In fact, payment on all her old titles increased, suddenly and significantly, with the only change being the availability of that one free book. I don't know about you, but as an artist with an in-print record catalogue that dates back to 1965, I'd be thrilled to see sales on my old catalogue rise.

Lackey says "It's what I'd expect to happen if a steady line of people who'd never read my stuff encountered it for freeヨthey started to work through my backlist." I've found that to be true over and over again. Every time we make a few songs available on my website, sales of all the CDs go up. A lot.

It looks like she's also a SF/F reader, or at least a really good reseacher as well.

I had heard the Lackey comment earlier. I know that Lou downloaded the electronic copy of On Basilisk Station from the Baen Free Library when it was available. We already have it in paperback, Lou wanted to see if the electronic format worked for him (it did not). I currently have The Fifth Sorceress on my Palm (free by following a link out of Dragon Magazine), but am having trouble reading it on the Palm's small screen, though I have read some short stories that way.

Okay, I moved off-topic into books. My bad. Go read Janis Ian's article.

Comments (1)


Yes, Janis very definitely is into SF&F. She attended her first worldcon this past year in Philly, meeting up with Mike Resnick and various other authors she had corresponded with via email during her tours. She's also just REALLY cool. She wrote up a journal of her worldcon experience which is on her website, which I highly recommend reading.

As for her attitude towards free music, one of the things she said at her concert was to tell us that she's selling her own bootlegs, and told us to go buy them, copy them, and ENJOY THEM. She has a song about music censorship.

Overall, I have to echo Julia's basic concept -- READ Janis's website. She's a great person, very intelligent, funny, and has a great head on her shoulders. And she's *reasonable*. I loved reading, listening to, and finally meeting her. I can't wait till she comes around here for another concert.

And I'm so damned glad Sarah Bear played me one of her songs way back when!

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