Art and Exploration, Second Life

Second Life Artists Avert the Recession

I missed this when it first came around, but wanted to point to CNN’s coverage of Second Life and a well-reported story that focuses on some artists making money and creating art in SL.

The article is nice because CNN’s access to the artists gives it a slice-of-life quality that plays down the tech angle and focuses on the fact that Second Life is run by people, a key notion that can get lost in technology coverage.

The writer visits Cylindrian Rutabaga, a folk singer who goes by the name Grace Buford in her offline life in Atlanta, Georgia, and put together a video of her performing in her home and streaming into SL’s Mandel ‘BRATs & BREW,’ on Artropolis:

For a folk singer like Buford, who plays a guitar or a piano and sings, a virtual environment offers at least one advantage over a live show.

“I can go into a club or a venue in the real world and people aren’t listening. They’re talking, laughing, carrying on. And as an artist, we’re all a little bit narcissistic. We’ve created this work and we want to share it and have an intimate connection,” she told CNN. “On stage, you kind of think, ‘What’s the point of me being here?’ In Second Life … you’re having that intimate conversation with the listener.”

Buford is a music teacher in Atlanta and her business has taken a hit in this recession. But according to her, since 2006 she has earned $10,000 per year in SL through tips and CD sales that has helped the single mother weather the recession.

CNN also spoke with Mike Lawson, also known as Von Johin, a blues singer based in Nashville who claims to have scored a record deal in Second Life after another avatar approached him after a performance.

“If you’re a cartoon bluesman and some cartoon walks up to you and says, ‘Hey, I’m from a record label and I want to give you a deal,’” he told CNN, “What’s your first reaction gonna be? ‘Yeah right, thanks buddy. Have a good night.’ Who know who’s behind an avatar walkin’ up to ya, right? I actually blew off the label four or five times just thinking someone was screwin’ with me,” he said.

Turns out the guy wasn’t screwing with him and Johin’s SL schedule is now so busy, he doesn’t have time to play real shows anymore.

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