Bacon Bits

Omo’s metaphor is silly but his point is pretty interesting: how many anti-fansub-ranters have stopped to think about who is actually spending money on the industry as a whole?

By drunkguy.

By drunkguy.

Basically, it’s impossible for us to extricate the economics (maybe some Economics professors at Columbia could do it, but it’s not happening any time soon.) Suppose a fansub watcher buys actual show memorabilia and goes to cons; is he hurting the industry? No; he winds up spending money just the same. He just spends it on things other than DVDs.

Does that hurt or help? It’s no good for publishers, but it’s still going into the industry as a whole. Cons need attendance numbers; dealers need to sell Miku plushies, etc. The industry can’t survive with just the publishers.

Now, if you don’t care about cons, plushies, soundtracks, artbooks, seiyuu, etc. – if somehow you care only for watching shows and do not give a whit about any memorabilia or anything else – I imagine this argument will not be convincing. But the industry is not a simple and direct line from writer to artist to animator to the viewer. It is an interconnected beast, with arteries and veins leading off into any number of tangential businesses. And importantly, those businesses bleed back into the main: lots of license fees are paid for the rights to make those Miku plushies, the spin-off manga of Evangelion like Gakuen Datenroku, the silly Anime Karaoke CDs, and so forth.

It’s easy to point a finger at those who are different. It’s not so easy to recognize the complexity of the truth.

Published in: on October 5, 2009 at 3:55 PM  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. To show my copyleftist creds, I think the problem illustrated here is caused by the phrase “support the artist” being misappropriated by the publishers and used without regards to its truthfulness. The term no longer has any meaning if you follow the trail of money from the guy at one end of the chain to the other.

  2. I definitely agree with the license fees.

  3. I agree with omo. Sometimes I wonder where the money goes; exactly how much is used to ‘support the artist’, and how much goes into publication, promotion, etc? I guess we’ll never know. e.g. Cons may help with exposure, but somehow I don’t think anyone in Japan is being paid for it..or are they?

    • It’s a little more complicated, I’m afraid. Cons raise awareness, which is difficult to quantify, and affects whether or not American execs are willing to bankroll ventures into anime or manga.

      To answer your question, though, I would be very surprised if guests of honor and musical guests (and their Japanese handlers) were not paid.

      • Ah, you’re talking about it from an American point of view. Certainly. But when you’re down under like I am… Japanese guests? Aside from a seiyuu at one con two years ago…then again, it’s probably too far.

    • Hmm, well even if you don’t get guests, the licensed products should trickle money back. The part about con attendance providing incentive for venture capitalists is still valid (replace “American” with “local.”)

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