Virtuality & Viruses

It’s a little too ironic that the goal of so many artists in this age of online/internet presence is to “go viral.” For over a decade us old-timer musicians have been trying to catch up to the young-uns and get hits and likes on our YouTube channels, Facebook pages, and all the rest of it. Now we wake up to the Day of the Corona Virus, and it’s like a bad 1950’s sci-fi movie crossed with a TED Talk. Developing an online persona is no longer just optional, it is imperative. As far as our income, and community support, we all have our Venmo and PayPal accounts, if not Bitcoin and the other crypto-exchange arcana. Of course, you can still just drop off a bag of potatoes or a can of soup on my doorstep, but make sure to wash your hands first!

Personally, I am taking a first step by offering Facebook Live presentations. I started on March 18, and will continue through the week, every night at 8:00pm cst. My goal is to settle into a weekly broadcast when I get enough responses about which content folks find the most enjoyable. I’ll also be tweaking my YouTube channel (Paul Klemperer), adding lots more music and music-related videos.

The big question for artists is how do we provide artistic content to our community through online resources, in a way that is sustainable. Musicians can create a “virtual tip-jar” and ask supporters to donate, which is fine, just a transition from the actual bar-room tip jar. But for myself, and I think for most of us, we want to create a dynamic relationship with our fans and friends, in which our art plays a useful part in maintaining and building our community. It’s not that complicated, we just want to help build a world where we all support each other. Selling goods and services within a business model isn’t always the best way to describe the kind of dynamic relationship artists have with their community. In this virtual world it is even more crucial to see how we connect with and support each other, beyond the model of goods and services. That’s a big question for all of us right now.