Case Studies/Christopher Willits
From Christopher Willits' personal bio page: “Christopher Willits has been instrumental in redefining the guitar in the digital age. Using custom-built software, Willits morphs his guitar playing into warm folded rhythms of texture and melody. Named “the center cell of a complex indie rock-avant-garde-electronic art Venn diagram in the Bay Area” (San Francisco Bay Guardian), and “The Picasso of Sound” (Tokafi Magazine), Willits defies genre distinctions while still defining a sound of his own. His guitar lines fold and weave into each other creating complex patterns of interlocking rhythm, melody, and texture.
Willits completed his Master's Degree in Electronic Music at Mills College where he studied with Pauline Oliveros and Fred Frith. At Mills he explored structure-generating processes in music; a focus not unfamiliar to former Mills affiliates John Cage and Steve Reich. Prior to Mills, Willits focused on painting, video art, sound art and music at the Kansas City Art Institute.
In addition to all of this, Willits founded and directs the emerging culture hub of releases, events, and sharing at Overlap.org.”
After finding out about CC licenses through a friend, Christopher had some misconceptions about what it meant to release his material in that manner. But after perusing the wealth of information on the Creative Commons website Christopher was able to make his informed decision to choose the CC:BY-NC for his work.
This is how Christopher sees the CC license playing a role in his music: “I use CC license to define my intention of sharing and the commercial use of my music. With a simple by-nc license i am telling everyone that it is free to listen and share this music at will (while at the same time trusting my audience to buy my cds, pay for downloads, come to my live shows, etc), but, when it comes to making money, please do not reap any monetary benefits without my consent, and you need to pay me.”
“There is a lot of trust involved in this, I trust that people will support my work because they love it and enjoy it, and I trust that the karma police will haunt those pushing against my intentions.”
Christopher Willits participates in a couple prominent online communities for musicians. One being overlap.org, which he runs and the other being ccmixter.org. On both of these sites artists and fans are encouraged to download the musicians' music and share it with others. CCMixter especially encourages the use of the material to create remixes and then reposting those to the site. These services encourage the community to create new and more inclusive musical productions.
“I believe that if you live your love and passion, and if you open up the exposure to your work in creative ways, like using CC to communicate your intentions of sharing, you will see the benefits and the effects that your creativity has on the world.”
These online projects which Christopher participates enable him to promote himself to those who would otherwise not have a chance to experience his live shows. For an artist like Christopher, the music is but one part of the overall experience and the music he makes available for other to listen to will just inspire them to come to one of his live shows around the world. Being an artist that tours constantly, Christopher Willits is able to support his music while at the same time supporting his fans.
“You may not get money for your music fast, it will probably take years, it has for me, but you will be inspiring others and bringing that much more light and beautiful sound into the world. and that feels amazing, for everyone.”
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