Skip to main content

The Chris Chandler Show

  • The Muse and Whirled Retort 2015

    The Muse and Whirled Retort May 2015

    Chris Chandler's T.H.E. .M.U.S.E. .A.N.D. .W.H.I.R.L.E.D. .R.E.T.O.R.T. May 2015

    Thursday May 21.  
    Los Angeles, CA

    The Karat and the Stick
    By Chris Chandler

    "Eli Whitney was an ass-hole!"

    It's not true, but I heard it all my life...

    Like he made a fortune out of distilling cotton plants - and turning it into cotton gin...

    People disparaging him he did something wrong and people still needed to cast aspersions on his name...

    Well over two centuries after he started his little business in a friend's garage... People were still saying, "Eli Whitney was an ass-hole." if everybody still owed him money or something... or maybe they did....


    Since Pandora launched in 2007, it grew from a garage business to more than 60 million users worth billions of dollars.

    Revenue has doubled  every year since.

    When I first conceived of this piece...  I wanted that to be the opening line... "Eli Whitney was an ass-hole.... "

    So I kept it...

    It doesn't make me a good writer - just loyal to bad ideas... such as the very bad idea of  making a living as a songwriter...

    Which is why I was so excited when I got my first royalty check from Spotify.  A song called (yes) "Eli whitney was an Ass-Hole"  
    I got 100,000 plays - and I got a check for 21 cents.  How could that be?  

    Hell, they don't even put the 'cents' character on the keyboard anymore.

    Ya gotta type "Option Alt 4" just to get the 'cents' character.  It takes more effort than leaning over and picking up a penny.  and who does that anymore?  I don't - and I'm broke.... I do this for a living.

    But with on line media - a penny has a different meaning...

    It's like Richard Prior as the villain in Superman three - or Superman I, I, I  for the very self absorbed......

    I picture a warehouse full of bookkeepers typing "Option Alt 4" all day.  Just to get a nickel out of some street musician...


    Both Pandora and Spottily actually have ware houses full of employees - copying songs so you can create the perfect radio station... with almost no ads!... and you pay nothing... which is what they pay the artists.


    See, I grew up in Georgia - and Whitney's name has always been synonymous with my state....

    To refresh your memory ... He's the guy that is most famous for inventing the Cotton Gin...

    See back then - we're talking late 1700s...  the later part of the second Washington administration...

    ... cotton was little more than a weed.  It grew anywhere and everywhere... thing is nobody knew what to do with it... sure - if you could get that seed out you could spin it in to yarn - like I'm spinnin' a yarn right now... but even with... ummm... how do you say it?...  free labor - it was so hard to remove the seed that you couldn't turn a profit from it...


    Pandora and Spotify  manage to turn a tidy profit lowering the de-regulated compensation.

    I say ya can't get to the top by lowering the ceiling... but ya can get their by raising a little hell.


    ...but Eli Whitney, a drunk, unemployed yankee crashing on the couch of his school mate near Savannah had an idea.

    With just a few things lying around the house - Whitney created a very simple machine that could remove the seeds in a cotton boll.  Figured it out in a week...  

    He was so proud of himself he held a demonstration... like a songwriter singing his new song on a street corner on Tin Pan Alley...  and in one hour he turned out more usable cotton than a crew of slaves could do  in an entire day.


    Spotify's catalog has 15 million tracks which would take you over 120 years to listen to.  and while life expectancy is increasing - more than half of those tracks suck.

    With one turn of the crank - one man - made a steadfast weed the most profitable plant in the country.

    Cotton Plantations sprang up over night.

    White Gold.

    Black Sweat and Tears.

    That's not at all what he had in mind...  Before the cotton gin, the institution of slavery was on the decline and about to die out.  He actually thought the cotton gin would end slavery all together...

    Once these plantations started making money SURELY they would start paying the help?  Right?  Right?

    In a few short years the number of slaves in the United States went from five hundred thousand to four million.

    Plantations were were now worth billions...

    In a few short years Pandora has gone public and is worth billions while paying its artists dozens.  Even with a copyright - you can't get paid.  And the local, state or federal government will not help artists collect royalties.


    The people of the south would not pay Eli Whitney for his invention.  Nor would state local or Federal governments help him collect royalties, even as others were making millions off his artistry.


    Sean Parker, the guy who started Napster, (the first file sharing site that ripped off millions of artists for untold amounts of money) now sits on the board of Spotify and was a consultant for Pandora Groove Shark.  He has a personal net worth of 2.7 billion.

    The problem Whitney had was that  he had made the cotton gin with things lying around the house, which meant anybody could make one... and before he could even get it registered with the country's brand new patent office - people had already started pirating their own.

    Even with his patent he couldn't get anybody to pay him for it - and he tried.  Lawsuits... payment plans... licensing... he tried everything...and even though poor hard scrabble farms turned into plantations over night --  no one wanted to pay him and he went broke trying to fight his copyrights...

    Too bad... because he was happy in the south.  

    He would have stayed.  

    Instead he went back North and started on a new project.  The people of the south were happy to see him go.  

    Be careful what you wish for.

    Pandora and Spotify have both been lobbying congress to pass the Internet Radio Fairness Act, which would reduce the already low licensing royalties they pay.


    Is that possible?

    I guess it is... because when I Tried to deposit my 21 cent royalty check...
                                                                                                                        ...I only had 17 cents in the account to begin with... when  the bank charged me a 50 cent check deposit fee...
                                                                                                     ...I wound up over drawn.  - and then got a $25 dollar bounced check charge on top of it....

                                                 ....I have less money than if i had never gotten played by spotify at all.  

    And Now they want to pay even less...


    If musicians can't make a living - they gotta do something - and the world does not need another house painter.

    or a cab  driver... or barrista.

    Can I supersize that?


    Eli Whitney did not become a house painter...

    Eli Whitney did something else...

    ...Something that would hurt those cotton plantations far worse than if he had never invented the thing in the first place.

    I say - ya can't get to the top by lowering the ceiling - but ya can get there by raising a little hell.

    He went back to Massachusetts where he had another idea...

    He developed the concept of interchangeable parts - for riffles - the Springfield rifle - Yes, he invented the assembly line - and the country created an arsenal.

    If he had stayed in the south, where he was perfectly happy... that arsenal would have been there.

    We would not have the Springfield Riffle... we would have the Charleston Riffle - and that Civil War thing would have certainly gone the other way.


    We are at a new cross road in the world of ideas .. because it was not video that killed the radio star - it was the internet.

    But to tell you the truth, I didn't really like the Radio Stars anyway.

    So, what we have before us is a whole new platform of opportunity....

    What if... you made the musicians, the artists happy?

    Collectively we are a powerful force.  What if instead of everyday you had some rock stars like Taylor Swift saying they were pulling their songs from your service - you had them saying, "Join us!"

    I mean, I know  artists have been being ripped off by the media since the first broadcast hit,  "Come here Mr Watson, I want to see you."

    What if you let us help you... by paying us.

    It's the carrot and the stick...

    You show me a carrot - and I'll put down my stick.

    Oh by the way... I spell Karat with a K.



    Happy First Day of Kerrville... I am on the wrong end of I-10 at the momnet

    I thought I was going last two weeks - but as most of my stories go... my car broke down.  I blew the engine on my little Ford Escort and am ummm between vehicles - I do hope to get there - we will see - the certinty is less than it was...


    Looking for Dates in July and early August - gimmie a shout!
    I will soon be a great Uncle... up to now _ i have only been an OK Uncle...
    So sorry for the missing months of news letters - I have been bust trying to get my lfe to a place where I can keep doing this forever (forever at least as far as I know)
    There have been far too many fare wells since my last missive to list... so long friends... so long.

    There have been far to many Welcome to the worlds for me to list here
    Welcome new friends - God Knows we need you.

    H.E.R.E.S. .D.A. .D.A.T.E.S.

    Friday, June 26th, 2015 thru Sunday, June 28th, 2015
    Kate Wolf Music Festival
    The Hog Farm
    Laytonville, CA

    showing off Jen's Fabulous Art Work  and doing spontaneous impromptu readings and storytelling all over the place and sitting in with friends on stage... look out.

    Friday, July 10th, 2015  6:00
    Oregon Country Faire
    Shady Grove Stage
    Veneta, OR

    Saturday, July 11th, 2015  2:00
    Oregon Country Faire
    Community Village
    Veneta, OR

    Sunday, July 12th, 2015  2:00
    Oregon Country Faire
    Energy Park. Keasey Stage
    Veneta, OR

    Sunday, July 12th, 2015  4:45
    Oregon Country Faire
    Blue Moon Stage
    Veneta, OR

    Sunday, July 12th, 2015  Dark
    Oregon Country Faire
    The Library Show
    Veneta, OR

    Wednesday, July 15th, 2015  8 PM
    The Chris Chandler and Paul Benoit Show - TENTATIVE
    Axe & Fiddle
    657 Main St

    Cottage Grove, OR

    WE COULD USE A house concert or some sort of something here...

    Friday, July 17th, 2015  5:50 Pot Luck 7 PM Show
    Pot Luck and House Concert
    Mike Myers Presents
    755 River Rd 

    Eugene, OR

    Saturday, July 18th, 2015  6:30 PM
    The Chris Chandler and Paul Benoit Show
    KB Gallery
    1458 First St

    Florence, OR
    phone: 541 999-5875

    Sunday, July 19th, 2015  8:30 pm
    Chris & Paul play withAnne Feeney, Dana Lyons, and Amy Sue Berlin
    Alberta Rose Theatre
    3000 NE Alberta Street

    Portland, or 97211
    PRICE: $10.00
    This will be an incredible show!

    Monday, July 20th, 2015  7:00 PM
    With Paul Benoit
    The Public Library
    825 NW Wade St

    Estacada, OR
    Tuesday We could use something in Southern Washington to Olympia
    ANyone out there help out?

    Wednesday July, 22
    Cellar Door
    940 Water St
    Port Townsend WA

    Thursday, July 23rd, 2015  9:00 PM
    The Chris CHandler and Paul Benoit Show
    Egans Ballard Jam House
    1707 NW Market Street 
Seattle, WA 98107
    phone: 206-789-1621

    Saturday, July 25th, 2015 thru Sunday, July 26th, 2015

    with Jen Delyth
    Seattle Scottish Highlands Festival
    45224 284th Ave SE
Enumclaw, WA
    67th Annual NW Scottish Highland Games at the formerly known as the King County Fair Grounds showing off Jen's Fabulous Art Work
    Tuesday the 28th...

    Tuesday We could use something in Southern Washington to Olympia
    Anyone out there help out?

    Wednesday July 29
    Ashland, OR
    Have a few irons n the fire - who can help out?

    Thursday July 30
    House COncert
    Arcata CA
    Details TBA

    Friday July 31
    Berkeley CA
    The Monkey House
    University Ave
    Berkeley CA

    August 1-8
    I have tentatives and TBAs from North Bay to Santa Sacramento
    if you are interested in these dates please drop me a line.