One hundred and seventy-four. That’s the most unread emails I’ve ever deleted in a single work shift that had something to say about artists, new songs or events coming to the area. On average, weekly transmissions like those that go completely ignored spill over into the thousands. It’s quite obvious, careers in publicity are growing more and more pointless by the day.
A lot of jobs are. Especially in the media. We too often exist as glorified show schedules or placeholders online, building content nobody cares to read. Why spend time writing about Tyler, the Creator’s IGOR when everyone with a Twitter account saw the same release announcement too? The gatekeepers of the 19th century are gone — the critics who told the world who to listen to and when. The iron bars blew wide open years ago.
It should come as no surprise. Listen to the analysts on MSNBC going on about Amazon killing A, B or C store and why that’s bad. Very bad. But to whom? The people working the register? They hate that job. Cut out the noise and everyone wins, really. So Amazon upends retail, maybe Joe and Jane Smith can finally find something they love to do and pursue a passion. It’s the American dream after all.
Direct to consumer living, what a genius idea. In theory, under an Amazon-style takeover, things could become more affordable for everyone and efficient to obtain. The globalization of commodity freshens up the past for new generations. That isn’t a negative. Don’t let them lie to you. Click-to-shop is an easier, smarter way to organize the mundane.
Looking back, the music industry will be written about as one of the first industries to go this way. This is a good thing. The ability to create songs, and then distribute them, became too easy. Overnight headliners like The Chainsmokers came up in dorm rooms and basements. The barrier to becoming Forbes’ “highest paid DJs in the world” simply whittled away. Yet most of them up on stage behind the smoke and lasers couldn’t strum a guitar chord to save their life. But they have great ideas, and well-compensated teams making them a reality.
For now, at least Hollywood is safe. There won’t be any kids making multi-billion dollar superhero movies out of their dumpy apartments anytime soon.
But maybe one day …
Major labels weren’t very smart to begin with. They do little now. They did little then. Maybe they’ll play the same two-dozen songs on monopolized radio stations until fatigue sets in. Maybe force Cardi B into every summer hit and then somehow manage to hide a story about her drugging and robbing people so her young fans stay oblivious. They’ll own entire catalogs of people more talented than they are and sell licensing rights at a premium. Big wigs sure as hell don’t pick up drumsticks or spend all night coding beats.
Watch how your new favorite artists start coming up in the world from here on out. Their popularity isn’t because people spent time copying and pasting an email to a blog. Music has become democratized. It’s never happened like this before. Cheers to the future.