So, About That ‘NY Times Magazine’ Piece on “The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t”… | Flavorwire

Bold claims are certainly welcome at The New York Times Magazine, and last weekend, it floated a doozy. In the feature story “The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t,” author Steven Johnson insists that widespread concerns over easy access to free stuff in the digital age was all Henny-Penny-the-sky-is-falling; according to Johnson, “creative careers are thriving,” a point he argues by ignoring pundits (including yours truly), experts, and anecdotal evidence, instead focusing on the inarguable evidence of Data Journalism. In doing so, Johnson vastly inflates the conclusions of such number-crunching—and (particularly in the case of our reporting) frequently misses the point of the arguments he’s refuting.




One thought on “So, About That ‘NY Times Magazine’ Piece on “The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t”… | Flavorwire

  1. There is one thing I want to add that I found terribly wrong with this NY Times article. One of the main things record sales did for musicians was provide money for promotion. It was common for a label to spend 6 or 7 digits to promote a band. And that money was mainly spent up front. It would also have a life time effect. If I mention the Rolling Stones or Nirvana, everyone who reads this will know who that is. And it is because of this promotion money spent long ago that everyone knows that. And it is why the big names of the past like the Stones can sell out a show. So if the author wants to do a fair comparison of what it is like to be a musician in this new digital wild wild west age, he needs to compare incomes of musicians that were launched before 1999 with those launched after. I expect he would find a huge disparity in their incomes. I know that many digital enthusiasts gloat about self-promotion, but I have never seen that happen, though it does make for a nice children’s story.

    Bands that have attempted to launch after 1999 have generally never got off the ground. Of the few that did, many have resorted to corporate patronage. That is they sold products in exchange for promo funding. But there is a cost to that. A band that sells SUV’s cannot sing about climate change. A band that sells designer clothes cannot sing about consumerism. Yes, musicians today have to trade free expression for a career – and a meager one at that. It is true that in the past many bands have chose to do advertisements. What is different now however is they have to do this to exist. That should be considered a creative apocalypse in itself.

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