Labor Pains: 

  • One of the big "Web 2.0" concepts was the notion that creators could cut out greedy middlemen and reach global audiences directly, on their terms, and empower a whole new set of artists, writers, and musicians. For the most part that concept hasn't played out according the utopian-creator vision, rather the winners have been the fast-growing startups grabbing up content for aggregation, accruing massive audiences and paying out pennies to the authors (if anything at all). One notable exception is Patreon, a platform that hosts some 50,000 creators with a much more direct and transparent audience-to-builder payment process than say, YouTube or Spotify. The Verge has a solid piece profiling the platform, a handful of creators and some critics of the practice. The main concerns are around managing the expectations of a fan-hive that pays out money in dribs and drabs- that one must become not just a great musician or writer, but a great walking, talking, human brand that people can identify with which can mean truncating the true complexity of a person and their experiences. As with the rise of "personal brands" to maximize career opportunities and income, professionals of all stripes find themselves doing more and more performative work to demonstrate value, along with fulfilling the labor of their actual job descriptions. 


Just A Game: 


Up in the Air: 


Bias and Brains: 



More next week.