I’m home alone for the next week as everyone else in the house is gone at LeakyCon, and you know what that means…
When someone unfollows me I take it very personally.
I’m only in this video for like five seconds but that was enough for michaelaranda to deem it the Best Video Ever.
This is a skyscraper of text all about Patreon/Subbable and the (my?) Perceived Value of Media.
The Patreon/Subbable model is such an incredible idea. It really is the way I hope most media will work in the future.
Right now, if I want to buy a song I like, I’m gonna pay about $1 on iTunes or AmazonMP3 or bandcamp. But some songs and artists are worth so much more to me, while others, maybe a bit less. I’d happily support Fall Out Boy or Adele or My Chemical Romance (if they were still together) or Muse or P!nk at rates way higher than $1 per song. Because their music is worth more to me on average than other current music.
So they as artists would make more for their effort, and me as a fan would (most likely) get more content in the form of personal perks or exclusive audio/video/etc. Win-win, right?
And imagine if TV shows used the Patreon/Subbable model. No more shows canceled mid-season if that show’s fans are willing to back new episodes. For example, if Orphan Black were ever in danger of not being renewed I’d whip out my pocketbook so fast!
But all those “content creators” listed above currently have (relatively) huge production budgets and marketing teams backing them. What about the people who are actually using Patreon/Subbable today? They would all - every single one of them - fall into the amateur category.
And that’s the real challenge moving forward for this kind of funding, I think - creating indie productions that are just as “good” as commercial productions, and therefore, just as valuable. Wheezy’s clones are fun and take a lot of work, but Wheezy is no Tatiana Maslany. Rhett & Link’s latest music video featured some comedic zombies at the end, but no one would ever mistake a still from that video for a still from Shaun of the Dead.
For all the strides that content creators have made over the last nine years that YouTube has existed, we’re all still miles behind professionally produced video. We’re just not there yet. And so while I, as a (former?) YouTuber can appreciate the work (rotoscoping, timing, hitting his mark) that goes into Wheezy cloning himself, his videos are still going to look amateurish to the gerneal public. And the vast majority of people won’t pay for amateur video. Amateur video feels disposable. Not as valuable.
Don’t misunderstand, for all of us in the know, there is a tremendous amount of value in what Wheezy does, or Hank and John, or Rhett & Link. That’s why we love ‘em and continue to watch and share their work. But I would argue most of that value is personal value, not strictly entertainment value. We like the YouTubers that we do because we can relate to them. We can share with them and engage them and they are just like us. But we’re not used to paying people to be just like us. We’re used to paying for superstars.
That personal value is a very different kind of engagement than me sitting down to watch 24. I can’t relate to Jack Bauer(/Kiefer Sutherland) at all (and thank god, I wouldn’t last two hours, let alone twenty-four, in Jack’s shoes). He is not just like me. But I’ve purchased every season on DVD. And I’ll most likely re-purchase every season as soon as they’re all released on BluRay.
It’s possible this distinction between amateur and professional is just my own personal hang-up, but I don’t think it is. I see a lot of my friends talking about financially supporting indie creators, but I see very few of them actually doing it (of the twenty-four creators on Subbable, none are fully funded. CrashCourse is at 99%, most of the rest are below 50%). And I’m guilty of it myself. I do support a couple people on Patreon and Subbable, but that support budget is a fraction of what I spend on media on Amazon each month.
Maybe the line dividing amateur and professional will continue to blur, or maybe it already has fully blurred and I’m just old and stuck in my pre-YouTube mindset. But I’m not yet at the place where I would drop $30 on twelve new episodes of my favorite YouTube shows, yet I have no problem preordering the next season of my favorite TV shows for that price on BluRay.
This isn’t some new revelation and I’m not sure I have a totally focused point here. It’s just a subject I think about a lot and wanted to get some words down.
The other day I was watching a movie and when it was over Kristen asked me if it was any good. I told her it was sad. I thought it was sad because the lead character - also the character I happened to identify with the most - died prematurely due to an illness. And at the time that made me think about my own life/death and health and accomplishments and blah blah blah.
But more importantly, my comment made me think about representation in media.
It’s easy for me to find characters I identify with, I’m a straight white guy. And I’ve thought about representation in media before, usually initiated by a tumblr post of someone else looking for their own rep in media. But it never before hit me as hard as it did after I made that comment, and realized just how often I do feel affected by what happens (good or bad) to the lead just-like-me straight-white-guy in whichever movie I’m watching.
I’m not sure what (if anything) I can do to improve the state of representation in media. But if there are ways I can support bringing more realistic casts or diverse content creators to mainstream media, please, let me know? (This is an honest question and I apologize up front for my naivety.)
im afraid my online friends are gonna meet me in person and be like “oh”
thank u for saving bi lions
do you have an 8track account? or another platform to distribute playlists on?
There’s no way to say this without sounding like a music snob, so, snob it is… but no, and I wouldn’t personally use a service like that to make mixes for people.
Mix tapes are an art, the way one song leads into the next and which specific versions of a song you use (the “single edit” vs “album version” vs “extended remix”… do you want to use the original 1973 recording, or the re-recorded 1981 version?).
I don’t have control over that if I’m simply making a list of songs for people.
When I make a mix I pick specific masterings or recordings of songs that are right for that individual mix. For example, maybe the 1981 re-recorded version works better with a more new wave, pop mix CD, while the 1973 original recording would work better in a more classic rock or analog-era mix CD…
I think internet radio is great for background noise while working. But I don’t want a mix I make for you to be just background noise. =)
I feel like it’s difficult to be subjective about that. Like, I think all my playlists are the shit because they’re filled with songs I own, songs I personally like. Maybe I should make some mix CDs for some of my followers and then let them report back?