jasonphoenix Jason Phoenix: My Difficulty With the New Media (Or Being An Original Source)

8.27.2012

My Difficulty With the New Media (Or Being An Original Source)

Previously, I covered some of the difficulties of the new media, by defining how media used to work, and sort of pressing into the present with it.  In short, anyone with a computer and internet connection can theoretically produce a wide variety of content, whatever their opinion or expertise.

My original intention was to highlight some of the things that are bothering me as a content creator, as an artist and musician.  In short, I was intending to write a blog post and got completely sidetracked.  The difficulty I started out on and am finishing my thought on is this:

"If Everyone is a Rockstar, then Who Is The Audience?"
or alternatively,
"What the hell do I do now that I have the ability to create, publish, and distribute anything?"

The Rockstar problem originated with a season of concerts where my job was to sit and dispense information to a huge number of people.  As I was talking to my fashionably unfashionably dressed photographer friend, we began talking about the difference between being backstage and in the audience.  Specifically, that the audience frequently is outdoing the performers in the costuming category.

This is not to imply that all rockstars are being outdone by their audiences, but at this point one has to admit that its a bit like dressing up like a clown to go to the circus to see clowns that are dressed like normal people going to see a circus.

When your audience members are sporting 8 inch liberty spikes and are decked out in bedazzled spikes and denim/leather glory, and you are wearing jeans and a t-shirt and look like you got out of bed, something integral in the world slipped.  The entire focus has shifted somehow from the center stage back to the pit.

The musicians holding the instruments are increasingly a sort of live decoration to the real show, which is everyone being seen and being seen being seen.  They're only noticed when they screw up  something obvious anyways.  At a given festival, you could easily rock out to a band, and then walk by them an hour or two later and not realize you'd walked by them.  Depending on what you wear and your hairstyle, you may be mistaken for a band member, and asked to sign random objects or body parts.

On the other hand, if you're the person singing or wielding an instrument, you're still onstage, and they're still in the pit, so maybe the distinction doesn't matter.  My opinion on fashion is invalidated by the fact that I used to wear suits to my performances, and suits apparently scare hippies, ravers, and hip-hop kids to my surprise.  Seeing as how they're my core audience, I shouldn't be allowed to dress myself to talk to anyone in public.

How this relates to the new media is that for many artists, there is no "iamsoandso.com"; there is only Facebook/Tumblr/Twitter/Reddit/G+/insert social website here.  This isn't so different from the past, but once upon a time it seemed like having a geocities website and a yahoo address were akin to having a cardboard box on the sidewalk with a sign that said, "Legal Advice".

Not so anymore!  Why, everyone has a Facebook profile--er, I mean page--er whatever.  And in a time when NPR is as likely to direct you to their social media outpost as they are to send you to the incredibly easy to say and find *ahem* NPR.org, then what's the difference anyways?

I'm not sure there is one, honestly.  In fact, it may be that the greatest combination an up and coming music artist could do is make a Tumblr account and a YouTube account with a unique name, and then post up the YouTube vids containing your music onto Tumblr, and then hope some random Redditor picks it up.  Then monetize the YouTube videos and You could be the next pop star in only 3 steps.  Cue the maniacal laughter!

Well, I should say plus or minus all the steps it takes to make a video, or to write/produce/perform a song, or whatever it is that you're doing, of course.

The problem I'm having at the moment in my mind is what to do with all these little outposts and outlets I've created.  I have this part and this part and this part all together now, and I've realized that in essence, I have my own record label, my own video production, my own audio production, and my artwork.  I also have managed to stick bits of myself on various outposts.

But now, I don't know what to do.  Do I write pithy thoughts on the "blog" er...website?  Do I focus on getting booked anywhere in the world and then writing about it as though I have conquered the far reaches of the earth?  Do I sit in my studio and aim my camera at myself while I sit and make sure a snare drum sample has just the right amount of rattle and body?

The problem is that I don't know what to make, because I don't know what anyone could stand watching.  Without editors, I can write sentences for days and never worry about what the advertisers think or how many pages it takes to print.  Without having a set album to worry about, I could record years of audio that I'll never even listen to!  Cue the maniacal laughter!

I suppose the difference between the old and the new media was that in the past, you had to impress someone to achieve a result and an effect.  Someone stood between your given crazy idea and a audience, or lack of an idea and an audience.  Now, nothing but a lack of response or gained response (either statistically analyzed in detail by those that have discovered the graphs) seems to matter.  Now I have only myself to impress.

On the other hand, if I make something that impresses me, maybe it will impress you too.


(((( [-_-] ))))