The Creator Paradox: Cultural Stasis Amidst Creative Surplus

Screenshot 2022-09-19 181208

Most obviously, we’re discussing two very distinct and seemingly competing media environments. For creators, there’s the bottom-up, democratized access to tools, enabling massive amounts of content to be made and syndicated frictionlessly. In the Creator Economy everyone can be a player and “make it.”

On the other hand, there’s the top-down, institutional power of filtering and recommendation, held by establishments incentivized by outsized financial returns. Large, risk-averse institutions — arguably just run by in-house lawyers and accountants at this point — play it safe to “protect shareholder value.

Which translates to this: today, from film and TV, to books, video games, and music, there’s statistically less diversification rising to the top. And while it’s given that everything in culture is a remix, the intensity of today’s reliance on what’s come before seems worthy of our attention.

What’s causing this systemic malfunction?