The Evolution of the Millennial Artist
Depending on who you ask, we are either in a golden age of or witnessing the slow death of artistry. Novelists, filmmakers, and artists are still developing, but not at the rate of years past. Long gone are the days of being discovered by a producer in a coffee shop. Instead, we can broadcast ourselves from a coffee shop to millions of people around the world. This has created an opportunity beyond anything imaginable in years past. However, it also creates a massive over-saturation of the market by anyone with a smartphone or internet capabilities. Here are some of the pros and cons of the millennial artist, and how they are choosing to express themselves.
They Like Me; They Really Like Me
Artists are dealing with a brand new type of equity: social media likes and re-tweets. Social media celebrities are honing a persona, producing content, and interacting with fans. These ways are very similar to artists of the past. However, they can't afford to hide away working on something new. Exposure and a vast amount of content keep subscribers high and keep these social media giants making money. Time is money, and social media content producers waste no time.However, this type of continuous content production can cause overexposure to the audience and burnout for the artists. Some comedians who always are sending out jokes on Twitter and sharing funny videos will grate on the nerves of their followers after time passes. This can also lead to burn out from the artist, feeling the constant need to stay relevant and to keep a presence on social media.
Stars that were made before the social media boom must learn to connect with their audience. Some of the more successful stars of film, literature, and TV maintain an active social media presence. Millennials want to feel connected with who is writing their stories, who they are watching, and what they are buying. Millennials are used to paying ten dollars for Netflix. They are used to getting music for free, and they are not used to paying top dollar for their entertainment. They are much more willing to donate directly to an artist through social media than to overpay for content at a retailer.
Critical Acclaim or Shame
The internet can sink a project for an artist before it even hits the shelves. Shows are either critical darlings or flops immediately due to reviewers sharing their opinions on social media. Our constant monitoring of artists makes it hard for the process to occur naturally. They are constantly under the microscope, and they aren't given a chance to grow like artists in the past. Pressure to produce for short attention spans leads to an inferior product. George R.R. Martin is constantly criticized on Twitter for not completing his series "A Song of Ice and Fire" faster. However, these same people would be the first to roast Martin immediately upon the book's release if it isn't up to their standards. Constant exposure also can mean constant criticism.
All About The Benjamins
Artists aren't paid as well as they were in the past. Working actors are finding it harder to find work and so are authors. Self-publishing is a great way to keep traditional publishers in check. However, nothing beats the traditional route to make a living as an artist. Record companies helping with tour costs, movie studios backing films instead of using kick-starter, and authors advances and promotion from major publishers are all becoming rarer.Entertainment is changing with the times. Technology can be a godsend, but it can also lead to diminished quality and lower standards of living for artists. The tradition of years ago is never going to come back. Social media is here to stay, and it absolutely should be. It's fantastic for artists. However, it must come with a warning. To be able to hope for artists in the future, we must be willing to pay them what they are worth now.