These are the facts that we need to reconcile: Netflix, which recently touted its House of Cardsstrategy of original content released all at once, just surpassed cable giant HBO in number of subscribers. Kickstarter crowdfunded $5M for a Veronica Mars that would not otherwise get made. (This isn’t just one big outlier: it turns out that more than half the successfully funded projects on Kickstarter are for music, film, and art.)
Meanwhile, growing numbers of artists have been bypassing labels and going direct-to-fan for quite some time now. Louis CK did a live stand-up comedy show, sold it on his own site for $5 per download with no restrictions and just a don’t-copy plea (“Please bear in mind that I am not a company or a corporation. I’m just some guy…”). He made $1,006,996.17 in a few days.
Whether you call it indie capitalism or an indiepocalypse or something else, there’s clearly a not-Big moment happening in our economy right now — especially when it comes to the entertainment-industrial complex. The traditional, big organizational layer of intermediaries that help filter, fund, and cultivate talent to create big hits is changing … and it’s changing quickly.
But while we’re touting this new cultural-creative ecosystem, let’s not forget its nuances — and especially its consequences.