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So much for all those articles saying that our society doesn't have a counterculture. Maybe it does. It just doesn't look just like the previous one. Like bankruptcy, the transition will happen slowly, then suddenly.

I remember the 1960s counterculture a bit differently. While many members of the mainstream media learned from it, the institutions were generally dismissive and often hostile. I remember a lot of mocking bemusement followed by lame imitation.

My main concern is the money. Substack, for example, is great, but how many subscriptions can one afford? The money is all or nothing. There are no news stand issues, single records or tickets for showings or concerts. Youtube handles money better, but that means creators are dependent on Google, and Google can't be trusted and can turn on a dime. The 1960s counterculture relied on cheap real estate and single bite purchasing. We don't have that.

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I see this theme of market saturation of subscriptions in the comments but I don’t quite understand it. I think subscription fatigue is more related to the fact that what they are getting for what they are paying is starting to grate, especially in the context of profit margins and how these large companies treat labor.

Finding 4,000 paying followers across the English-speaking world at $6 a month isn’t that unfathomable, esp if you are also hosting a community with comments, and it’s a solid living that allows someone to pay for their healthcare and save for retirement, esp if they can live anywhere. It’s more weird to me that people continue to pay for Netflix which has kinda devolved into producing formulaic shows appealing mostly to teens/20-somethings, and which has little to no community aspect. Have you seen Disney plus lately? Oof.

Do individuals creating niche content have to worry about competition? Absolutely! Some definitely won’t make it. But for those who aren’t expecting to run a massive empire like Mr Beast, there’s still (and will probably forever be) a lot of opportunity if they can find an audience. I think this could be especially true in light of the fact that where Americans traditionally found community (through work, or their place of worship) is ripe to be replaced.

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The key phrase here is "if they can find an audience." Legacy media has advertising budgets and staff. Most alt media platforms don't.

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How many people here on substack are *just* readers and not also authors? As my dad used to say you can't make a living by everyone doing each other's laundry. Like I read substacks buy also have one.

Youtube has more pure consumers. I watch a lot of youtube, but am not a youtuber. Though I am getting frustrated with commercials on my favorite channels. There used to be a lot less of them.

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I am just a reader. I know I’m n=1 but hear me out! :-) I pay for a subscription to some illustrator substacks for fun (drawing is a hobby), and I would say 99% readers are there for the community, and also belong to some Patreon accounts also run by illustrators (and were referred over to Substack via the illustrator community).

I don’t work as an economist but studied economics, and I love Noah Smith’s substack. I pay for it. He helps me manage my anxiety about the world because he’s thoughtful and cuts right through the news cycle and clickbait. In one year I would say I’ve gotten at least 5 friends to sign up for Noah’s Substack and they are definitely not writers (and bluntly would not call themselves intellectuals)- they just like reading analysis from someone they trust to be thoughtful, and appreciate that subscriptions make it possible for him to share his brilliance with us.

I pay for Matt Stoller’s Substack and a lot of the commenters over there (in fact most of them) don’t link to their own Substack so I assume they don’t have one. My siblings all signed up for his after a rather fiery discussion at Thanksgiving where I proved far more knowledgeable (and hopeful!) about how our government works (and how absolutely rubbish monopolies are) based on Matt’s substack.

Obviously I love Ted’s because in between great music reccos he writes these thought pieces that give me pause and I was really missing editorials like these in mainstream media.

I would say that I write a few comments every few months and pay for at least 5 substacks written by people I trust who either bring me joy and community, make me think, or (usually) both. I have zero intention of writing one.

I’m tired so I’m rambling but just wanted to let you know that while Substack may not have a YouTube audience, I think it could some day. It is doing a great job of keeping writers happy and if they can keep ads off the platform then I’ll subscribe until I croak.

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Noah Smith is a hack apologist for the neoclassical orthodoxy.

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Folks like Matt Stoller and Noah Smith came over to substack from other outlfits or blogs and brought a large number of subscribers with them. These folks carry the freight here. I plan never to have any paid subscriptions., so substack is not going to make money off of me, and yet I can use the site for free because of folks like Matt and Noah bringing their paid subscribers here.

Who I had in mind were those writers who started out with a handful of subscribers and have built up a viewership entirely on this site. Small substacks usually have few or no comments in their posts and so converse on Notes. My observation is that many Notes participants have substacks.

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...time is also going to be an issue...making quality content on any of these platforms takes TIME...and if the value of that time for most is $0 and for some let's say 5-10 subs on substack at $10 a month (so $50 or $100 for them) how will this ever scale to support content production as a sustainable economy base...some stats are saying that 1 in every 2 kids wants to be a youtuber when they grow up...was there ever another job across any other timeline that captured the coming workforce's imagination like that?...with content becoming not only the mainstream, but potentially the only stream, and with very little [cash]stream vs. the amount of creators swimming within it the real counterculture might be in anti-content...the hippies and the punks of the future are probably meditating and moving/kicking rocks (though someone will film and try to monetize that)...

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I have my doubts about Substack/Medium/Quora for my purposes as I’m a musician supporting music in both audio and video. Subscriber fatigue is also an issue and it’s not appropriate for what I do. I’ve seen experienced recording artists get absolutely no engagement here.

Ted’s pretty much the only subscription I’ve kept on Substack. This article is a reason why. Great stuff

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I have to agree. Substack really seems to be a place for writers. The successful writers on Substack and other platforms tend to present something new frequently, sometimes as often as daily. A tech firm I worked at once hired a newsman to produce our newsletters, internal and external, and he was an amazing font of ideas. He was a writer and made his living that way.

Musicians don't make music like that. They don't listen to a song or watch the news and produce something in response. Even when they get a commission - I knew one woman who wrote music for churches - it could take weeks to produce a basic work. I'm not sure that there is a musical equivalent to the essay, and, even if there is, I'm not sure if there is an audience for it.

Substack seems like a pretty poor fit with its demand for high frequency, often topical, essays. I'm not sure what would work for musicians or visual artists.

P.S. Getting paid as an artist can be weird. I have a friend who, until recently, produced a monthly comic book for a wealthy patron. I'm not sure if his patron just liked the story and artwork or needed a tax dodge, but for nearly forty years my friend and some freelancers he took on got paid to write, draw, ink and so on a niche market comic book. In contrast, when I was a kid, a friend of mine's parents were violinists for Bernstein and Stokowski, and it seemed more like my parents' civil service jobs except his mom was on the radio every Saturday.

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They were violinists for Bernstein? Do you mean they were in the New York Philharmonic (Bernstein) or the Philadelphia Orchestra (Stokowski)? I can assure you being in an orchestra is a very long way from a civil service job. Civil servants number in the millions and only had to pass a civil service exam to get in. Nothing exceptional in that. To play in any orchestra that was conducted by Bernstein or Stokowski your friends parents were exceptional artists in their own right and had to compete against other exceptional artists in auditions to get on stage. Nothing mundane about their artistic achievement or the day to day work of being an orchestral musician.

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A lot of this involves childhood memories, so it is possible I misunderstood things, got names wrong and made naive extrapolations. On the other hand, I remember things like my friend's parents discussing the price of a new violin bow and considering it a good price at $1500, a fantastic sum for me at the time. That was over 30 years allowance.

His father was a violinist who played for Bernstein at Lincoln Center which was relatively new back in the mid-1960s. (It opened in 1962, and my memories are from around 1964, 1965 and 1966.) I am only guessing the name of the orchestra, but I remember my friend's father telling him that Leonard Bernstein wished him a happy birthday.

His mother was second violin for a noted conductor, possibly Stokowski, who played at Carnegie Hall and on Saturday mid-day radio broadcasts. Was it some other composer? I was in 5th or 6th grade and not much into classical music. Stokowski was the name I remember, but someone with more knowledge of classical music could correct me. We did a class field trip to Carnegie Hall and listened to some of a rehearsal. I remember someone asking the conductor how he kept his fingers in shape for conducting. He replied that he did so by spanking his children.

One time, I remember my friend's father joking that he could hear his wife coughing over the music on the radio as we headed downtown from Columbia University, where my friend and I were in a weekly science enrichment class, to Carnegie Hall where we'd pick up his mother.

They obviously weren't civil service jobs, but they lived in the same apartment complex as we did. Later, they moved to a slightly fancier co-op, also in Jackson Heights, maybe a half mile to the west. Like civil servants, though, they had regular pay checks, unlike the jazz musicians who worked gigs, authors with royalties, taxi drivers with seasonal income, or small business owners who faced economic headwinds more directly. My father did a lot of tax work, so I had some insight into how people made their living even as a kid.

P.S. Even as a kid I was impressed. They were obviously both extremely talented.

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There are options for visual and musical artists, but usually, like Ted mentioned, you’re stuck in tech oligarchy hell. I decided on YouTube because there are better opportunities for interaction and growth than any social media; I may have to do something with Instagram but I haven’t decided yet. The time factor is always there since I still work.

Spotify tends to reward artists who produce on a consistent basis and stay reasonably active. For that reason I’ve decided to release singles instead of an EP or album, and go with the full digital music release process, ofc supported by YT and one or two other things. Facebook? Likely not. I need to look at it further to see how it could possibly benefit me. I have very negative views on Meta.

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It makes me sad that you (and other) musicians are releasing their material as singles. The art of the album has been lost (I'm not talking about the covers). Albums were an opus in themselves in 12 or more parts. The albums I bought on vinyl in the 70s and 80s had a narrative arc, one you had to listen to from beginning to end in the order the artist decided to get the full impact of their creation. I was horrified when ipods came out and people would listen on "shuffle". Like cutting up a painting, chucking it in a bag and pulling out one piece at a time to look at it.

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"My main concern is the money. Substack, for example, is great, but how many subscriptions can one afford?" Target nail acquired and bludgeoned with accuracy. The Honest Broker is the only Substack that I would even consider paying for to read, and I haven't because of your statement. I read loads (that's loads) of different sites that have good content, but require a subscription to have access to all of their articles, which would add up to hundreds of dollars a month. Streaming is the same. For instance, Hulu costs over $80 a month if you want any live TV, and you still have to pay for high-speed internet to watch. I've gone with cable after sixteen years with ATT UVerse, which was by-far the best "cable" from a technical and design perspective, because it simply cost too much. Cable still costs more than water/sewer/trash or electricity, but I have reliable internet, decent TV with a clumsy DVR, and the all-important land line. My flip phone cost $15 (5G no less) and $7 a month.

I view every type of subscription as a yearly cost, and at this point I've pared down to an acceptable cost/benefit result. Having a load of Substack or streaming services subscriptions just would be too much for me.

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Restated, we need something like radio, television stations and newspapers again!

The real problem with the legacy media isn't the internet, although the disruption in income certainly hurt severely, but in the quality of the product. Then add the constant demand in increasing revenues and the crapification of everything including things like sports, clothes, housing, food, medicine, religion, the government, whatever.

The idea of doing, creating, or producing good services and products and then expecting money seems to be a quaint idea to the acknowledged social, political, and economic elites. To create and to serve seem to be bad ideas to them.

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All true. I like the "crapification of everything."

Roku and Prime Video have afforded me opportunities to watch a lot of old network shows at no extra cost. In my and my wife's opinion there are two series that are timelessly good: Frazier and NYPD Blue. Nippidy Blue, in particular, is amazing from every aspect. Writing, acting, cinematography, music, sound, and more. I watched every episode from its debut in 93 until its final episode in 2005 (VCRs), and have now seen it two and a half times (Prime only had it available in November, and it's hard to watch 261 episodes in a month). I've seen new things in every episode. One interesting thing is that the music after each scene change is never repeated on any show, which means well over one thousand different compositions. Fun stuff.

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....and a composer who got paid for each and every one of them.

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I sure hope so. It was a freakishly good show. 20 Emmy's, 84 nominations, 27 its first year with 7 wins for acting, directing, sound, casting, you name it. I just re-watched Southland, which is also an exceedingly good cop show, and managed some Emmy's as well. Music not quite as good as NYPDB, but good nonetheless.

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I can think of an even simpler reason to go long on microculture that wasn’t addressed here: kids these days. As a high school teacher, I see them less aware of and interested in mainstream media every year. Sure, they might follow a few of the popular hits that survive the winner-take-all culture (Beyoncé, Spider-Man movies, Colleen Hoover novels) but most of it passes them by completely. Tens of millions of marketing dollars were spent to revive Indiana Jones at the box office, to no effect on teenage viewers. Meanwhile, they’re fanatical about makeup artists on YouTube and SoundCloud rappers most of us won’t hear about until they die. Born in the mid-2000s, they barely know what living with a mainstream is. And they’re the future!

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I have noticed this as well. Having said that... As an "alternative"-loving GenX'er, I have come to appreciate the importance of the "mainstream" as something to be "alternative" about. There is also the fact that the "mainstream" studios and music publishers were actually quite adept at taking care of - and making available - their legacy works. As such, I still have access to almost all of the media from my formative years.

I actually fear that most of the current generation's valuable media will be lost to time already in their lifetime.

Example: My much younger sister showed me a video on her phone today depicting her version of nostalgia for her childhood. It was a PC running Windows XP, playing mp3's with a visualizer and MSN messenger popping up chat windows on the CRT screen. She said she missed the sounds.

Most of these things are long gone already.

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Right ...like Snapchat, stuff disappears after it has its moment. In lockstep with the average person's attention span.

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100% agree with this.

(source: parent of two teenagers)

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The money aspect is the one roadblock I see to a mass adoption of Substack.

On one hand, on Substack, a creator has total control. He sees each subscriber as they join, and emails them directly when he puts out something new. He doesn't have to pay Substack to show his work to anyone, nor does he post it knowing that only a small number of them will see it. When he posts, everyone sees it at no cost to him. If someone subscribes, the creator keeps 90% of the subscription fee.

On the other hand, on YouTube, to use one example, the creator has no control over who sees what he creates, or when they see it. On Facebook and Twitter, he has even less control. On none of those platforms does he know who his subscribers are, and he has no way to reach out to them other than by posting to the platform and hoping the site shares it with his followers. There are no subscription fees, so the only revenue comes from ads. The creator keeps between 45% to 70% of the ad revenue on YouTube, and probably less on other sites, and has to pay the site to promote his work.

Based on the above, Substack is the clear winner. The problem is that most users can only pay for a few subscriptions. Sure, a handful of wealthy folks can subscribe to 100+, but the average person probably can't budget much more than $30 per month for Substack subscriptions. That means that most Substack creators will garner very few, if any, paid subscribers, and are working more or less for free, and a very popular YouTuber has no incentive to leave YouTube, where he can make million of dollars in ad revenue.

Basically, it's the same on both platforms-- if you are famous, you get paid, if not you don't. The only difference is that YouTube allows everyone to see everything, while on Substack users have to pay to see certain content.

A potential fix for this would be Substacks that act as curators. A Substack account that acts like, say, The New Yorker, in that it features content by a number of other Substack creators. A subscriber to the curator sees content from numerous Substack accounts that he does not subscribe to, all for one subscription fee to the curator. The curator in turn divides that money between the sites he features. So, for example, Curator Substack shows an article from The Honest Broker, and another from Bob's Substack, and a third from Ma Frickett's Substack. Subscriber pays Curator $6, and Curator gives Honest Broker, Bob, and Ma Frickett $2 each. Just an idea.

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You’ve brought up, tangentially, something I’ve realized recently. The problem we have with information overload is not the overwhelming amount of information, but rather, the result of a lack of curation. It used to be that time and distance were the main curators of information. That was followed by the newspapers and tv news programs. But both of those curation systems have lost credibility, and thus far, nothing has replaced them. Substack is a curation system, but a decentralized one and therefore lacks the unifying aspect of what used to exist. The proposal in one of these comments for an aggregator substack might ameliorate that.

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I really like the idea of a curator Substack. I'd probably subscribe, and occasionally it might lead to new subscriptions for me, when I find someone's writing style and substance I really like.

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...i think we are likely headed towards that micro/macro fracturing...substack offering $10 a month bundles of authors sponsored by [insert author name here]...to that end how many boutique fandom packages does any consumer want and how long is the life hold on that brand vs. an established media entity and their financial backings?...reminds me of the just passed era of peak streaming for SVOD video services...now all that content either lives on youtube, dies on a hard drive, or is battling to be sold for anything to anyone [mostly TUBI]...we need creator platforms that host/build broker collaboration content creation in community format...but not sure there is investment for that type of idea and/or if the idea itself is just a pipedream...worked for roblox though, why can't it work for film/tv?...

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Based on the millions, probably billions, of dollars being made by Substackers, I think that well-curated sites would be desirable. Established media platforms currently have power, but it's diminishing, and I don't see that changing. What I do see is that readers right now subscribe to a few Substacks, and read many others for free, but they'd like to read paid content from many more. If they could pay, say, $10 a month and receive weekly emails containing paid content from ten Substacks, it's a win for both reader and creator.

Imagine if you and I were both featured in a curated Substack that has 20,000 paid subscribers. If it publishes 4 times a month, we'd each get $500 (less Substack's 10%) each time one of our articles was included. Readers who would not otherwise pay us monthly indirectly pay us each time they read an article that was selected by the curator. And even if the curator keeps 10% for himself, we'd still get $4,000 per article. As someone currently making $0 on Substack, I'd jump at the chance to make $4,000 every few weeks. And honestly, 20,000 paid subscriptions is not all that many. I believe some Substacks have 5x that, and is a number that doesn't seem out of reach at all for a well-curated site. Suddenly in my fantasy scenario you and I are making $20,000 every month for our brilliant articles.

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...i'm not saying that business model should exist, or might even be in the current pipeline at substack/patreon/etc. -- i guess what i am grumbling about is it doesn't solve the issue of content gatekeeping...to grow on substack etc. you need time/money to build an audience/community...meanwhile millions upon millions of content creators are creating endless content for a void or future show and tell on linkedin...how do we match the volume of workers willing/wanting to create to an audience that increasingly doesn't just want to watch/listen (or might not even have a choice bc they need to fake the creator hustle at least to pretend they may some day make some money)...by increasingly easing the access to production (see A.I. + any "art") we not only decrease the perceived value of "art" but also any future potential earnings for an increasingly growing population, whose earnings potentials in the space are being near erased (or at least decreasing)...the multiple substack solution is a bandage for a sword wound...sure let's toss a whole box on my bleeding, but how are we going to deal with this army of wallets coming in across the moat?...

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Brilliant. I have no doubt this will happen....but who will curate? It will either be a Substack division, or a private Substack channel. Either way a gatekeeper is created, so we can only hope that the curator will seek out lesser known stacks to promote along with its stars. We need a Substack Quincy Jones right about now.

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I've brought it up in the past, but so far Substack hasn't implemented anything of the sort. It's unclear it they ever will.

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Their competition does (Quora/Medium)

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It's possible that private publishers on Substack could create publications of the sort you describe, just as they do on Medium.

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I've tried to explain to people how to curate your Facebook or Twitter feed to reduce the stuff you don't want to see and increase the stuff you do. But they usually complain they don't have the time. I like the idea of Substack creators acting as curators; I personally have the time to spend scrolling through articles and creator sites. For my target audience, I think that would increase my value to them and could conceivably result in more paid subscribers.

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It's up to Substack to implement something like that. Right now, someone could do it, but it would more or less be on the honor system.

I agree that it's a great way to grow an audience. If your piece appears in a well-read curation Substack, it will draw potential subscribers to your own Substack. Some may like what you write enough to subscribe.

This is similar to, say, the New Yorker running an article written by John Doe. Doe is paid a flat fee for the article, but some who read it will go to a bookstore and buy John Doe's books.

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Or why not offer a discount if a user subscribes to multiple at a time? So if I were willing to include my Substack to be offered in a ‘bundle’ then readers could curate their own bundles.

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This is the most. cogent argument for the transition/revolution going on now. It won't be reported in the macroculture because legacy media NEVER EVER reports on itself or other members inside the bubble.

It's the third rail of journalism from the national to local levels. (Here in Portland, my Substack PortlandDissent is the only voice in local journalism that ever reports on...local journalism. It's great to have that as an exclusive--but sad at the same time.)

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The macroculture is also an insulated bubble saturated with "woke" viewpoints and policies that us microculture ppl call BS on. They and their ESG scheming friends want to dictate, not create.

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Exactly. I don't see how he can write this article and not mention that over the last ten to fifteen years the macroculture was progressively conquered by woke religious fanatics whose number one priority was (and is) spreading the woke gospel and punishing heretics.

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I see a clear story of decline on the one side, and explosive growth on the other. Creativity is just built into the species, if it stagnates here it will pop up there. Great, Disney can die in a fire for all I care, or go the way of Yahoo. Let a million substackers bloom, and all that.

But in the title and repeatedly in the article you promise war. Care to elaborate? Some big old farts declining, and new stuff popping elsewhere, largely unseen or ignored by the old farts, is a great story of a sea change, but it's not a war. Are you predicting that the monoculture will go on the offensive and try to cancel the new stuff? Or that independent creators will somehow go to war with Hollywood? Let's her more about this predicted conflict!

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...but where will i get to watch season 17 of [untitled star wars project] and the prequel prequel prequel Fast & The Furious -3?...it seems there has never been a better time to pivot into individuality and to build minicultures out of the microcultures you subscribe to and participate in...or to make handprinted zines with qr codes on them...support the arts that support you and you shall be supported in return...or so one hopes...

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Unfortunately the funding of media is almost entirely captured by vaguely non/post/anti-human beancounters who are typically antagonistic to non-predetermined means-tested focus-grouped art and expression altogether.

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...well i guess we will have to continue to consume cones of shit flavored soft serve...i remember when the talented content creator meg whitman launched the brilliant quibi she admitted she didn't really watch a lot of the content she was producing...having worked in streaming with executives of this ilk all i can say is that the goals/needs of the masses are never met/sought by those at the top of the creation heap...they seek only to define us by our most limited potential...if we ever find a way to community create power i have a feeling we will meet aliens at that same moment...and they will want to party...

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I had a friend with a Quibi deal/show and that whole enterprise was apparently being run like an absolute clown-car.

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...i can only imagine...what was the show they were making if you remember?...it was such a bizarre cornucopia of content none of which seemed landmark or interesting to make it to a streamer, let alone launch one at the pricepoint they offered...this is an awesome read on quibi btw if you haven't already read it -- dope author too https://www.howtheygrow.co/p/why-quibi-died-the-2b-dumpster-fire...

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I don't watch anything tbh, I don't know if it ever made it to air. I do know a bunch of people didn't get paid and it all ended with serious bad blood between the involved parties.

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...terrible...sorry to hear that...

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Make that two! 😊👍🏻

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A good follow-on to this article would look at the news this week that Spotify laid off Glenn McDonald, its genre wizard, "data alchemist," and the genius behind everynoise.com. (Also, it sounds like, his team? And the remaining others from the old Echo Nest team?) Spotify succeeded because it was able not just to microtarget its users with music from the microgenres they already liked, but was able to let users discover 6,000+ microgenres they never knew they'd like. Spotify enabled microcultures of music to find their music in a way that Apple Music, Tidal, et al simply couldn't come close to. But now it looks like Spotify is shrugging and saying "eh, institutional monoculture / macroculture is fine. Let's just be Äpple Music."

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We have the same legacy-media macroculture problem here in Australia, but in an aggravated form (given the fact that in this country, the main newspapers and the main television stations have the same owners).

One example will serve for all: Rupert Murdoch's newspaper <I>The Australian</I>, which has not once made a profit since it was founded in 1964, has had the same foreign editor for almost 40 years; he hasn't improved with age.

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It's the same in Thailand. The Army owns most of the tV stations and they all report the same news, and the male readers all dress alike; black suits, white shirts, open at the neck and no tie. They all have the same hand and arm waving gestures, and there are no alternatives. The 3 newspapers are the same.

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And, I will bet - like the clueless drones in establishments everywhere, they probably think everyone watches their daily Charade & believes it all. That the great crowd of "us" out here are stupid.

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There is a great out here who are stupid, hopefully it's not "us."

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I’m grateful for this overview with useful terms and some historical background. Still, I feel that it’s looking at the wrong indicators. Macro or micro, the real story lies in the total commodification of the exchange of opinion and information, which occurs just as much in this intelligent and entertaining Substack as in MrBeast. This will always lead to concentration of “creation” and to a standardization of the “content” bc that’s in the logic of capital. It happens everywhere. Once Netflix was in the position of breaking through (if never micro), and this meant bold innovation. Now it’s back to formulaic shlock. Look at the offerings on grocery shelves: a dozen products variations on same old crap. This happens bc it’s in the logic of concentrating capital to settle on the lowest common denominator. Still, I’m grateful for this way of posing the question.

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This piece is too clever for its own good:

1) Microculture platforms rely on macroculture advertising. It's all connected.

2) Substack is as much an indie/alt darling to today's culture as Harvey Weinstein was to the 90s. Be careful the company you keep.

3) What you describe is not an impending war, it is simply a shift in demographics and what participants in mass culture deem important. The power may be shifting to new areas, but the dynamics of power remain the same (or, perhaps, are becoming even more concentrated).

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All right; but one thing is: who gets to define a "microculture", and when? Usually that happens after the fact, often by years; with a whole heap of survivor's bias and politics. People are honking about "curation", but who really wants to hand (more) power over to "curators"? "Curator" is just a fancy name for "gatekeeper", with all the biases and petty feuds that entails. I dunnoaboutyou, but I got more than enough headaches from those folks already, in music. There's no room for the "undefinable" in their world, as I've found out.

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Dec 7, 2023·edited Dec 7, 2023

Sturdy point you make here, Shaggy. "Undefinable" in context of muses or the arts amounts to default marketing term on the grid of market segmentation. You or I may not be interested. However, those gate-keepers that keep US (the United States of Amnesia as that wonderful paleo-Conservative Gore Vidal coined US) in our proper corporate lanes can be mistrusted to do our Critical Theory thinking for Us of A.

Remember Obama\Biden's properly curated Neo-Liberal E-CON Secretary of Treasury to implement the Neo-Con Cheney-Paulson-Shrub cabinet's TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program that saved the richest's troubled asses?), well the whiter than white ethno preppy Tim Geithner's favorite and most over-used cliche; "Plan beats no plan" kept getting trotted out for every press conference. That gave us Obama as a thinking man's reform President. A hustler supreme in the Go-Go Entrepeneurial mode so preferred by the risk-averse investors and their Wealth Management Portfolio minders.

Yet Neo-Liberal Public Interest Policy FAILUREs from both of our Duopoly Corporate Captured political parties could come up with nothing sharper than the Elite Schooled Dullard Timmy Geithner as some kinda sop to make the Bush-Cheney Bank bail-out (look up under the TARP) look less like the ever-present default blue print for Wall Street privileging of policy-making standard boiler plate that investors, errr consumers, errr electors keep choosing from our limited and carefully curated from London to Zurich and Geneva gate-keepers and Parisian menu-makers.

https://www.chronicle.com/article/larry-summers-and-the-subversion-of-economics/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/geithner-finds-his-footing/2011/05/24/AGY0CSLH_story.html

Tio Mitchito

Mitch Ritter\Paradigm Sifters, Code Shifters, PsalmSong Chasers

Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa (Refuge of Atonement Seekers)

Media Discussion List\LookseeInnerEarsHearHere

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I hope you are right. But I remember writing something very similar about the Internet and the blogosphere 20 years ago. And I was wrong. The old institutions rallied and coopted the new ones. Why do you think that the macro culture will not use government power and regulation to squeeze the life out of the new competitors, who are disorganized and dispersed and small? Make an example out of a few of them, and you may be able to shut the whole thing down or force them in-house or only permit them to work on your own terms? You left out politics and law and compulsion and regulation in your analysis. But people in power never give it up without a fight, and there is almost nothing they won’t do to keep it. For example, it would not take much in the way of government interference to shut Substack down. So, again, I hope you are right. But you’re the one who use the word “war” and the macro culture has access to almost all the instruments of power and the micro culture does not. Who will win that conflict is far from obvious.

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They are already doing it. Can't have the plebes spreading disinformation, misinformation, malinformation, wrongthink, racism, misogyny, criticizing the elect, etc.

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This is already happening to Bandcamp

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➡️ "The macroculture is frozen. It has forgotten how to maneuver. It definitely has forgotten how to learn."

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I wonder how the microculture camp will weather the inevitable deluge of fake AI content. Dead internet theory will be fully realized this time next year -- I just can't imagine anyone crawling back to macroculture platforms no matter how schizophrenic the alternatives become. The microculture, even when mistaken, or grossly/intentionally inaccurate, still has more sincerity than any establishment media. This guy Ran Prieur has a blog with a great recent entry on the lack of authenticity in the macroculture. People are careening towards misinfo because it is the most accessible/basal mix of addictive content and sincerity, unlike establishment media which has lost the mandate of heaven : https://ranprieur.com/#:~:text=to%20this%20day.-,December,-1.%20Merriam%2DWebster%27s

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The counter and antidote to AI content, as far as I can see, is people one trusts. Personalities that you feel you know. Like Mr. Beast, Adam Neely, Emmet Cohen, Christian Nilaus (to name a few YouTubers I know). This works perfectly for microculture, even as macroculture says the star system is dead (and that is exactly what they are saying).

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Well, I hope you are right. Ossification of dominant institutions is an old story, but the biggest and baddest of them tend not to “go quietly into that good night.” I have hope for percolating microcultures, but I fear it will take some time before the wider world realizes that people are in fact well and truly tired of wringing out all the humanity, variety, depth, breadth and truth just to turn more efficient machines of colossal profit. Scale knows no quality and, I fear, big moves will remain all about scale for some time. Greed is just too fierce to reflect. I hope I’m wrong.

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