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Tired of Being a Content Mill

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Was there ever a time that columnists and writers used to get paid a living wage for producing one or two articles per week? Is that just a fantasy? I can honestly tell you I can write twelve articles a day and I will never be able to afford a house or, health insurance or to send my children to college because, the pay is so unbelievably low.

In an article written by David Byrne for The Guardian this is his point on what the internet is doing to all creative content out there;

the larger question is that if free or cheap streaming becomes the way we consume all (recorded) music and indeed a huge percentage of other creative content – TV, movies, games, art, porn – then perhaps we might stop for a moment and consider the effect these services and this technology will have, before "selling off" all our cultural assets the way the big record companies did. If, for instance, the future of the movie business comes to rely on the income from Netflix's $8-a-month-streaming-service as a way to fund all films and TV production, then things will change very quickly. As with music, that model doesn't seem sustainable if it becomes the dominant form of consumption. Musicians might, for now, challenge the major labels and get a fairer deal than 15% of a pittance, but it seems to me that the whole model is unsustainable as a means of supporting creative work of any kind. Not just music. The inevitable result would seem to be that the internet will suck the creative content out of the whole world until nothing is left. Writers, for example, can't rely on making money from live performances – what are they supposed to do? Write ad copy?”

This is an undeniable situation, in order to have an artistic career, one must also have another career or two or three in order to support the artistic career. All we writers and photographers are is content mills, supplying content for the thousands of media outlets that are online and being paid so little that it is barely worth it to stay in this field.

I am an extremely grateful person overall. I have beautiful children and I come from a wonderful family, but if what Mr. Byrne says is true, no one with any talent is going to stay in this business. The Internet will suck all the creative juices, the uniqueness and original art form that productive and talented people used to get paid a living wage to produce. Unfortunately, any moron can do my job, and in the beginning, the artist gets addicted to seeing his work in lights and showcased, but that wears out after about 18 months so he will probably quit and some new naïve kid will come and take his place.

Or twelve to several hundred newly young kids take the place of whoever leaves the business. The tautology is that no one will be paid. Just used and exploited for producing content they eventually become aware of the situation and then a new chunk of artistic kids come to take over the positions.

I guess that’s life. I don’t even know if there is any way to fight the internet, because they simply own all the media outlets which set the demand. There is a never ending supply of unemployed artists to produce the content, so for the big companies and corporations it is win win, and the little people never make a dime.



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