Inside Patreon, the economic engine of internet culture

A long read at the Verge about Patreon and founder Jack Conte. A bit of insight from deep in the article:

Unlike their predecessors, internet celebrities thrive on a radical accessibility. [Peter] Hollens, for example, has built his current a cappella career on subverting the rock star mystique. He’s got an easy answer for why there are so few fellow musicians topping Patreon’s charts: “Musicians are a product. We have a difficult time conveying to the audience that we’re people,” he says. “I’m a person first and a musician second, because that’s the best angle to take to succeed in the future as a musician. It’s very difficult to have that come across when you have, like, a slick produced audio and visual thing.” His music videos are complex and stylish, but he ends each one by earnestly addressing the camera, breaking the fourth wall between him and his audience.

In this system, it’s almost impossible to separate a work of art from its creator — or, at least, its creator’s public persona. Is there a future for someone who wants to be a musician, but not a personality? “No. I don’t think so,” Hollens says. “I don’t think the reclusive thing is going to happen anymore. That’s not the world we live in. Like, the Brad Pitts of the world” — distant celebrities who are loved from afar — “are losing value.”

November 10, 2017
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