213. PressPausePlay: Digital, Before & Now. The Most Disruptive Thing to Happen to Humans to Date

24 takeaways from this video:

00:00:24 The uninhibited human invariably creates interesting things; regardless of the medium and financial constraints. Technology today means that anybody can be a writer, photographer, and musician.

00:01:13 Going digital has removed every limitation on human creativity. Before art, music, and video went digital, when consumers bought disks and records and posters and paintings at expos, spending $20 on an album or a movie was worth the investment because nobody really fully understood the magic that went into creating it, and creating and producing the music required highly-specialized training and financial investment because each musical task required it’s own individual piece of hardware.

Today, hardware has become software with a user interface so user-friendly that anybody can understand and use it, the magic is gone, and not only do people understand the process, digital software almost fully-automates the creation and production process; one computer device can allow you to do almost any musical task you need. Today, everybody is a writer, photographer, musician, and movie director, and there are millions of platforms and ways to distribute your creations and content. This enables creativity, but also makes it much more difficult to stand out.  –Moby, Brenda Walker, Lena DunhamHank Shocklee, Zach HancockMike Cosola, & Christopher Weingarten

[EDITOR’S NOTE: In Brad Frost’s talk Death to Bullshit at Creative Mornings he asks “What does it mean to be a photographer when three billion people are walking around with phones in their pocket with cameras on them? What does it mean to be a professional writer when every 14 year old has a blog?” The answer, Frost argues, is specialization and craft: an exceptional skill at doing something.

Lastly, the 136 podcast episode ‘Lights Out’ by Roman Mars of 99% Invisible tells the story of how, on July 13th, 1977, all of NYC was plunged into complete darkness after a city-wide electrity failure. In the podcast DJ Grandmaster Caz argues that this event marked the birth of hip hop music because young aspiring musicians  with aspirations of creating their own music, but unable to afford the expensive DJ equipment, took advantage of the blackout by looting music shops and stealing the equipment.]

00:03:20 Before digital, people identified themselves as artists because they had an idea or emotion they wanted to express, not necessarily because they wanted to become rich.

With digital came the dot com bubble, monetization, and get rich through online businesses via content creation to the point where junk and bullshit innondated the digital media. As a consequence of the ease of use, humans are returning to sharing ideas and emotions with the world, even if they are unsure how, when, or if they will make money from it. –Seth Godin & Moby

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For more on digital and monetization, check out:

To learn more on how the ease of technological use has caused problems for artists, watch the talk Copy, Cut, Paste by Andy Biao, and to see how unscrupulous businesses exploit copyright laws for personal gain, watch John Oliver’s episode How To Ru(i)n A Business: Patent Troll Exploits In The Patenting Process.]

00:10:32 Film colorists manipulate colors in a video to give the film and all its separate cuts a distinct and coherent look and feel. The work has evolved from roles of film snippets to digital files and sequences. –Mike Cosola

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For an interesting take on how film color evolved alongside skin color and race equality, watch the short video The Awkward But Evolving Relationship Between Technology & Skin Tone.]

00:14:51 Classical guitars were limited in their strength, and their sound needed to be louder to cover greater distances, so the electric guitar was invented to solve this problem. Jimi Hendrix didn’t invent the electric guitar, he simply took it and used it to become “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music.” Absent an electric guitar, there probably would never have been neither a Jimi Hendrix, nor rock music as we know it. –Bill Drummond

Technology always comes first for whatever reason; then some artist comes along and invents innovative ways of using it.

The above video (Ólafur Arnalds – Ljósið) became one of my most successful videos and accounts for a lot of my success in the years that have followed. – Ólifur Arnalds

00:18:53 Before digital, creatives knew where to go to find art and entertainment: magazines, newspapers, VHS and DVD movies at Blockbuster. Naturally, those sources came with a price tag. Before digital, the industry required such expertise, understanding, and professional network connections that very, very few artists could actually fit through the funnel and get their work out there.  –@DavidWeinberger

“Ideas that are free spread faster, and ideas that spread, win.”

Seth Godin

00:24:52 Before digital, if you paid to go to a concert you assumed the performers on stage had an audience of no less than 10,000 people. Now, those 10,000 fans attending the concert each believe they themselves are the artist.  –David Girhammar

00:26:01 Everyone thinks they can write a novel, make their own movie, or write a song. This is why everyone is writing and self-publishing their own books, publishing their own songs, and  uploading videos onto Youtube.

00:27:25 Q: Should everyone be able to be a successful musician? A: No. Absolutely not. The unfortunate reality that not everybody has talent is not a reality many people like, and for serious young filmmakers and musicians who realize that it is not based on craft, but is determined according to the number of clicks and social media shares they get, this seriously undermines the artistic endeavour.  –@Amy Phillips

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Conversely, while perhaps it is true that not everybody is blessed with the same level of talent, recall in my interview with Dave Trott, Creative Director and in Trott’s books Predatory Thinking: A Masterclass In Outhinking The Competition and Creative Mischief that by and large  university graduates are loafers and skivers who want the fame, fortune and satisfaction of working on projects they’re passionate about, but don’t want to put in the hard work and take the initiative required to find their own way to success, preferring somebody give them a ‘universal set of rules’ needed to become successful, and when they don’t get their way they complain about not being able to find a job. But, if you’re willing to work 2x, 3x, and even 10x as hard as the best, you can galvanize the competition and become the best.

Secondly, to learn how artists can make a living on their work, check out the article 1,000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly.

Lastly, for more on how money, branding, and digital can trump actual artistic and creative skill, check out:

00:34:23 Advertising executives seem to believe that there is a shortage of digital talent out there. On the contrary, I think that there are more than enough; I just think that they don’t want to work in small little cubicles in advertising office spaces. They want independence to choose their own terms and conditions, work on their own hardware and software, and work on projects they enjoy. –Scott Belsky

Artists have the power. Today they can work on their own and represent themselves; specialize and create your own brand. It’s shocking that that they haven’t yet realize it.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Mike Montiero talks more about the artist’s power in his talk F*ck You, Pay Me: Client-Services Contract Tips For Respectable Businesses.]

00:39:16 Software and technology can limit your capabilities as you create. But consider the ancient Stone Age cave paintings were also bound by human limitations. Limitations perhaps just can’t be avoided. –Takafumi Tsuchiya & Yasuhiko Fukozono

00:40:13 Today, anybody can do anything. There no longer needs to be market segmentation between film directors, designers, editors, etc. It’s not about being better or worse; it’s about being different. Screw what anybody else says; just do it. –Anre Stringer & Tracy Chandler of Shilo

You can study and memorize rules, but you can’t teach today’s technology because in 5 years it will be gone.

00:46:02 Maybe you don’t have formal education on film and technology, and you grew up learning through experience how to direct and act and create. But you still need to understand the vocabulary so you’re capable of communicating the story inside your head so others can understand and collaborate with you. –Norman Hollyn

00:49:11 Don’t rely too much on the technology, because technology cannot compensate for substandard quality. –Nick Sansano

00:57:00 “In 1998, CD sales were strong and growing…” –Hilary Rosen

“I founded Napster in 1999 with a friend…” –Sean Parker

01:01:00 When the music executives discovered Napster, they were as infuriated as they were excited. The industry and content distribution, as they knew it, was dead, and there was nothing they could do to stop it…

01:03:39 Before digital, watching a movie involved making the decision, and then leaving your house, driving to the theatre, and organizing your time around the limited movies being shown as well as their times. Now, you have immediate and unrestricted access to millions of movies and television series, with the ability to stop rewind, pause, play… –Hillman Curtis

01:05:35 Just because you downloaded songs from a particular person or group doesn’t identify you as a fan of the person or group who made the music; but buying a ticket to actually go and see them live, that says something. –Keith Harris

01:09:32 As a result of digital, musicians can no longer go on stage and simply play songs they know people like to hear. Now, musicians are compelled to entertain and genuinely connect with their audiences while they perform.-Moby

House of Radon Documentary - PressPlayPause

Digital is the most disruptive thing to happen to any industry and way of life in history, to date. You are living it. Don’t miss it!

 

2 thoughts on “213. PressPausePlay: Digital, Before & Now. The Most Disruptive Thing to Happen to Humans to Date

Comments are closed.