“Artist Andy Warhol is credited with saying that in the future, everyone would be world-famous for 15 minutes. The world has changed considerably in the 50 years since he allegedly made this prediction. Hockney, who has outlived his contemporary by more than three decades, has surveyed today’s cultural landscape and has arrived at a different conclusion.
‘In the future, probably nobody is going to be famous,’ he asserts. The mass media has become atomized, he says; information sources are becoming niche. Celebrity was, he says, a creation of the once-omnipotent mass media. Now global fame of the Warholian vision will elude most limelight seekers, he predicts: ‘People will become famous locally.'”
I tell my shrink this all the time. The target has disappeared.
The goal of an artist is always to have a larger audience. Actually, Hockney talks about that too:
“‘I have the vanity of an artist,’ he says. ‘I want my work t be seen. But I don’t have to be seen.'”
In money culture this never gets airplay. That’s what people always have asked me, how I make my money. But money was never important to me, I’m not saying I dislike it, but my focus was on reach. How do I reach the most people with my message. But now, it’s harder than ever to grow your audience, my audience, you’ve got to be thankful you’ve got an audience at all.
Now the first act I remember talking about world domination was the Police. They toured everywhere, inspired by the Copelands’ CIA father.
Then it became a mantra, especially amongst brain-dead rockers. The goal was to be top of mind, known by everybody, in the MTV era that was sort of possible, but it’s impossible now.
How come a fine artist knows all this and the media does not?
Because the media reports, it’s always one step behind the news. Which is why Steve Jobs famously did no market research, people are not ready for the new and different until they experience it. And the media landscape is littered with publications that have bitten the dust. They superserve their readers, and then those readers age or disappear, and something else becomes the rage. “Time” was the Bible. Now not only do I not read it, I never see it anywhere. As for “Rolling Stone”…it got stuck in the past, not writing about new acts, and now the deep articles are still good, but with monthly publication in a fast-moving world it has become irrelevant, niche, for subscribers only. How do you grow your circulation? YOU DON’T!
So the media keeps trumpeting the Top Ten. But that chart no longer represents what people are truly interested in, what they’re listening to. Used to, back in the sixties, when AM was dominant, but not now. You can canvass legions of people and they’ve never heard these songs, but the media and the performers rage on about their impact, which in the age of instant availability is smaller than ever before. Come on, admit it, even with acts you love, if you play the whole album that’s significant, and it’s doubtful you continue to play it, because there’s so much else out there, and it’s not only music.
One can even argue that striving for world domination hurts you. Most people never see you, but if they see you too much, they turn against you, even if they don’t know you. Like most of the social media influencers. I don’t follow them, there’s no reason to, but I hate them anyway. It’s their tireless self-promotion that bugs me.
As for the pop acts? When successful, their promo lands everywhere, turning me off. Is this the system we live in, where purveyors can convince everyone to air/write about a story that almost always is here today, gone tomorrow? It undercuts the credibility of the media, which has already lost too much. We see this in politics, everybody has different “facts,” they don’t know the truth. Which is kinda the point of this story to begin with. Unless you subscribe to the “Wall Street Journal” you can’t read the Hockney article. And if you do, if you get the physical product, you will see ads for high-priced clothing that is the opposite of today’s fast fashion. Which is kinda funny unto itself. Kids today think clothing is disposable, that’s how cheap it is. Whereas oldsters still think if you pay more it means more, that it will last and be stylish, but who are they impressing?
And somewhere during this century I didn’t know the stars in the gossip columns, the people and their shenanigans talked about online. And then people played the system to the point they were only famous for their shenanigans. The first was Paris Hilton, she established the paradigm. Her fame was only based on her name. The Kardashians only improved upon the paradigm. But will this paradigm play in the future? Probably not, we just won’t care. Hilton and the Kardashians were products of their time. Kids today don’t watch broadcast/cable television, they stream what they want on demand, there are very few cultural rallying points. That’s why “Stranger Things” was such a big deal, kids rallied around that when they didn’t rally around almost anything else. And then the media reported on that. Once again, by time it hits the media, the early adopters, those who set trends, are involved in trends, have already moved on. And they couldn’t care less that there was a story about their activity in big media, they don’t read it, success is evidenced in cubby holes online. Used to be you were thrilled when big media featured you, now you just shrug your shoulders.
Today it’s all about the large audience you have. That’s why Howard Stern gets the A-listers. People pushing know he has a rabid audience, and that the rest of the media follows him. Yup, today Howard Stern makes celebrity news, not the magazines.
It’s going to be harder and harder to reach mass. You’re going to be thankful to have an audience at all. Your cult will support you handsomely, people have unlimited funds for their favorites, but the vertical is pretty narrow.
Oh, one more thing. This is why the Marvel movies are irrelevant. They’re just the biggest thing in a niche world, i.e. the movie business. Most people ignore them and move on. This is not “Butch Cassidy” or “The Exorcist” or the original “Star Wars.” Oh, they’re hyped to high heaven, but only a sliver of the public sees them and the rest drive right on by.
There’s only one star in America today, and that’s Trump, because he’s President and says outrageous things all day long. If he weren’t President, his musings would have little impact, but since he is, and he plays all day long, he can say whatever he wants with impunity, it can be wrong, it can be misspelled, but I challenge you to remember today’s faux pas two days from now, even tomorrow.
Everybody needs shoes. Food. Clothing. Although it’s harder to have a dominant brand in those areas too. But everyone certainly does not need your art. It needs some art, but not necessarily yours. And today no one likes stuff jammed down their throats, they’re busy promoting themselves online, they don’t like the competition, if they’re paying attention at all.
This is the new world. The internet lets everyone play. And fewer and fewer are paying attention to specific people and their endeavors. Get used to it.