This is one of my favorite pictures I have taken and it is from Düsseldorf, Germany whilst on a work trip. When I travelled, I generally would find a few hours to walk around with a camera to see what is on offer and occasionally, I find something special.
The guy had a nice voice and I wonder what happens to some of the buskers like him, who are obviously talented, but talent is no guarantee of success and he might forever live in musical obscurity, perhaps picking up a job at a supermarket stacking shelves, in IT coding games or as a car salesman - but the chances of him living off his music is unfortunately very low.
As exciting as the technological future might be in regards to opportunity in the gig economy, the sad reality is that most people don't really have much to offer an audience. The centralized social media know this, so pick and choose their stars to maximize the draw, and all of the other user generated content that populates their platforms is there as filler to make people feel like they are contributing and have a chance - even though it is predominantly their family feeding their ego.
If this was a market system where people had to live exclusively off the payment they could get for their skills at being able to attract an audience, most people would starve. The other problem is of course one that faces Hive, where there would be plenty of people trying to deliver some form of valuable content, but very few people consuming that content. As much as people like the idea of working for themselves, the reality is that most people need to be collected and managed, otherwise they will starve.
A big part of the reason for this is the way society and the economy has changed in the last few hundred years with industrialization. While the production lines brought efficiencies, what it also did was encourage specialization, which meant that people no longer had to know how to be self-sufficient, as they could rely on the skills of others to provide. This meant a narrowing and peaking of skillset, so that fewer skills are held.
We see this on Hive when people might produce good content, but are unable to draw attention to it, as the skill to create and the skill to distribute are different skillsets. It could also be for example where a photographer can have a great image, but is unable to produce compelling text that holds the attention of the audience. Unfortunately, a picture doesn't tell a thousand words if that picture is scrolled through and observed for a fraction of a second.
The way we have set up content consumption is for volume, not quality. This means speed is imperative and when things are observed at speed, nuance is lost. Small details fall between the cracks and what is considered important becomes heavy-handed and spelled-out by the provider, rather than discovered by the audience. This means that the messaging is dictated, not personal and what someone connects with is no longer unique to them, it is held in the minds of the masses, homogenous.
We become reflections of what we consume, just as we "are what we eat" and when we are all consuming similar and thinking similarly about it, we lose our ability to provide market differentiation. If what we are producing is much the same as the people around us, there is very little value in any of it. Commercial differentiation is made simpler when put in the hands of the platforms, as they are able to use their algorithms to not only put something forward, but obscure the similar around it, shining a spotlight and darkening the edges of the stage.
The gig economy is going to be challenging in the same way breaking into the music industry is. The busker singing covers for change on the streets may even be able to get some bar gigs and perhaps even pay his bills. But when it comes to really being successful, covers are not going to likely cut it, he will have to find his own voice and do so with his own words.
This is easier said than done, as singing songs is not song writing, so collaboration may be required in order to be able to put together a decent song. Then, having a song is not enough without being able to place it in front of enough sets of ears, so an other relationship is needed, as well as skills in the recording studio, lighting for the stage and a million other aspects that require groups of skills that are highly diverse. There is a reason it is called the music industry and this is the same for any industry, it takes many people for one person to look successful.
If decentralization of an economy is the future, it is going to have to find ways to bring in social collaboration and reward the entire supply chain, not just the final performance. This is easier to do in centralized environments, but due to various incentives and blindness, leaves many vital people who are core to the process, under-rewarded, with some and especially the management teams, overrewarded.
What it generally comes down to is the people who are under-rewarded are given a salary by those who are able to direct the value, and the overrewarded are the ones who can direct the value to themselves. As a consumer, we are able to direct the value we have into what we buy, but when what we buy is low value, those who create it will receive more than what it is worth. For a lot of the entertainment industry, we overpay, yet don't have enough left over to invest to become owners ourselves.
While currently rudimentary in many ways, the Hive ecosystem is one of the platforms that is trying to find a balance in the supply chain by giving everyone an opportunity and the incentive to be an owner, with a very low barrier to entry and several ways to get involved. But, the value of this takes time to understand and get uptake for ownership, as well as consumption, as there is a lot of incentive to create for reward here, regardless of what is offered. If Hive was a street of buskers putting their content forward, how many would you give a coin to and how many would get million dollar contracts?
People want to see the big acts that they are happy to pay for, but they don't want to be part of that act's journey. For the most part, the big money goes to engineered performers who have been discovered and installed, helped by the industry so that the army of middlemen can extract their sizeable cut. If those acts were unknowns on the same streets as everyone else, would they stand out that far that people would be putting hundred dollar notes into their hat, rather than small change?
The future of employment and earning revenue is going to be a very interesting adventure for all of us and I think many of us are going to struggle to bring something valuable and useful to the table, without being part of a team. Even the talented are going to find it hard to stand out in a sea of talent, because they aren't competing for the attention of passersby on the street, they are competing with everyone with their skills, other skills and a combination of skills at a global level. Most likely, a few people will take the lion's share of the attention, most others will need to find something else to do.
Long-term, it is pretty obvious that there isn't going to be enough work for enough people, as technology keeps biting and replacing our skillsets. This will mean that we will have to reorganize society in new ways and that will require, reevaluating what is valuable. There is very little drive from the status quo to do this, as redefining value means that what they hold is devalued, which is why they are so scared of us the people taking control and redefining it for ourselves, giving value to what we can offer each other, instead of giving it to the middlemen.
There are many skills needed and holding a few of them will be valuable.
[ Gen1: Hive ]
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