This Business Of Art Fix #19: In The Future, Everybody Will Be Famous For 15 Dollars

Hi! Welcome to the 19th Business of Art Fix, a thrilling journey through the annals of my feedly and the soundscape of my heart.


In The Future Everybody Will Be Famous For 15 Dollars

In “Get Rich Or Die Vlogging,” Gaby Dunn dives into the wonderful world of being semi-famous and also broke, as enabled by the internet’s various smoke and mirrors. If you’re not familiar with Dunn’s vlog or didn’t listen to her podcast with Brittani when I told you to, you might remember her essay for Autostraddle, “It’s A War Out There: How Queer Female Friendships Can Save Us All.” Dunn basically breaks down why most popular YouTube stars don’t actually make very much money, if any, from their work; how fans are often hostile when said YouTube stars orchestrate sponsorship deals and how “many famous social media stars are too visible to have “real” jobs, but too broke not to.” This is a topic near and dear to my heart, if not the nearest AND dearest to my heart. My girlfriend read it and was like, “this is exactly what you talk about all the time,” and I was like, “yup.”

Dunn’s article reminded me of this classic exchange, published on Emily Gould’s blog in 2007 following the publication of The New York Times Magazine article that brought the wrath of the internet to her doorstep:

normandy: they did pay you money to write that article right  not just in meatballs
emily: oh well yeah
normandy: but i understand what you’re saying
emily: yeah i mean, the price of being known has gotten really low
i mean the not price, the … reward
or whatnot
andy warhol could more accurately have said
in the future everyone will be famous for $15.
normandy: first you have to pay $15 then you get paid $15

Well I bet you didn’t know you were gonna get the absolute TRUTH today, ladies and gentlemen, BUT THERE IT IS.


Nieman Lab’s Predictions For Journalism in 2016

It’s a very cool series which contains predictions from about 50 humans who know their shit, including some that echo what we’ve been talking about all year:

  • If You Make Good Content, People Will Pay You For it: “…when you’ve got an audience that values your content enough to pay you a monthly subscription, then suddenly you’ve got a pool of reliable revenue to make even more content that you know your audience will love. It’s a wonderfully virtuous cycle. “
  • Rise of the Small: “…small publishers with a clear focus and depth of relationship with their readership are well positioned to bypass the current advertising morass to achieve financial sustainability.”
  • #Womeninjournalism: “Today’s young news consumers expect balanced coverage of gender-related topics, are used to hearing more diverse voices, and are, quite frankly, bored of the seemingly endless stream of identikit men in the media.”
  • Time to Rebrand Comments: “most publishers haven’t understood the value of their communities and so have starved them of resources.”
  • Begun, The Platform War Has: “The coming year will see more companies abandon websites altogether to save costs, pouring all resources into media creation and leaving presentation and distribution entirely to outside platforms.”
  • A Shift to Quality: “Many, not all, of these digital publishers rely on an endless stream of unsubstantial viral debris, a model that is beginning to falter, and their valuations will begin their reversion to the mean.”
  • The Year of The Splinter Site: “Splinter sites serve an underlying trend: Publishing is converging on specificity.”

This Business of Online Media

+ Buzzfeed has their picks for the most hilarious media corrections of the year, including this particularly funny selection:

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AdWeek has pointed out that Buzzfeed missed this gem, from The New York Times:

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+ Model View Culture’s 2015 Year In Review looks at the major events, themes and trends from 2015 in technology and culture, touching on topics including tech feminism, racism and how privilege plays out in cybersecurity and online privacy.

+ The Billfold has moved its operations to the medium platform, and I will get used to it eventually, right?

+ Nicole Arbour, the horrible person behind the YouTube video “Dear Fat People,” claims that video was all part of a conscious marketing strategy and that she’s making lots of money and getting tons of contracts because of it.

+ There was a lot of attention paid to WaPo surpassing The New York Times‘ numbers last month (this is how they did it) but maybe The Washington Post and The New York Times are winning… just in different ways.

Berkeleyside, which I visited daily for Black Lives Matter protest coverage in the winter of 2014, gets props for being a “nimble hyperlocal news site is winning awards and attracting eyeballs” more and more each day.

+ Andrew Huff, co-founder of Chicago digital news blog Gapers Block, announced he’d be putting the site on hiatus indefinitely next year, because The Internet These Days.

NPR has released its newsroom diversity statistics and they are 77.6% white and 55.47% female.

+ Advertising is the past and subscriptions are the future!

+ The year in stock photography cliches!

+ Cool project “The Atavist” couldn’t get a new round of funding, cut half its staff, and is altering its approach.

+ Bold is a new website for conservative female, LGBT and minority readers. They will be “filling a void in the market.”

+ Mashable is looking to sell itself.

The Toronto Star is shutting down comments on their website.


This Business of Journalism

+ Chava Gouarie at The Columbia Journalism Review investigates Sarah Maslin Nir’s investigation of the nail industry in New York City, which has been contested and also sparked major change in the industry — much for the better, but some for worse.

+ The Boston Globe is spotlighted in the film Spotlight, and hopes to turn that extra visibility into more subscribers.

+ “…we have several reporters whose job it is to stay at their desks, ready at all times to write fast and adjust as the story changes.”

+ Vice Magazine — the print edition — will go dark in January and February for a redesign and relaunch in the spring.

+ “This American Life doesn’t live in moderate humidity—it barbecues your earlobes for an hour with the flames of hell.”


This Business of Food

Just invented this category to share these three articles with you.

The Future of American Dining Is Fancy Chains: I would’ve liked more info about what exactly the fancy chains are and if they can make me a nice salad at about 2pm for a reasonable price.

The Inside Story of How A Food Start-up Cracked: My girlfriend worked for Good Eggs in San Francisco, and helped our Music Editor Stef get a job there in New York, and from the moment shit started hitting the fan at Good Eggs, I was like, “this is gonna be a really good longform article when it’s all said and done.” Now it exists, and we can read it.

+ How The Mast Brothers Tricked The World Into Paying $10 a Bar Crappy Hipster Chocolate: Couldn’t help but wonder if they would’ve gotten as far as they did if they were not young white men. Eater has a follow-up post on What The Mast Brothers Scandal Tells Us About Ourselves, also a really worthwhile read, as it concludes, “Given everything, really, what our delight at their downfall truly reveals, more than anything, is how we as a consumer culture lie to ourselves about being consumers of culture.” The Eater article lead me to this also intriguing takedown of Noka Chocolates from 2006.

The Mast Brothers have responded to the allegations in an interview with The New York Times.)


The End Times

+ Over 350 publications are now on board with Facebook Instant Articles, now available for Android. Not including us! You will still have to sit there and wait for our articles to load while considering the futility of life.

+ “No matter how media companies tweak their numbers, they won’t be able to hide the truth: the advertising engine is broken; fixing it will require drastic measures that only a few publishers will successfully undertake.”

+ Forbes now prohibits access to users who won’t turn off their ad blockers.

+ Incisive Media has become the second UK publisher to ban users using ad-blockers.


The Businesswomen’s Special: Advice On Working Better

8 Ways to Boost Productivity When Working Remotely (everup)

Productive Things You Can Do While Job Hunting (The Everygirl)

Self-Employed Little Bitches Unite! (Gala Darling)

What You Eat Affects Your Productivity (Harvard Business Review)

Everybody Needs Time Off (printmatic)

Ways To Beat A Creative Block (warren ellis)


And finally, a question for you: if you have a home office, what organization or rituals have brought you the most joy and productivity?

Before you go! 99.9% of our readers don't support Autostraddle. Still, it takes funding to keep this indie queer publication running every day. And the majority of our funding comes from readers like you. That's less than 1% of our readers who keep Autostraddle around for EVERYBODY. Will you join them?

Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2885 articles for us.

6 Comments

  1. Thank you Riese, for your valiant efforts.

    Just imagine if I had erroneously gone on thinking that quinoa was still the it grain.

    Of course, I’m sure Stef is all over Sorghum’s instagram. It’s probably been partying hard with Rye, and waking up to Phoebe Daal.

  2. I don’t have a home office but I adopted Riese’s suggestion in one of this year’s articles to neaten my desk every day before I leave work. This is purely aesthetic: the piles are made to be symmetrical if still totally unorganized in terms of content, but this one tiny trick helped my day-to-day morale so much!

    Thanks Riese!

    • Yes! I started doing the same thing in the last couple of months, and it’s nice to walk in the next day and not feel overwhelmed by mess. I also take time to water and tend to my office plants before I leave. It feels good :)

  3. I was so surprised to read the negativity in the comments below Gaby Dunn’s article. Clearly many of these people aren’t the YouTube audience of which she speaks. I too fall into the category of thinking most of the “famous” YouTubers are rich or well off; not assisted by the fact that only seeing people in their best light constantly creates a false sense of intimacy and understanding of their character. What most commenters over there also fail to consider is that most ordinary jobs or indeed most any-type-of-jobs don’t have a constant critique by way of comments on their work. Imagine if even every fourth person who went into the bank to borrow money left a comment that was visible for all to see on that bank lenders desk. Would it be as easy to be satisfied with your job? I think that job satisfaction is so multifaceted. If you consider YouTube as your main job, it would be hard to be satisfied with rate of pay ($0 or minimal ad payments), co-workers (often yourself) or postitive interactions (much easier to remember 1 negative comment VS 100 positive likes).
    Hang in there Gaby. I am learning that finding life satisfaction is challenging to find without being financially comfortable but it is possible. Your motivations for doing things drive your sense of success.
    Love what you do everyday!

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