To string you along with the pretense…and pave the way for the coming release

At the outset of the current Writers Guild strike, I mentioned to a few friends that this was going to be positive* development in the long run because it would dump a massive block of talent onto the Internet where the Rules of Corporate Television do not apply. After all, a writer can channel his or her creative talents elsewhere, it’s those greedy studio executives who exploit others for a living that can’t afford to see their pool of talent dry up. I figured at some point the studios would give in - especially after it became clear that the public backed the writers. I mean, the Studios’ position of not giving the writers ANY profits from Internet-based ad revenues generated from their work is so absurd at face value even a first grader could understand why the writers needed to strike.

*for those of us who enjoy high quality content

Apparently these corporate douchebags have become so accustomed to having their way with labor that they’ve lost sight of the situation on the ground and picked a fight they really don’t want. OpenLeft’s Matt Stoller writes

…a few weeks ago when I was in LA after spending some time chatting with a screenwriter, he told me there is lots of weird hedge fund money coming in to fund movies, and new attempts to distribute films on the internet. The overall environment for producing great content is becoming more competitive and more difficult for the studios, and I imagine that if they don’t settle with some good solution for the writers, the real danger is that they will simply lose their content business.

Why write as a slave for GE or CBS when you can write and own part of your content going through another distribution outlet?

(emphasis mine)

What we’re seeing now is just the latest battle in the war between Big Media and New Media. Big Media knows their empire is threatened by the Internet, and is doing whatever it can to minimize the damage. Make no mistake about it, unless you are one of them - Big Media is your enemy. These are institutions that…among other things

Right now, there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn’t come out of this tube. This tube is the gospel, the ultimate revelation; this tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers; this tube is the most awesome goddamn propaganda force in the whole godless world, and woe is us if it ever falls into the hands of the wrong people

In the media wars, music blazes the trail. I encourage everyone to read Demonbaby’s commentary on the decline of the major record labels, penned in the wake of the Oink shutdown. Demonbaby levels the following indictment at the music industry…

They had a chance to move forward, to evolve with technology and address the changing needs of consumers - and they didn’t. Instead, they panicked - they showed their hand as power-hungry dinosaurs, and they started to demonize their own customers, the people whose love of music had given them massive profits for decades. They used their unfair record contracts - the ones that allowed them to own all the music - and went after children, grandparents, single moms, even deceased great grandmothers - alongside many other common people who did nothing more than download some songs and leave them in a shared folder - something that has become the cultural norm to the iPod generation. Joining together in what has been referred to as an illegal cartel and using the RIAA as their attack dogs, the record labels have spent billions of dollars attempting to scare people away from downloading music. And it’s simply not working. The pirating community continues to out-smart and out-innovate the dated methods of the record companies, and CD sales continue to plummet while exchange of digital music on the internet continues to skyrocket. Why? Because freely-available music in large quantities is the new cultural norm, and the industry has given consumers no fair alternative.

While the major labels were launching short-sighted attacks on consumers, countless independent-minded artists have seized the opportunities granted by technology. The result has been nothing short of an Indie Music Renaissance. The most brilliant aspect of the Internet is the ease at which obscure, yet highly compelling content can be distributed to the masses. Good music will eventually find an audience.

Big Media conglomerates are no longer the gatekeepers of content. Instead it’s the decentralized network of blogs and other online media outlets that serve to inform the masses what music they need to check out, what politicians they need to support, and what sports personalities are huge fucking pricks.

TV networks were already in danger of slipping from their perch as the dominant media form. The WGA strike could serve as the catalyst that accelerates the decline of Big Media and fuel the rise of the Internet based ‘indie’ programming. It’s way too early to know how this is going to play out, but so far I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing.

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