Changing of the guard?

Last week I read in the headline of a major newspaper that Brazilians are also working on weekends, reaching an average of up to six hours of work when they should be resting or dedicating themselves to leisure activities.

While the subject of ‘significant loss of time devoted to leisure’ is by no means funny, my immediate reaction was to think, “Oh, dears, tell me something I do not know.”

Maybe my sarcasm is due to the fact that I cannot even remember when I last took a vacation, let alone a whole weekend off work. I was thinking about this sad fact, while looking for a short humor video to watch while having a very quick lunch, in order to relieve the tremendous pressure of having to meet a deadline to… edit a video (the 21st century paradox). And behold, in the sponsored videos, one appears that I am interested in watching not only for more than five seconds, butf right through to the end.

It was a masterclass, by the famous Brazilian philosopher Marilena Chauí, on the rebranding of the concept of work. From “the worst punishment that can afflict a person”, an idea disseminated during classical Greco-Roman societies and which persisted during the medieval period, it was gradually transformed by the bourgeois mentality in a right, a gift. On the other hand, idleness (or any kind of meditative activity) becomes vice and laziness gains the status of sin.

Wow, there is nothing like knowledge that comes from research and reflection, right? But what does this have to do with your reality? I can bet that you have already fallen into at least one of the many frequent traps that cross our paths disguised as catchphrases.

Feeling guilty for not “producing enough”, constant fear of “falling behind” and the frequent comparison with the supposed success-of-social-networks shared by so many people are potent tools in maintaining the ideology of work in times of algorithms and artificial intelligence. After all, what separates you from that apparently millionaire influencer (who maybe owes millions in unpaid taxes) is good planning of your posts and an efficient self-promotion strategy, isn’t it? Well, it is not.

I have been reflecting a lot about the so-called changing of the guard after the popularization of the internet, that is, the fact that the monopoly of a few labels would have been replaced by the theoretical possibility of each and every individual to spread their own music. I cannot say that I have a formed opinion on the subject yet, but my suspicion is that the supposed democratization of access to the network, if it actually happened, does not at all configure an equivalence in use.

Even if we make an effort to think that virtually anyone can upload a video with a song on a large platform, go viral and become a success, how long does this success last? Until the next viral video, probably. Now just think of the amount of work to produce viral videos, one after another, and there is not exactly a ready-made formula, despite the many tips and tutorials available, on how to viralize a music video, much less a sequence of videos.

But then there is no way out? Of course there are many, but all of them will, at some point, go through a totally old school ingredient: money. What about organic engagement? Well, I’m sorry to inform you that this, past the novelty (remember the viral video?) or even for you to become novelty in the first place, the hard truth is that someone (probably you) will have to invest a good amount of money.

The examples are the most diverse, but I will stick to just one, which I consider to be very representative: the streaming platforms. Seen as a true revolution in the way music is consumed and responsible for retiring once and for all the beloved promotional bait of “download your exclusive audio”, streaming platforms, however, use an old model for their releases.

First of all, they can only be done through a distributor, which obviously has costs and considerably reduces the number of people who will actually be able to release a song. There is always the possibility that you will be included in an editorial list, as well as the possibility that you, for example, theoretically win the Lottery. In both cases it is necessary to bet. The simple fact that the list of information to be provided for the submission of a release includes the question “How much do you intend to invest?” it already seems quite significant to me

As I said, I am still forming my opinion about the alleged changing of the guard in the music world, and I would love to hear your opinion about it. After all, because the possibility of reaching out to people is a real and possible revolution that the web offers us.

Be seeing you!


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