Last night John Oliver did a whole segment on OAN.

You know OAN, that’s the news network that sends reporters to White House press conferences who ask sycophantic questions.

Oliver is very good at his craft, and despite working from home, with no audience laughing, his zingers hit just as hard (and I’ve got to credit his crack writing staff too).

So I’m watching this, laughing at the inanities, relishing in the takedown, and then I realize…IT’S NOT GONNA MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE!

It’s not left or right, it’s silos, and there are a zillion of them.

The world is having a hard time adjusting to what technology has wrought. Many of us are still experiencing future shock. And the only difference between the oldsters and the youngsters, who grew up in the internet era, is the youngsters accept that that there are too many outlets, too many interesting things to know all of them.

This is unfathomable to the oldsters.

First, they grew up in a three network world. Everybody literally knew everything.

And then HBO seeped into the cable world. You were hip if you knew “Dream On,” the first HBO series. “The Sopranos” blew up the paradigm, everybody knew it. And now I won’t say everybody knows nothing, but I will say everybody knows a different thing.

This is not a judgment on the quality. There’s a lot of great stuff you miss, some forever, some you discover maybe years later.

As for recommendations?

We ignore them, unless they’re from trusted sources. And your best friend might not even be a trusted source. It has to be someone who has recommended material up your alley before.

And there’s lowbrow and highbrow. Never mind different genres. Mindless and intellectual. And if you dig down deep enough you can find your stuff, but you might not find like-minded people, you might feel like you’re out in the wilderness alone.

Kinda like when I listen to XMU on SiriusXM, the “college” station. I’ll hear something great, and then I’ll wonder, am I the only one listening to this, am I the only one who knows this? After all, it’s not in the Spotify Top 50, you can’t even find it in the genre playlists, and there are so many playlists that honestly, you ignore almost all of them and just cherry-pick what you want to hear or don’t listen at all. But no one even talks about this, the streaming services and the media keep lauding the ever-shrinking in impact Top 50. But really, we live in a Top 2000 world.

And I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix. And the streaming giant’s paradigm is to promote its new shows on the home screen. And now it seems like there’s a new show every day, and a lot of them are interesting, but there’s no way I can consume all of them. Meanwhile, being a fan of “Ozark” and “Money Heist” and “Babylon Berlin,” I’ve got to catch up on those first. And “Fauda” is coming back this month, and “Bosch” too.

So I’m buried under product. And this is product I’ve got an affinity for!

Every day people e-mail me their recommendations. If it’s got less than 80% on RottenTomatoes, I ignore it. If it’s got over 90%, I’m intrigued. There’s no such site for music, but there should be. It’s not volume of listens, but whether anything is any GOOD!

But my big point is that in the old days it was all about crossing over, building your brand to ubiquity, to the point where everybody knew about you, whether they liked you or not.

Even the Kardashians… If they started today, they’d be a footnote. But they started in an era where basic cable still meant something. Now, basic cable is gonna expire, supplanted by streaming services, of which there are a plethora.

So, you grow your audience and grow your audience and then…

That’s all there is. There’s no crossing over. You are who you are, that’s it.

And for those playing the fame game, those in the Spotify Top 50, they get streams but they have no careers. They’re one or two hit wonders and then they disappear. But they get ink, from an antiquated media still living in the last century.

Kind of like newspapers. They’re dying with no advertising. The latest advice from insiders? LET THEM DIE! It’s a bad paradigm, don’t try to prop it up.

Kind of like physical bookstores. They’re time-stamped. But a small group of people can’t stand their evaporation, so they constantly rally around them. Kind of like record stores, do you really miss them? Would you rather have record stores or all of recorded music history at your fingertips for $10 a month? Oh, I’ll get e-mail from people, I always do, telling me EVERYTHING is not available. Well, everything was not available in physical retail, no way. And these are the same people propping up the souvenir shops selling vinyl records today. It’s nostalgia, with no impact on the mainstream, but you constantly read about it in the mainstream press, it’s a feel-good story, but most people don’t read the mainstream press, and at best they end up with misinformation. Streams are net income. Physical they always tell you about the gross. And I won’t go all economic on you, but the bottom line is very few vinyl records are sold and they don’t make that much money, however acts can employ them as the equivalent of merch.

And small acts can sell to a dedicated fanbase.

At least they’ve got a dedicated fanbase.

But their fanbase won’t expand that much. Kind of like Kickstarter, no band ever broke from the site.

Patreon is all about your own little niche.

So, we’ve got reality, and systems that don’t comport with reality.

We’re inundated with TV shows when we can only watch a few.

The mainstream media is interested in movies, an antiquated format, as opposed to TV, so they review films and not TV shows, leaving readers in the wilderness, having to forage alone.

The mainstream media is interested in the horse race of charts, or the niche product that they can champion that no one else will, but if you don’t fit into either of those buckets, you’re SOL.

But we all have the tools. They came with the technology. The building blocks. We can all build it. But will they come?

Probably not.

P.S. Here is the link to last nights OAN segment. That’s right, you can watch for free on YouTube that which is on the pay service HBO, that’s how hard it is to reach the audience!

OAN: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Comments are closed