This Week’s Insights: Are the glory days of streaming over?… Do you need social media followers to get a job as an artist?… Rules for audience talkbacks… Remaking how public spaces are used… Remaking citadels into public commons.
- Was The Freedom Of Streaming Just A Dream? In the bad old days, viewers of TV and movies were captive to the bundles of channels the cable companies put together. And it was pricey. Then came streaming and Netflix and suddenly you could cut the cord and get a wealth of content. And that content got seriously better. But now the streaming services are proliferating and all these subscriptions are getting pricey. And – and this is perhaps most important – because that content is expensive to make, the costs are going up. To watch all your favorite shows, you may have to have several subscriptions. And as the content wars escalate, not all of the streamers are going to survive, thereby narrowing the content available. It’s looking like the old cable TV model is reasserting itself in new garb.
- Since When Did Social Media Followings Become A Factor In Whether An Artist Gets Hired? Authors have long lamented that they can’t just write books anymore. They have to be “personalities” with media savvy or they won’t find an audience. Now it’s bleeding into all the arts. Dance, for example. “New York City-based choreographer and director Jennifer Weber once worked on a project with a strict social media policy: ”Hire no one with less than 10K, period’ — and that was a few years ago,’ she says. ‘Ten thousand is a very small number now, especially on Instagram.’ ” And what does this have to do with the ability to dance? Nothing – but maybe it helps sell tickets. Is that really a good enough reason?
- Some Rules of The Road For Audience Talkbacks? Interacting with audiences before or after a performance is something that needs finesse and thinking about. Talk about the work before a show and you might be setting up the wrong expectations. Audiences can misbehave, showing off how much they know. Artists can be reluctant to frame a work instead of letting it speak for itself. So what works?
- Repurposing Public Spaces: We’ve seen how public libraries have reinvented themselves as community centers. Now big European cathedrals are spreading out. Rochester Cathedral has mini-golf (okay, an “educational adventure golf course’). Norwich Cathedral has a “helter-skelter” (a tarted-up sliding board), ostensibly so that visitors can get a better look at the exquisite medieval ceiling before sliding down. Derby Cathedral got in hot water last year when its free movie series. So what is to be gained by introducing non-traditional activities into a purpose-built space?
- From Citadel To Commons: LA’s Music Center performing arts complex was built to be remote from the street. It sits on an elevated podium that looks inward. So how – in the age of community engagement and participation – do you change the message the physical space conveys? “We shouldn’t be a white castle on the hill. Our new vision is about deepening the cultural life of every resident in the county. That is a very outward vision,” says Los Angeles Music Center CEO Rachel Moore. That means tweaking how the plaza looks and gets used.