Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Letter To The Millennials — Medium

So one of the things I want to teach you about is a time from 1965–1980 when the artists really ruled both the music and the film industries. Some said "the lunatics had taken over the asylum” (and, amusingly enough, David Geffen named his record company Asylum), but if you look at the quality of work that was produced, it was extraordinary; in fact, most of it is still watched and listened to today. Moreover, in that period the most artistic work also sold the best: The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper was without doubt the best record of the year but also the best selling, and The Godfather was similarly both best movie of the year and the biggest box office hit. That’s not happening right now, and I want to try to understand why that is.

Aside from the subjective distinction about what constitutes "the most artistic work", during that period (65-80) the artists and the majority of the public were the same generation. It was because the Baby Boomers numbers were so huge they were, and still are, the primary market force. Today, Boomers don't go the movies very often (or buy as much music) but Millenials do it's just that their numbers are nowhere near as large as the Boomers so they are a market force, just not on the scale of the Boomers' heyday. Great movies and music are still being made today, arguably better than ever, but the market is much more diverse than ever so to be a "best seller" the movie/song has to be appreciated by all segments and that usually spells "artistic" disaster.

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