Going Full Circle: A Future of Independent Art

There’s no question living in this day and age of technology allows us to experience incredible things. As years pass, and technology changes, we find that we are changing right along with it.

One change we are seeing is in the world of publishing. Countless unknowns are getting their books out there for customers to read, and even big name authors who have written for traditional publishers for years are breaking out on their own.

This is highly fascinating for many reasons, but what I want to focus on is where I see the future heading as things are going. To do that though, let’s set the foundation for the title of this article.

Going full circle, or in other words coming back to where we started. A future of independent art, so art created by the individual rather than commercially. You may be saying “that’s silly” or “there’s no way” but consider this: Once upon a time ago, the economy man functioned under was the barter and trade system. Arts were no exception to this either. Many made their living by making works of art for others.

Fast forward to today though and commercial art holds a large grasp on the market. Books by the big publishers, movies out of Hollywood, and music from the big name labels. I could continue on with video games and other mediums of art, but I think you’re getting the picture.

If these large groups have control, how would we ever end up in a future where we see independent art rising to the top once more? The answer is technology.

No one is safe in the world of business. The telegraph was phased out. VHS was replaced by the DVD. Cars became main forms of transportation. Even a market as big as energy production is destined to one day fall as technology finds cheaper and more efficient ways to produce energy. And the list goes on. When technology develops and becomes better, other things become obsolete.

So back to publishing now. Today, we see the rise of self-publishing because technology allows us to. Writing is a very basic art form. As such, it makes sense that it would be one of the first to witness the changes of technology. At first those changes allowed commercial entities to take control through massive print runs and a stranglehold on book sellers. Technology will also allow the individual to take it back though.

Since writing is basic, almost anyone can do it to some degree. We no longer find barriers in the way to publishing with all the self-publishing venues. If writers are willing to put in the work they are capable of doing, and freelance what they can’t, a product virtually identical to what the big publishers are producing can be made, at a fraction of the cost. Naturally doing it yourself means you also take more of the profit, and can charge less, which is why we find big names also migrating in this direction. When it’s more viable to publish yourself, other venues will become obsolete. In particular, depending on how the current eBook pricing fix lawsuit plays out, publishers may find it hard to compete with independent prices as time continues forward and the market continues evolving.

So writing has the potential to transcend the current commercial publishing structure, but what about other art forms? I’m sure readers have a hard time imagining an independent film with Michael Bay level effects, and rightly so. Unless the independent film maker has a whole lot of cash to work with, it’s not very feasible. At this point. What we have to remember is that as technology gets better, what it can accomplish also gets better. It’s certainly not unrealistic that at some time even a single person could be creating incredible effects without it being as difficult as it currently is. I’d expect nothing else actually as time moves forward and we continue improving our technology.

So as technology becomes even better, I think we will indeed see ourselves returning to a time when independent artists are making their living without seeking the nod of the commercial industry. Book publishers, Hollywood, game publishers, no one is safe from the ever expanding possibilities of technology, especially if they aren’t trying to change along with the times. I can’t say when, but I do believe we will continue moving toward a time when the market is ever more friendly to independent artists, and independent artists will be able to produce works of art as great as any commercial entity through their own means, no matter what their chosen medium is.

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