Published: May 26, 2017 12:00:00 PM


Need something new? Of course you do. You've got social followers to please.

They're sitting back at the nest, beaks snipping at the air, waiting for anyone to drop them a worm. And you're gonna be the momma to feed them.

What does your individualized flair for good taste tell you? Well, it concerns discovery, something intellectually-stimulating, and hand-crafted detail. It can't be corporate, your followers demand something finer.

The same way shareware became indie video games, the same way local bands became genuine rock-acts, serialized free books are angling to become a new scene that demands something new all the time.

Why do we always need something new?

If New is the Need, then we should admit all we want is something original.

It remains a matter of choice and focus. Drawing human attention has become such a measured and familiar chemical exercise that we're more aware of its absence than its presence, like an amicable addiction.

Those participating in this amicable addiction demand intellectual stimulation. This millennial generation lusts after old-fashioned legitimacy via new-world avenues. They like to photograph themselves at a new museum they discovered (it's not new). They like to meet friends at pop-up restaurants that serve diner food.

They're overeducated, so they'd like to read more. They're overeducated, so they're also in debt, and need cheap fun. They'll read fee books as soon as they'd listen to a local musical act on SoundCloud. They'll do it because it's new and it's genuine.

A subscription model for indie writers operating in a Kickstarter or a Patreon isn't out of the question. Better $10 to an artist each month than another $15 for a beer and Uber ride home.

This demographic is trying to cram all this New and personality-defining moments into their lives: streaming, news, and social have created a meta-game.

A meta-game is when formerly-rote organization within an activity becomes a chess-match in and unto itself. Calling time-outs and icing a kicker in a football game is a meta-game, for example—it isn't technically part of the football "game," but it's another peripheral operation that's relevant while being seemingly-unrelated.

In this case, organizing our media and newness has become a meta-game—syncing playlists, charging devices, organizing and filtering newsfeeds. It's not part of what we would consider "entertainment" or "media," but you cannot argue that it's a part of it.

Our brains are playing extra games to compress all of this data. Who is the winner here?

The answer: whoever FOMO's the least.

Internet service providers will create a writing resurgence.

Follow this: very soon, every communication channel and intellectual property will be owned by monopolistic juggernauts:

  • AT&T (also owns Warner Bros, including Game of Thrones, Batman, Harry Potter, etc.)
  • Comcast (owns your atrocious American internet connection, and Fast & Furious)
  • Disney (owns your past, present, and future movie tickets)
  • Google (they're also Android and YouTube)
  • Facebook (they're also Instagram)
  • Apple (they're your phone and every photo you've taken in the last 10 years)
  • Amazon (they're also your Alexa speaker and

These giants will breed a big-ticket landscape of massive productions and zero risks. They will adapt known intellectual properties, create straightforward CGI movies, and circle the wagons. Once they've stabilized their packages, their rates will go up, because there will be no competition. The content will become either exclusive to a particular ISP, or the licensing for a company like Comcast to include an Avengers movie on their channels will be so great, your bundled rate will go up.

This will divide the entertainment world between the corporate-sanctioned tier and everything else. You will not be able to get a career as a YouTuber, kid, not unless Google, or Disney, or AT&T gives you a bump.

In 2017, we're in a content expansion and can get what we want ala carte for the first time in history. It'll contract soon as the giants consolidate.  

What comes next?

An indie subclass will grow. Referenced earlier, free books, independent art, and a return to self-distribution. Fewer artists will make it big, but the entertainment will become fragmented. This will become the new ala carte, down beneath the behemoths.

The concept of selling out has become somewhat lost in recent years. When the larger ISPs make it impossible to connect with the world and squeeze your bank account, smaller artists associating with them may be seen as selling out once again.

If you want to read more about Ghost Little's own growing library of free books and original fiction, mash the link and get yourself a taste of indie creative culture.

-- Alex Crumb
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