Commercialism Destroys Creativity

December 12, 2013
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Photo by Helga Esteb

The world of commercial entertainment is more about making money back on top of investment rather than creating something new, fresh and original.

Pop music has always been guilty of this. Solo acts and bands have been “manufactured” since pop became pop. Image styling, choreographers, outside musicians and songwriters all conspire with the ‘artist’ – and I use the term loosely in most cases. The result becomes a commercial product, all about generating sales and revenue.

Sure, there are very few people in any business doing it strictly for the passion, but in recent times we have seen a trend of music by numbers. The dream that anyone can be a success given the opportunity is of course rousing and something to strive for; but in reality what we see are facsimiles churned out, year after year, all fitting a certain type aimed at a particular market, and the product suffers as a result.

Simon Cowell
Photo by Helga Esteb

To compound matters, shows like America’s Got Talent or The X Factor also go to the extreme of turning budding musicians (of hugely varying degrees) into a soap opera where all successful candidates are sold over by some heartbreaking personal back-story, some heart yearning tale of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to triumph in the face of adversity. Then a bland, carbon copy of some other bland track that has no memorable distinction is released, and the sales are due to the public choosing who has had the greatest “journey”, nothing about musical integrity.

The more people watch, buy into and support these shows and acts, the more they make and the less space in the market place is available for true, hard working, genuine talent.

The same is happening in the world of movies. For well over a decade now, remakes of previously successful and (should have been) more successful films are being turned out by the studios at a rate much greater than new, original films.

The big movie studios do, it must be said, invest hugely ridiculous (and obscene in many cases) sums of money into the “Upcoming Summer Blockbuster” and, as such, need to recoup a profit to continue to fund both blockbuster and original film alike. Once again, however, the talent, creativity and originality are what suffer.

Remaking a film, often less than a generation old, in a very new medium as it is, is not always (rarely, actually) necessary. The progression of technical and generated production skills can be seen as a way to improve, but to retell a story of any standard, almost word for word, with a new cast is crazy, surely? The question being, if the film did not do as much business as you would like last time, will it really improve by remaking it with Sylvester Stallone, Nicholas Cage or Daniel Craig? With all due respect; no.

Books and fiction writing is also becoming very formulaic. For example, thrillers revolving around espionage and worlds of occult and cover-up, myth and paranoia, have flooded the market over the last fifteen years; with a few exceptions, do they really stand out? This being said, however, at least creative writers are being given, regardless of how small, some freedom to be creative (if they are unskilled enough to progress with that opportunity, the market place in this instance at least, cannot be held responsible.)

Creative talent is there, working and striving, trying to be heard, read and seen; fighting the mediocre mire trying to improve what we are most insatiable for. We should encourage them not let them drown in a sea of mediocrity, surely?

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