Are We All Exploited in the Digital Age, Even Lily Allen?

Star freelancer Ann Friedman asks in the Los Angeles Times, vis a vis the new book The People’s Platform recently discussed here by Meaghan, whether we writer/artsy-types are all victims of our tech-capitalist economy, which values art — just not enough to pay for it:

Culture may be a public good, but it’s expensive to produce. Creative workers, Taylor writes, are squeezed particularly hard in the digital era. Whereas institutions like record labels and newspapers once made investments in musicians, artists and writers, now most creative types are on their own, making their art without compensation in the hopes it’ll be a hit and they’ll be able to recoup later. The illusion of a level playing field online — that any YouTube artist could be the next Justin Bieber or any bloggers could end up the next Woodward and Bernstein — only increases the pressure on those who don’t have offline advantages. It’s impossible to be a self-made Internet star, Taylor points out, without nondigital essentials like food and shelter.

Even pop superstars like Lily Allen feel the squeeze, according to a new interview with her in Details, wherein she also says delightfully that if Kanye is Yeezus, she “sure as hell wants to be Sheezus.” 

She dings the industry, Details includedas she discusses the lengths she is willing to go to keep her name in lights and money coming in to keep those lights on. But she too has limits:

DETAILS: You talk a lot about how reporters misconstrue your words. Do you ever consider being one of those people who just won’t speak to the press?

LILY ALLEN: I’d love to be in that position, but I’m not. If I don’t speak to the press, I won’t sell any records and iTunes won’t put me on the front page. I don’t know, maybe my music’s not good enough to sell itself. I have to do the talking to back it up. …

DETAILS: You’ve called foul on women being objectified in the media. Has it gotten any better?

LILY ALLEN: I don’t know, actually. I’m having a debate with a magazine right now that won’t feature me unless I agree to do the shoot in a bikini.

DETAILS: At least it wasn’t Details.

LILY ALLEN: Well, your photographer did ask me to roll around on the floor in a skintight dress. I said no. I’m a wife and mother. I can’t do shit like that.

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