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Artists: You are not a "content creator"
The Max Creator credit was a problem artists helped create.
The first time I heard “content” was from a YouTube exec in 2007. I was writing, directing, editing, producing, and acting in various “web shows” at the time.
The term was gross, a corporate word designed to make art feel disposable and interchangeable.
“We just need three more hours of content this week,” the exec said.
As the years wore on and I worked for more start-up tech companies like BuzzFeed, a funny thing happened — artists adopted corporate speak. At new media parties, suddenly, people would introduce themselves as “content creators.”
Companies no longer hired artists. They hired “creatives,” another odd term that made it sound like artists were toddlers. “That was very creative, honey,” the adults with the money would say.
Fast forward to a few years ago. Not only were Youtube artists calling themselves content creators, but so were the writers and directors of film and television. In press releases, big-time television producers announced their excitement to create content for their respective overall deals.
Last week, HBOMax was rebranded to MAX, and a strange thing happened. There were no longer writer, director, or producer credits. Instead, everyone became “Creators.” Here is a screengrab for “RAGING BULL.”
Social media blew up, the DGA and WGA got involved, and the company quickly issued an apology:
“We agree that the talent behind the content on Max deserve their work to be properly recognized. We will correct the credits, which were altered due to an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max, and we apologize for this mistake.”
Was it a technical mistake, though? This tweet begs to differ:
If true, the goal here is simple: Everything. Is. Just. Content.
Value-less, interchangeable, disposable content.
It’s okay if the corporate folks want to call it that.
But, artists. It’s already tough out there. Let’s not pave the way to our own demise. Be proud of your work. Stop calling it content.
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