Is it all just ads?

So we finally got the Spotify account closed up for good. That means if I ever log into it again they’ll play ads between Florence songs. This isn’t a big deal for me since I have about four copies of each album in various media formats, but I do think it’s fun how people will complain about an ad being stuffed into other media when that media itself is an advertisement.

What’s your favorite podcast? What’s your favorite tv/netflix show? Book, Music, doesn’t matter it’s all the author or creator advertising something to you. Yes, even my own book is advertising. That band you listen to wrote songs with lyrics that represent something they find important and wish to share with you. This does make it a bit harder to separate the art from the artist as many people want to argue is possible – I’m not quite sure that it is. Can you ignore an authors personal convictions if you love their story? Totally, but the connection between them is still there.

How is any of that different than a company trying to sell me toothpaste? I used to complain that comics were 50% full page ads, that you could open an issue and every other page was for pop-tarts. But looking at the actual story content in the comic itself is also trying to sell me something, they want me to keep buying the comic right? They have to create an engaging story that I’ll come back to a month later for the next issue, same way ads on the radio get you to go to McDonalds on your lunch break.

This isn’t a bad thing, btw. If you want anyone to ever consume whatever it is you make it has to motivate the reader/listener to pick it up in the first place – and then return for more. There are easy ones like catchy melodies in songs, or that first chapter hook, second act climax, the cliffhanger ending, some controversial scene or topic that draws people to investigate, you know the drill. But then there are harder ones where you tackle some political or emotional issue within your work that is going to alienate one side of your pool of consumers and rile up the other half. Even talking about your own day to day life in a blog post can do this.

But you just want to create music that you enjoy or write stories that you would want to read – I get that, I do, however once you attempt to publish it online or otherwise you are now making the intent to get other humans to consume it. If you didn’t intend for that to happen you would have just written the words down in a txt doc and left it on your desktop, you would have just played that song alone in your room, you would have recorded the conversation and left it on the tape, played the video game offline, etc. “Just putting it out there.” is advertising yourself.

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