jace clayton on artists and media metabolism

jace clayton made a really interesting point on his interview on the longform podcast. to paraphrase…

“all artists want exposure. one way to get exposure is to partner with brands (big or small). that said, the way an artist partners with a brand is tricky. the brand will definitely put the artist in the spotlight of their brand audience. but then the artist has to play a new game of being really careful with how they are metabolized by the media. as we all know, nowadays, the media cycles are shorter and shorter and people get consuming and thrown out just as quickly as you can blink. it’s really easy to get big, lose control of your narrative because of who (brands) you’re associated with, and then be tossed to the wayside when your particular narrative is no longer en vogue.”

i’d never thought about this in the music world, but it makes a ton of sense. i can’t remember if i’ve heard of this before but the concept of ‘media metabolism’ is really intriguing. it seems like the bigger you are as an artist, the harder it is to control the pace that the media metabolizes you.

jace makes the point that it’s really important to him to have control over his work because it lets him control his image. he says for artists, how you’re presented and consumed by the media establish is another part of your artist practice. it’s like a dance; balancing your own control with exposure. what makes it even trickier is that if you want to be a professional musician, you need exposure to make money.

now that i think about it, clayton’s thoughts parallel my own on startup sellouts.


ps - i think it would be cool for someone to build a tool that visualized the metabolic rate of artists. it would track how “big” an artist is (maybe billboard numbers or number of mentions on the internet over time?), who they partner with, and how those things are related. does partnering with huge brands make you burn up quickly or not necessarily? does partnering with lots of small brands over time give you better staying power than partnering with big brands? what makes an artist about to partner with big brands and still stay relevant?

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14:22 5:08