Maestros of the Attention Economy
Could it be that artists -- those struggling musicians, actors, dancers, sculptors, grafitti artists and painters who move to New York or Los Angeles to get their big break -- will be the big winners in the rising "attention economy?" I'm tempted to think so after reading The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art & Music Drive New York City. It is tough to create a formal analysis of something as ephemeral as "creative culture," but that's precisely what USC Professor Elizabeth Currid has done in her new book. As one might suspect, she built her analysis on the shoulders of previous scholars also eager to explain the importance and the dynamics of "businesses of taste," where quality is, for the most part, radically subjective, and where "products" don't necessarily have to perform any function (though fashion is an odd hybrid, because it's considered too functional to deserve copyright protection ). No doubt most people recognize that these unnecessary aesthetic objects are worth something, they have monetary value, and most people would be willing to say that value is deserved - whether we're talking about the performance of a song or a piece of sculpture. But the economy within which the value of those objects is determined is exceedingly mysterious.