Media is everywhere. It’s becoming overwhelming. The number of books, music, & movies released is like a tidal wave of content. It’s no longer possible to be a generalist, you have to specialize and even then, you probably aren’t scratching the surface of what’s available.
The 10 Year Change in Media
To my point, here are some quick numbers on how media has grown in the past 10 years:
2012: 15 million
In 2010, there were only 130 million books in existence (in the entire history of mankind). 2012 increased that total amount by almost 12% in a single year. That’s over a 500% increase in 12 months. By 2016, we will have doubled the number of all books in existence. There are some cool stats on this blog to back up these numbers as well as Wikipedia.
Movies & Music are experiencing similar trends.
As my brother put it:
“We are being entertained to death.”
Easier Access, More Content
With all of this content, it’s hard to decide what to watch, listen to, or read. With the popularity of video streaming services like Netflix, more people are “binge” watching an entire TV Series in a couple of weeks instead of watching along with the show over a several year period.
Free music streaming services like Pandora & Spotify allow a virtually limitless amount of music consumption. Gone are the days of buying an album and listening to it over and over, knowing each song, experiencing the record as the artist intended. Now we look for quick-hit three minute songs with a catchy hook or a favorite beat. Most wouldn’t recognize an album cover from their favorite song if they saw it.
The popularity of free eBooks and Amazon’s one-click purchase process make getting books easier than ever. It’s now common to download so many eBooks that there is literally no way to read them all. We jump between different stories, rarely finishing anything, having a bookmark around a third of the way through a stack of books without ever finding time to get back to it.
I’m painting a concerning picture of the current media landscape but it really is exciting to have all of this content. It’s more specialized and much is higher quality (a necessity in a sea of media this large). We have more options than ever before.
What Am I Putting Back Into the System?
But the question worth asking is: what’s your rate of consumption compared to creation? Are you a full time consumer? When was the last time you created something and put it out in the world? Are you utilizing your talents to benefit others or are you selfishly hiding them from the world?
My goal is to spend at least 10% of my time creating. I love movies. I adore books. I’m obsessed with music. I’m okay with TV (there are a few gems). But I make a point to put in time daily to create. I focus on building my talents. I’m trying to offset my consuming with as much creation as possible.
Each year, I have a big creative goal. Two years ago, it was writing and filming the Sci-Fi short film Marooned. This year I’m writing my first book Tales of the Macabre West. I’ve already got big plans for next year.
Don’t feel like you have anything to share? Start practicing and get better at something that interests you. Talent is 90% work & practice. Why create? All I can tell you is I get exponentially more out of creating than I do consuming. Creating is where the real magic happens.