We hear it all the time: the entertainment industry legacy players insist that the world is ending, jobs are going away, and that they need new laws like SOPA and PIPA or it's all over. That's why SOPA & PIPA are being positioned as jobs bills. Especially popular are the major labels and the big Hollywood studios insisting that they're really
doing this not to save their
own companies from having to adapt, but to protect the poor, poor indie creator
, who is totally being destroyed by those evil online pirates. We hear time and time again about how it's really the "indie" folks who are being decimated.
Funny thing: reality says otherwise.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has some pretty nice tools
and a neat table
of jobs in various industry sectors in 1998, 2008 and then projected in 2018. Let's take a look at the entertainment industry, shall we?
, that does show that the industry grew nicely from 1998 to 2008... all the while we were being told it was being decimated by piracy and no one could find work any more. Oh, and check out that last line. Independent
artists, writers and performers jumped from 35.2k in 1998 to 50.4k in 2008 -- the first decade of real mainstream internet infringement (Napster arrived in '99). If you're not quick with the percentages, that's a pretty astounding 43.2% growth rate
. And, it appears the BLS continues to think that jobs in that sector are going to grow over the next decade as well. Damn those pesky facts
Of course, for those of us who have been following/reporting on this for pretty much all of that time, this isn't surprising at all. What we've seen is an explosion in opportunities
for independent artists. Before all of this happened, it was much more difficult to be an indie artist, because the major labels and studios really were the gatekeepers. It was almost impossible to succeed without them. These days, however, it's become a choice, and there are so many ways to succeed that don't require the majors. It's no wonder that many more people are making a living as an indie artist than ever before.