Internet Killed the Porn Star

by on June 7, 2012 at 7:25 am in Economics, Film | Permalink

Free porn is killing the professional industry reports Louis Theroux in the Guardian.

Fees for scenes, not surprisingly, have taken a hit. “Some girls get $600 [£390] for a scene now,” the retired performer JJ Michaels tells me. “It might be $900-$1,000 for a big-name girl. It used to get up to $3,000.” For guys, rates can be $150 or lower [25 cents for every dollar a woman earns, AT]

Musicians have adjusted to declining music sales by increasing the number of live shows and porn stars are doing something similar:

It’s an open secret in the porn world that many female performers are supplementing their income by “hooking on the side”…For many female performers nowadays, the movies are merely a sideline, a kind of advertising for their real business of prostitution.

Many porn stars are now ZMP workers says Theroux:

“The way it is now, within five years I don’t see how there could be a professional porn actor,” Michaels tells me. It’s not easy to sympathise with the porn companies, which made so much money for so long by embracing a tawdry business and a dysfunctional work-pool. But it is worth sparing a thought for the legions of performers, qualified for nothing much more than having sex on camera, who have no money saved, and no future.

A pay what you want model worked for Radiohead but will probably not work for porn:

…it is difficult to see how a business selling hardcore movies and even internet clips is sustainable when most people simply don’t want to pay if they don’t have to. To many people, when it comes to porn, not paying for content seems the more moral thing to do.

asdf June 7, 2012 at 7:35 am

Was just watching Boogie Nights the other day.

Thoughtful June 7, 2012 at 8:34 am

“To many people, when it comes to porn, not paying for content seems the more moral thing to do.”

Now that is just hypocritical.

I think we have arrived at post-scarcity in porn, maybe except for niche fetishes. This is not a bad thing, it’s free porn for everyone. Yes, it’s bad for otherwise unqualified performers, but that’s like saying an innovation that can generate free housing would be bad for the world, because it would ruin the real estate market. Abundance is abundance. If necessary, we need some redistribution and reliable social security networks.

And did most of these professionals really plan to make a living in porn until age 60?

ALIVE and JAMMING June 7, 2012 at 9:04 am

+1

Tony June 7, 2012 at 9:42 am

Hey, some of those niche fetishes START making money at age 60. My personal favorite is hobofoot.com . Which I am happy to admit I paid for… Markets in everything, as they say.

I mention this just to illustrate that while the porn industry is indeed dominated by young women, the niche market is still there, it violates all the assumptions of the mainstream market, and for that reason it might end up being more profitable in the long run. For those of us with narrow and peculiar tastes, just finding the good stuff takes a lot of work!

lords of lies June 7, 2012 at 11:14 am

most female porn stars are pushed out of the biz by their mid 20s. men’s revealed preference is for late teens to early 20s starlets.

Voodude June 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm

This comment is spot-on.

I’ve worked as the CTO for one of the largest porn sites on the internet. The dramatic change in porn economics comes not from piracy but from the tube sites. Most tube sites are not serving pirated content – in fact, producers are jumping over each other to upload their own clips to these sites (and sometimes paying to get higher billing) because it’s an effective form of advertising. Of course, this ready availability of large quantities of free content does cannibalize a big part of the market. There’s a prisoner’s dilema effect here – you benefit by releasing just enough content to attract buyers, and are penalized if you release no content at all (and thus nobody sees your content). However, the sheer quantity of content means that buyers can be fully satisfied without actually buying anything.

Porn economics has always been a little weird – for instance, affiliate programs often pay out more than 50% of the lifetime value of a customer. They will often pay out *more* than the initial subscription fee for a site (ie, pay $50 for a $25/mo subscription) not knowing if the customer will stay for more than a single month. It just has to work out on average, but fraud prevention requires constant effort.

superdestroyer June 7, 2012 at 8:46 am

In the 1990′s US News had a feature article about how porn had always benefited from being early adopters of new technology since porn consumers would pay a premium price that made adopting new technology easier. Porn sites were some of the first sites that figured out how to make money on the internet. However, technology and consumer habits have not made it virtually impossible to make money in porn and porn gets to advantage from technology.

Michael June 7, 2012 at 10:29 am

I would push that further and say not simply that porn benefited from being early adopters, but was actually the fundamental market that supported new technologies during those early precarious days. It’s been a crucial part of the life-cycle of many technologies. In general, any new technology that allows porn to be consumed more easily and more privately is likely to do well.

Video tapes not only allowed producers to make it more cheaply, but allowed viewers to watch privately from home with ease. The internet, compressed picture files (like jpegs), were also about how to easily view good quality dirty things from home. DVD’s were about clearer pictures of these dirty acts. Heck, even some of the advances in how to pay for things online with credit cards were initially heavily supported by their ability to make it easier to consume porn. I’d wager it probably played a key role in the adoption of broadband and the technology behind streaming video as well. Heck, the internet itself owes a lot to porn. There’s a reason why adult sites aren’t listed when people announce the most-visited sites on the web. They dwarf everything else.

If you’re wondering whether or not a new technology will succeed, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is, “does this make porn easier, cheaper, more private, or higher quality?” If the answer is yes, that bodes well for that technology.

Of course, now that the industry is way less profitable, that may change. This may be a bad thing in terms of the innovation and adoption of new technology.

Finch June 7, 2012 at 10:40 am

The article suggests it’s harder to monetize this latest round of technology, but I suspect it’s just made it harder to measure the monetization occurring. Have things become more peer-to-peer, with custom or semi-custom performances for your particular niche taste replacing big-dollar production targeted at the median consumer? Aren’t there a lot more of the former producer type than the latter? Hasn’t the former grown a lot in recent years?

careless June 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Or consider the ad revenue from the sites that do nothing but provide pirated material. Doesn’t help the producers and actors, though.

Anthony June 7, 2012 at 11:48 am

If you’re wondering whether or not a new technology will succeed, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is, “does this make porn easier, cheaper, more private, or higher quality?”

Facebook?

Richard Gadsden June 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Facebook hit the other end of the same game: it made it easier to get laid.

Paavo June 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm

The fact that porn made the internet was explicitly and authoritatively stated to me by a teacher at University of Helsinki Introduction to Computer science class.

Now of, course, one must ask, is something learned in University more reliable than a blog comment. I don’t see that many reasons to think so. What good is university then. Absolutely nothing. oh yeah.

Clint Bookman June 7, 2012 at 9:06 am

What a sad article.

Andreas Moser June 7, 2012 at 9:20 am

You have reminded me that I haven’t watched any porn in a long time.
Off I go…

mrmandias June 7, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Shame.

dentia June 8, 2012 at 6:18 am

Creepy.

Daniel Kuehn June 7, 2012 at 9:23 am

Do you think the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will ever be used to close some of that gender disparity in earnings.

On a (somewhat) more serious note (serious in the sense that it’s a legitimate scientific question), I wonder what dominates the pay differential: compensating differentials or marginal productivity.

My prior is that men would require less compensating differentials than women in the porn industry, although perhaps that’s not true. But a marginally more talented woman probably brings in more money than a marginally more talented man.

jmo June 7, 2012 at 10:03 am

My prior is that men would require less compensating differentials than women in the porn industry,

Differentials? I’m surprised men in porn get paid at all.

Anthony June 7, 2012 at 11:51 am

In fact, some men pay to be in porn. There is a small segment of the business where men pay to be filmed having sex with porn actresses. (Notice that they’re paying to be filmed by a professional crew, not for having sex with the actress; otherwise that would be prostitution, which is illegal in California, where most of this happens.)

I don’t know more details, and can’t really look them up at work. But the business exists.

Peter June 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Yep what Anthony said. You pay your male models because, even if they want to be here, it’s considered prostitution otherwise.

Which actually goes back to my porn non-paying thoughts which basically goes “Why would I buy porn when I can just go buy sex or sex viewing?”. Legality asside (speeding is illegal also) I’ve never understood this one. Not going to get into the buying porn v. buying sex argumetn (yes I understand there is a big divide beween observing and doing, i.e. you might like to watch action movies, doesn’t mean you want to kill somebody or the whole pedophile v. pederest debate) but why pay to watch somebody have sex on video when you could pay to watch people have sex in front of you (other than convience I guess). To me it just seems like a recap of the whole CD/MP3 v. live concert debate in that I think folk have come to realize the money is in the live performances with the CD/MP3′s functional as supplemental income/free advertising.

Chuck Ross June 7, 2012 at 10:55 am

I’ve always heard that men in gay porn get paid the most out of any type of porn star. That could support the compensating differentials claim. While I think it’s strange to think of a porn star’s work in terms of marginal productivity, female stars are more productive in one sense than are male stars. Male stars in hetero porn are commodities and paid for their reliability i.e. just for showing up and maintaining an erection. Female stars are paid for the flash and for drawing viewers.

Henry June 7, 2012 at 11:53 am

But also, female careers last only a few years even for top performers, viewers get tired of them. Male top performers have been at it for decades, nobody gets tired of them because no one is paying any attention to them.

Willitts June 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Gender pay differences between men and women are largely explained by factors other than gender, and what little variation that remains unexplained is like due to bargaining willingness and ability. If anything, the affirmative action and niche boost that women get give them a wage premium and an expectation discount.

That doesn’t even address the unrecognized transfer payments from men to women in the course of dating and marriage or the divorce premium.

The “glass ceiling” is a vestigual utterance of people who benefit from playing the victim.

Silas Barta June 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Whoa whoa whoa, lefty, hold on there. Why *aren’t* you serious about wanting equal pay laws to be applied to the porn industry? What *exactly* is wrong about applying the principle to its (il)logical conclusion?

Miley Cyrax June 7, 2012 at 9:25 am

Rampant female obesity lessens the supply of thin, attractive girls, while the ubiquity of internet porn mitigates the overall male sexual dependency on women in general.

This results in growing inequality for women–attrractive girls are
in demand more than ever, while average girls command less male attention than before. Why isn’t OWS protesting the female X%?

Mabuse June 7, 2012 at 9:35 am

As a man with a penchant for larger ladies, I have to say that at least half of your equation is off for a larger percentage of the male population than you might think.

PS. I don’t know how it is for other fetishes, but FA (Fat Admiration) porn is still predominantly paid-for, and most FA porn actresses distribute through self-owned websites.

lords of lies June 7, 2012 at 10:35 am

the vast majority™ of men prefer women in the BMi range of 17-23, and a waste-hip ratio of 0.7. study after study has demonstrated this. stepping outside the house to observe the kinds of women men lust after also demonstrates this fact. miley cyrax is correct. female obesity skews the functioning of the dating market far in excess (heh) of what marginal shifts in the sex ratio would skew it. porn simply reminds men how sexy women can be when they don’t bloat into walmartians.

Mabuse June 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm

And I’m prepared to believe you, as soon as you link to any of these studies after studies…

ad*m June 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm

It is time you become aware of the literature. A good aggregation site for this type of information would be Heartiste/Roissy or Athol’s married man sex life. Here are some studies which show this across countries, races and ages. It always comes back to ~0.7 in modern societies

doi=10.1037/0022-3514.65.2.293
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0162309595000747
doi=10.1111/j.1473-2165.2006.00249.x
doi=10.1002/ajhb.20584

good older review in http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886900000398, which also shows that in forager societies, preferred WHR goes up.

Tom West June 7, 2012 at 9:38 am

But it is worth sparing a thought for the legions of performers, qualified for nothing much more than having sex on camera, who have no money saved, and no future.

Not knowing anything about the industry, I suspect that there’s a very rapid turnover. The current performers will probably not have their working career shaved by more than a year or two anyway. On the other hand, the collapse may save the next “legion” of would-be performers from making a career choice that is (I expect) usually somewhat catastrophic in the long term.

Of course, this entire thing could be cyclical anyway. If the industry collapses, where is all this free (or more often, stolen) porn going to come from, anyway?

Fred Fredburger June 7, 2012 at 10:23 am

> The current performers will probably not have their working career shaved

Oh come on!

careless June 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Peter-bait?

Hasdrubal June 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm

>>Of course, this entire thing could be cyclical anyway. If the industry collapses, where is all this free (or more often, stolen) porn going to come from, anyway?

Amateurs who tape themselves having sex and post it on the Internet for free, which is what has been driving down the prices and wages of porn for quite some time now. It’s what killed the feature length, “high” production quality porn movie. It’s what has driven so much professional porn to use intentionally lower production values and pass itself off as amateur.

I haven’t read this article yet, since I’m at work, but previous similar articles have been about how the democratization of porn is killing the professional industry. It’s the real life example of what people hope self publishing in music and writing can do, though I imagine the talent required of successful porn acting is much lower (and more quickly determined and consumed) than for reading or even music.

Doc Merlin June 8, 2012 at 12:57 am

Yes, the future will be people creating a free product for their own enjoyment, then distributing it for free.

Padraic June 7, 2012 at 9:42 am

Did the “pay what you want” model actually work for Radiohead given that they didn’t use for their subsequent album?

Andrew' June 7, 2012 at 9:45 am

Radiohead might work for the ladies, but guys are visually stimulated.

Anon June 7, 2012 at 10:24 am

As more STD’s are cured and the social stigma goes away, this will likely become a widely-accepted thing — basically, courtesans for office cubicle kings.

The irony is that this will likely require a more elevated skillset than what most current porn stars have: the ability make interesting conversation, figuring out a client’s kinks, etc. At least this is the skillset needed to attract big dollars and make it viable, non-degrading career. Long term, I see this industry being dominated less by Platinum-blonde porn stars and more by low-level secretary types displaced by automation and lack of other job opportunities.

Hey, it beats retail…

Petar June 7, 2012 at 10:35 am

Yeah, right, let’s all have jobs that degrade what little dignity we have left so that we keep in place a technologically obsolete market system of resource distribution in order to… what exactly?

msgkings June 7, 2012 at 11:27 am

I dunno, Petar, maybe in order to free up time to mass murder those who infringe on our ‘interests’?

You fucking psycho.

Andrew' June 7, 2012 at 11:37 am

Choice has been technologically superceded? I missed that paper.

Petar June 7, 2012 at 11:39 am

I like it when people use ad hominem to link discussions without any tangible points.

msgkings June 7, 2012 at 11:50 am

I like it when anonymous internet idiots praise mass murdering Nazis.

Petar June 7, 2012 at 11:53 am

And I like it more when egalitarian cultural Marxists go nuts. Good luck with your anger issues.

msgkings June 7, 2012 at 11:57 am

I just murder people that make me angry, I’m good thanks.

MD June 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm

My grandfather knew what to do with Nazis. (Hint: It involved B-17s.)

Petar June 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm

And I am sure Nazis knew what to do with your grandfather too, which is all good, great and largely irrelevant.

MD June 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Not as irrelevant as your sad, little, hate-filled life and your empty, dead-end ideology. If you ever want to rejoin humanity, let us know.

msgkings June 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I’m thinking this guy might be Poe’s Law in action. No one is this loony for real, right?

Hoisted by his own Petar indeed.

Petar June 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Oh, yes, it is looney to make rational observations based on, you know, tangible evolutionary interests modeled via game theory, but it is not looney to make stupid emotional rants.

Anyway, thank you for providing me with high quality entertainment throughout my workday, good luck with your OCDs, making it impossible for you to not foam at the mouth when someone is diametrically oppoing you politically and I hope mods clean this up.

msgkings June 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Nah, it’s just loony to be you.

Bye now. Back to that sad insignificant thing you call your life.

The Anti-Gnostic June 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm

STD’s are becoming antibiotic-resistant. And antiretrovirals, suffice to say, don’t make you sexy.

It’s almost like norms about sexual behavior have this biological basis or something.

Doc Merlin June 8, 2012 at 12:58 am

+1

lords of lies June 7, 2012 at 10:56 am

But it is worth sparing a thought for the legions of performers, qualified for nothing much more than having sex on camera, who have no money saved, and no future.

it makes good business sense to encourage your daughter — if she is hot and slender and none too bright — to maximize her earning power when she is young by leveraging her body on screen or on the pole. from there, it should be your job as a conscientious parent to help her avoid the low-IQ trap of short term horizon thinking and invest her profits in an index fund for her, instead of leaving her to spend it recklessly on baubles and drugs. the male demand for sex and simulacra of sex is, as the economists say, inelastic, absent total war.

msgkings June 7, 2012 at 11:33 am

Well yeah, it can be very lucrative to pimp out your family. Why stop with the daughters? You can surely get tons of cheddar from rich old queers letting them have at your teenaged sons too.

lords of lies June 7, 2012 at 11:48 am

there is a difference in kind between the psychological and physical sensation and feedback that a straight man would feel getting rogered by gay men and a straight woman would feel having sex with straight men. you sound like one of those anti-sex feminist dweebs who like to draw false equivalencies between having anal sex with attractive women and anal sex with men, as if the body attached to each anus was perfectly interchangeable.

all this talk kinda reminds me of something… oh yeah! close the borders.

msgkings June 7, 2012 at 11:57 am

Nah, I ain’t thinking about all that. I’m just seeing more ways to make bank! Why do you think I had so many kids?

You seem pretty, uh, focused on anal sex though, I didn’t even mention it. Do all gay dudes like you not use capital letters?

lords of lies June 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm

you tell me.

msgkings June 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Fail. I win this round.

dirk June 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm

all this talk kinda reminds me of something… Rimbaud’s poem: “Our Assholes Are Different From Theirs”

mrmandias June 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm

That approach is an evolutionary dead-end.

lords of lies June 7, 2012 at 9:36 pm

true. that’s why i specified “business sense”. for a brief spell, i was thinking like a libertardian.

o. nate June 7, 2012 at 11:35 am

I think more people would be willing to pay for Internet porn if there was a safe, secure and anonymous way to do so. Most guys I think dread the possibility of having to explain a suspicious charge on their credit card statement to their wife or girlfriend. Someone needs to invent a convenient and anonymous way to convert cash to internet credits.

j r June 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm

If you have a girlfriend that inspects your credit card, you have more problems than how to pay for pron.

o. nate June 7, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Ha – good point.

NAME REDACTED June 8, 2012 at 12:59 am

bitcoin

Mark Thorson June 7, 2012 at 11:52 am

o. nate, they already did. It’s called BitCoin. Also works for buying drugs.

BBobC June 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I think their reporting of the pay scale is wrong. Male actors can earn up to $1500 a scene, doing 20-25 scenes a month. Straight from the mouth of one of the most famous.

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/t71tq/penis_insured_for_a_million_dollars_check_shot/c4k3n5f

The top females (of which there are more) surely earn more.

Willitts June 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Remember Girls Gone Wild?

It amazed me how two guys with a camera could so easily get college girls to pose and act for them for a T-SHIRT. I’ll bet the “girl next door” market survives beyond the “professionals.”

I almost ordered a set of GGW videos out of morbid curiosity rather than interest, but then I heard once you order one set they automatically send you more and make it difficult to cancel.

I’ve never understood the allure of porn. It really doesn’t excite me and I probably wouldn’t watch it for free. My hot blonde Lithuanian wife excites me.

Urso June 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Yep, the real story is how the average reservation wage for taking one’s clothes off has cratered in the last 50 years or so.

Saturos June 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm

How do you know it’s cratered? Perhaps it’s just become easier to match jobs with workers.

Urso June 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I mean, you want a citation for the proposition that America’s attitudes towards sex have loosened since the 1950s? Seems self-evident to me.

There is a substantial segment of the young population who thinks that electronically and publicly disseminating nude or partly nude photos is simply no big deal. And they do so for free, on a lark. I admit I wasn’t around in the fifties, but I’m led to believe that was not the case back then.

Saturos June 7, 2012 at 11:51 pm

I wouldn’t be so sure…
http://www.bakadesuyo.com/yes-even-grandma-had-premarital-sex
I think more would have if they could have, or didn’t have to pay implicit taxes to social mores. I think exhibitionism has a biological basis.

TGGP June 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm

See agnostic’s series at GNXP on societal changes over time.

NAME REDACTED June 8, 2012 at 1:01 am

This is what open source has done to software, but much of open source is tools, so it actually expands the available tech-space instead of just being a consumable.

Morgan Warstler June 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Yet another argument for the legalization of prostitution.

If you vote to legalize it, porn as advertising will have ad revenues in the Billions.

I think most men and women will be able to grasp that personal upside even if they themselves have no use for hookers.

msgkings June 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm

You’d think so, and for drug legalization too. But there’s a lot of cultural weight against stuff like that.

mrmandias June 7, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Because people have kids.

Brett June 10, 2012 at 12:03 am

More that old people – including middle-aged parents – are opposed to drug legalization. Younger parents aren’t much different from the younger generations in general.

Matt June 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm

I think most people will still prefer people having to form relationships or casual hookups to get sex, whores not getting much money (or well, not getting returns commensurate in any way to their skill in advertising via porn) and people spending money on other stuff. To be honest.

Kyle June 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm

The scope of inquiry isn’t wide enough here. MFC is an example of early adoption of new technology and pay-what-you-want pricing. Its (nearly) all the entertainment of an adult entertainment venue with none of the stigma (for patrons or workers). I guarantee some of those women are making as much or more than they would shooting videos or working at a club. The market is still there, much like it is for music and apps, it just became vastly more efficient.

Simon Grey June 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I seem to recall that subscription porn had some serious billing problems early on. It was hard to hide the fact the fact that you were buying porn on your credit card bill, for example. I also recall that cancellation could be extremely difficult in some instances. Plus, porn sites had a reputation for being hosts to a variety of digital viruses, trojans, and other malware, which called site security into question. Plus, there were scam sites. Early on, it wasn’t like porn sites took pains to ensure customer security and anonymity, which is probably why people were so loath to hand them their credit card info.

The other issue porn had/has is price. Buying that stuff is extremely expensive. I tracked down a DVD of some of my favorite stars and the producer was asking $30 for a DVD that had five scenes totaling two hours. I ended up finding the scenes for free, but I would have been willing to pay five dollars for the DVD or instant streaming or a HQ download. I suspect porn producers could make a decent amount of money if they offered teaser scenes at the free sites then sold HQ downloads of the whole scene for a couple bucks. The problem porn producers have is that the acquisition costs of porn are pretty low. However, the quality of most free porn is pretty low as well. So, the most logical action would be to make a superior product easily available. Basically, there needs to be a sort of iTunes for porn videos.

Incidentally, the problem the porn industry faces s similar to what the music industry faces. I think the main problem is that the products are overpriced. It’s not that people aren’t willing to pay for stuff; it’s that people don’t want to pay the asking price for stuff. Dynamic pricing might help, but I doubt it will be implemented. I seem to recall that Amazon tried it some time ago and got into some hot water for it. I wonder if porn could try dynamic pricing, and if that would help, especially if they kept the price of HQ scenes in the $0.99-$5.00 range.

Alternatively, porn producers could try the subsidy model, like television uses. There are plenty of sex products out there; some might want to advertise. Porn could do product placement. Or porn producers could try to get funds on Kickstarter (I kid, of course). Maybe porn’s real issue is that it has a flawed revenue model. Or maybe the issue really is market saturation.

Bender Bending Rodriguez June 8, 2012 at 1:41 am

There’s actually a Kickstarter-esque site for funding adult movies. Producers describe what they’re going to film and fans pay. I’m at work, so there’s no way in hell I’m going to Google it for you.

figleaf June 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm

“But it is worth sparing a thought for the legions of performers, qualified for nothing much more than having sex on camera, who have no money saved, and no future.”

Legions?

Legions who are really qualified for nothing else? Nothing?

Really?

Gee, just like all those employees of buggy whip manufacturers who were qualified for nothing more than making buggy whips, who had no money, and no future when their… well… buggy-whip-manufacturing employers finally succumbed to the advent of the inexpensive automobile.

I…

I mean…

Has this guy spent more than eleven minutes contemplating the porn-employee model prior to the internet? The number who stay in the industry more than a year or two, or who stay past maybe age 25, can be counted on the squares of a checkerboard.

At worst the average post-internet performer would be set back by only a handful of months compared to a pre-internet performer.

There are, however, remarkable numbers of non-performers in industrial porn who are no more prepared for “the future” than were the buggy whip manufacturers of yore. But at no point, in their heyday or since, have any of those sour prudes deserved to have even the most fleeting thought spared for them. But even most of them will quickly find other work after all.

Sheesh!

figleaf

figleaf June 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm

“To many people, when it comes to porn, not paying for content seems the more moral thing to do.”

I would add that, especially now that both stigma and capital barriers to entry are so low, to many other people when it comes to porn not charging for the content they and their sex partners produce and upload also seems like the more moral thing to do.

Because the best thing about ZMP porn is there’s also approximately zero marginal incentive for the coercion, exploitation, and unsafe working conditions which have traditionally been the biggest objections to porn, at least on the progressive side of anti-porn debates.

figleaf

Saturos June 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I deplore people saying ZMP when what they really mean is ZMRP.

I don’t think the music business is going to die out that easily. And if music doesn’t then neither will porn. Perhaps the industry will increasingly have space for only a few star performers – the plethora of titillative crap that coats the Web may die out. But I still haven’t ruled out dramatic structural changes to the Web itself in the coming decades. And also: 3D porn. Haven’t tried it myself, but I hear it’s fantastic.

I think Theroux would be surprised at the kind of human capital these workers manage to accumulate. The big premiums go to interpersonal skills as well as highly technical ones. And I didn’t necessarily mean “interpersonal skills”. In fact, if the foretold porn-gotterdammerung comes it could make an interesting Econ Phd project…

j r June 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm

It’s weird how journalists, or maybe it’s just the editors. like to talk about new forms of things “killing” old forms. If you met someone at 22 and then met them again at 42, you might talk about how he changed, for the better and for the worst, but you probably wouldn’t talk about how the 42 year old John Smith killed the 22 year old version of himself.

The fourth estate is afflicted with this overwhelming desire for nostalgia. As if any, and all, institutional evolution is akin to death.

Hamilton June 7, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I wish you had titled this post “Internet Killed Pornography Stars.” Just so it’d be easier to sing with the original.:-)

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