Alebron asks

He is a loyal MR reader:

The combination of powerful smartphones and social internet sites has given rise to an interesting phenomenon at concerts: people spend a massive chunk of the time at concerts documenting their concert-going. Is technology like this making meta-experience more important to people than experience? Is an experience that you can’t document/signal less valuable? Is this a new phenomenon?

Arguably the meta-experience was always more important, we just produce the meta-experience more efficiently these days.  The very best cultural experiences are thus more leveraged in the direction of potent final output, and thus they sell for higher prices.  On top of that is a sector of really cheap stuff, mostly illusory in nature.  Imagine someone who reads every day and fancies himself a follower of the NBA, without hardly seeing a game or spending money on the sport.  There is a polarization of cultural prices and experiences, and hollowing out of the middle.  If your output isn’t spectacular or culturally central, it will be hard to cover your fixed costs and you will have to go niche and super-cheap.

That’s what I think we are seeing.  Overall it is good for consumers, bad for Platonists.


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