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Yes, but. Louis CK and Radiohead were made famous by big corporate gatekeepers before they started eliminating middlemen. We have yet to see how and if that works on a large scale and at the non-superstar level, especially in cultural realms outside pop music and comedy. Let's talk in 10 years.
5. Is there a paradigm shift here? Or is digital technology just a faster and better way for artists to make a living the same way they've been doing for centuries (patronage, hustling the art, advertising, etc.)? Are we made too easily breathless by this or that new platform?
Probably both a paradigm shift and a reversion to the old ways. We are definitely not in the 20th century anymore. It is, in its way, a real-life steampunk phenomenon: pre-modern patronage and hard-selling and hustling but now equipped with futuristic tools.