Will Artists be able to Make a Living in the Future?
For the first time in world history, more than half the world will be in the middle class. There will be lots of discretionary income for people to buy entertainment that stimulates the brain.
Jonathan Taplin is a Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and Director of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. Taplin’s areas of specialization are in international communication management and the field of digital media entertainment. Taplin began his entertainment career in 1969 as Tour Manager for Bob Dylan and The Band. In 1973 he produced Martin Scorsese’s first feature film, Mean Streets which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival. Between 1974 and 1996, Taplin produced 26 hours of television documentaries (including The Prize and Cadillac Desert for PBS) and 12 feature films including The Last Waltz, Until The End of the World, Under Fire and To Die For. His films were nominated for Oscar and Golden Globe awards and chosen for The Cannes Film Festival five times.
In 1984 Taplin acted as the investment advisor to the Bass Brothers in their successful attempt to save Walt Disney Studios from a corporate raid. This experience brought him to Merrill Lynch, where he served as vice president of media mergers and acquisitions. In this role, he helped re-engineer the media landscape on transactions such as the leveraged buyout of Viacom. Taplin was a founder of Intertainer and has served as its Chairman and CEO since June 1996. Intertainer was the pioneer video-on-demand company for both cable and broadband Internet markets. Taplin holds two patents for video on demand technologies. Professor Taplin has provided consulting services on Broadband technology to the President of Portugal and the Parliament of the Spanish state of Catalonia and the Government of Singapore.
Mr. Taplin graduated from Princeton University. He is a member of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and sits on the International Advisory Board of the Singapore Media Authority and is a fellow at the Center for Public Diplomacy. Mr. Taplin was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Broadband Task Force in January of 2007. He was named one of the 50 most social media savvy professors in America by Online College and one of the 100 American Digerati by Deloitte’s Edge Institute.
Do I feel optimistic about the future of the media and entertainment business? I would answer that I do because I do believe that this notion - that for the first time in world history, more than half the world will be in the middle class - says that there will be lots of discretionary income for people to buy entertainment and enjoy themselves. And that cannot help but be a good thing for artists, which is the ultimate thing.
Can artists earn a living? That's hopefully what makes for new cool stuff, or makes new exciting entertainment that stimulates your brain. And hopefully as long as there is an ecosystem that allows that to happen then good stuff will happen.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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