(W)here’s the Rub?!: A General Guide to Understanding the Creative Industry as The Corporation

In the last few months, we have examined the corporate structure which organizes our creative industry. In the foreseeable conclusion to our course, Ross outlines the ways in which these structures have ascribed purpose, value, and “protections” in our new industry. He explains that the purpose which we understand, organizes and structures ideas with the hope that the shift back into a Fordist model will be smooth. Jokes on us, we never left. He discusses the popularized idea which sees in the organizing of these ideas an then be manufactured to create a big Creative Industry Corporation. 

The terms which are made to be understood at opposing sides of the job industry, are in fact synonymous. In order for the creative industry to be actualized in the way in which we interpret it, a structural shift must occur which relieves it of its corporate expectations. The problem is that the corporate model is so ingrained that even when we attempt to see the creative industry we are reminded of the corporate expectations which measure and determine success. The end goal for both industries is to “do well” but what does that mean? It can’t mean the same thing for both if their structures are different and this is where we learn that they do, and they aren’t.

 

The satisfaction of creating something is not enough without the stability and privilege of being able to sustain a living. It is then that I must assume, the  people  who have this privilege, are the people who are ahead in the creative industry. The only representations of success which we are shown, primarily, above the line workers.

This process makes me think of the show Parenthood. I could problematize much of the show but I want to focus on its relevance to the Creative Industry. The oldest brother of the Braverman clan, Adam is a business manager for a failing shoe company when a young, wealthy, hipster, gamer, type boy buys the company. Adam as a  corporate man,  is greatly opposed to the new creative shift that a “sensible” store is making. A 15 year veteran in the industry, he feels that in shifting away from the corporate business model the, already failing, company will not survive. In a desperate attempt to re-enter the comfortably predictable 9-5 Adam looks elsewhere for a job. Lack of job security guides him back to his “sure thing.” As the company begins to look more like a creative space, Adam is guided out as his business oriented approach to a creative company is out of place for the creative leader now running the company. Looking for a new way to support his family he ironically turns to the creative industry  with his brother opens  a recording studio. He does what his last job did not permit him to do and establishes a business role in the creative company as a Recording Studio Executive alongside his Sound Engineer (read creative worker) brother.

Ross’  Nice Work If You Can Get It, talks about the desire for creatives to move outside of the corporate structure of the industry and find autonomyScammed. It is then as a means of ensuring job security, and secondarily protection for their creative capital. What does that mean? That the free labor which was the original goal of the shift away from the Fordist model among other things, that labor “you determine” “is possible.” The reality is that the  Fordist model allowed for a blueprint of the creative industry to form which did not liberate it from its original structure, merely repositioned it in a palatable way for the creative workers and surreptitiously maintain a new class system within the industry.

It’s undeniable, and looking at the industry today, we know creative workers have been had.This semester we have learned something more valuable than how to position ourselves in the creative industry, namely that the creative industry as we understand it does not exist. Instead the systems and rules which we sought to escape are still in place. The creative labor and positions we desire may still be out there but there is so much work to be done if we are going to gain access to them. We’ve been had, but the Creative Industry, as we know it, has been made. 

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