Without Funding, Canada's Cultural Voice Will Be Lost In Digital Universe

They say the cream rises to the top, but Globe & Mail culture critic Kate Taylor questions whether the trope holds water in today’s digital universe.

The Ministry of Canadian Heritage has finished consulting anyone who wants to express an opinion about its ongoing cultural policy review, and the web page for the report begins with a slide that offers this optimistic comment from one Pollyanna on the Canadian cultural scene, she writes, citing from the doc that “The strongest creators will generate content that stands out and gets noticed. The government can let the audience discover it on its own. If we make it, they will come.”

Continuing, Taylor writes: “Long live the meritocracy. Except if that was ever true in the arts, it is much less so today. Earlier this month, Britain’s The Economist also issued a special report, this one on the new blockbuster economy arguing widespread digital distribution has made culture less democratic, producing an infinite supply of product in which only a very few big brands succeed in getting attention.

“Everyone watches the same 50 titles on Netflix. Does anyone seriously believe that the other several hundred titles are truly inferior? Among other sobering stats, The Economist’s report includes this one: Nielsen figures on the 8.7 million music tracks sold in the United States last year show that 96 percent sold fewer than 100 copies …”

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