The latest New York Times Magazine published an article “The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t,” wherein Steven Johnson used EMSI data to help bust the myth that “the digital economy creates a king of structural impossibility that art will make money in the future.”
Johnson turned first to the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) in order to answer the question: “How is today’s creative class faring compared with its predecessor a decade and a half ago?” (By “creative class,” he is referring to the world of music, television, movies, and books.) The OES is EMSI’s primary source for occupational data and is, as Johnson says, “the closest data set we have to a bird’s-eye view of the culture industry.” But where the OES fails is where Johnson turned to EMSI to build his case that “against all odds, the voices of the artists seem to be louder than ever.”
The following is an excerpt from the article:
The problem with the OES data is that it doesn’t track self-employed workers, who are obviously a large part of the world of creative production. For that section of the culture industry, the best data sources [include] a firm called Economic Modeling Specialists International, which tracks detailed job numbers for self-employed people in specific professions.
If anything, the numbers from the self-employed world are even more promising. From 2002 to 2012, the number of businesses that identify as or employ “independent artists, writers, and performers” (which also includes some athletes) grew by almost 40 percent, while the total revenue generated by this group grew by 60 percent, far exceeding the rate of inflation.
Johnson concludes that, if anything, the economic and technological trends “are making creative livelihoods more achievable.”
Read the full article here.