Our Woke Decadent Culture Can't Create Anything New

Call this another of a myriad of data points that forms a map of a decadent culture.

I had a hunch that old songs were taking over music streaming platforms—but even I was shocked when I saw the most recent numbers. According to MRC Data, old songs now represent 70% of the US music market... 

The new music market is actually shrinking. All the growth in the market is coming from old songs.

Just consider these facts: the 200 most popular tracks now account for less than 5% of total streams. It was twice that rate just three years ago. And the mix of songs actually purchased by consumers is even more tilted to older music

It's not just music. Much of Hollywood, television and movies (and with the dominance of streaming, the difference between the two is becoming less and less) is just about recycling existing intellectual properties, often by using wokeness to make it seem new, remaking a classic series like The Wonder Years with a black cast, but that does little to disguise the underlying creative bankruptcies. 

Novels? Poetry? Art? Please.

The decadent woke culture has become all but incapable of creating anything new. It recycles the old in various forms, either taking the form or the style, endlessly readapting it like a parasitic culture of junkmen who layer irony over the fact that they can't actually create.

The industry standards of strip mining intellectual property have done a lot to disguise the underlying creative bankruptcy, but it's much harder to disguise creative bankruptcy in music. Our music industry, like most music industries, has reduced its shrinking set of genres to a pop science, yet is incapable of producing anything that lasts past a few years. It has plenty of personalities, but no soul.

There's been plenty of bad music in the past, but this isn't a question of bad or good. 

Contemporary American culture could scale the heights from deeply moving to outrageous and shocking by harnessing a creative spark. Now our culture industries look like a Third World enterprise with First World money. There's lots of resources, but no talent or vision. And so it doesn't really connect with audiences. 

So much of our creativity came from a philosophical vitality. Even at our most broken, we had the freedom to experiment and the confidence that there were amazing things out there. All that's left now in the culture industries is a thin layer of hollow European narcissism over a dark undercurrent of despair. Not a grand despair, but a morose sense of decline and futility. 

You can throw money at culture industries, but no amount of cash will buy confidence and vitality. No amount of money can create a culture.

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