Musicians complain about “pay to play”, and well they should. Many music sites like Reverb Nation catering to the independent musician have become pay to play — if you want to be seen and heard, you have to pay. FaceBook has algorithms that allow only a small percentage of your posts to have any reach unless you use their boost your post mechanism which is pay to play. All the channels on television which were supposed to be publicly owned were snapped up by large media corporations. Paid Advertising is expensive pay to play through their channels. Getting on the political playing field has always been largely pay to play — those with the most, get selected. Soldiers with promises of signing bonuses and patriotic intent sign up to protect our liberties and our Constitution, unwittingly are paying to play – sometimes with their lives –on the military playing field.
And now that Internet neutrality is being challenged by big corporations who want to own the playing field, it may come to pass that only those with the bucks will get seen and heard.
Pay to play has become a norm on nearly every playing field. It’s not new, but . . .
“When the playing field becomes too tilted, everybody falls off.” (Nik Green). When people train for a skill, they may be intern for awhile but don’t expect to be interns for the rest of their lives. It’s beginning to look like we’re in living in a huge “internment” camp. Matrix anyone?
There is nothing wrong with “paying dues”, working hard, giving one’s all, giving it for passion, but when the system becomes rigged and the uber wealthy are allowed to treat workers as an underclass and don’t pay a living wage, I have a problem. Seth Godin gives an example of cheerleaders who suffer low pay, abuse, just to be seen or heard. Pay to play. At ever strata of our society, people are taking advantage and sometimes abusing other’s talents, time, work and passion in the name of the bottom line or the “team”. Add to that the rising cost of living while wages stagnate, debt enslaves most ordinary folks ,and opportunity must become self made.
So many workers today, in whatever field, owe their “soul to the company store.” In order to change this system, we must be aware of what it is, and why it needs changing. But will awareness or higher consciousness save us? We’re at the precipice of a new feudal age or a bright new planet wide evolution. What path do we choose?
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