John Mayer And The Search For Content

“I hope you like it… it took me 90 minutes to make it.” That’s John Mayer’s pitch for the “New Light” video, which he teased on Instagram the day beforehand with endless discussions on “content”.

As usual, John’s on to something. We live in the era of “content” rather than “creation”. Creation takes time, but the Internet isn’t hungry for creation. It’s hungry for content, which is ephemeral by nature and by design. It takes a while to interact with creation, but content is the equivalent of the Burger King Mac N’ Cheetos. You consume it, perhaps glancing at an advertisement as you do so, then you move on.

This didn’t happen by accident. This situation was created by reasonably smart people who had some reasonably smart ideas regarding creation versus aggregation. For a meandering and fairly spergy but still perceptive insight into the gap between creation and aggregation, take a look at this article about the never-ending battle between Yelp and Google. Yelp was designed to take advantage of Google Search, but in doing so they made themselves hideously vulnerable to Google’s every whim. Furthermore, they serve as a living example of “the commoditization of content” in favor of aggregation.

John Mayer doesn’t need Google. He has a built-in fan base who pay attention to his every move, even when that move is eating hot wings while wearing a $75,000 watch. You can look at this video as an example of authentically aristocratic disdain for “content pushers”, or you can see it as his wink and nod to an aging fanbase. Hell, it might just be a chance for him to show off some rare and expensive pieces of Japanese street style. I don’t know. The rest of us out there aren’t so lucky. We need to keep generating content the way a child needs to tread water once he’s too far off shore to come home — and for the same reason.

10 Replies to “John Mayer And The Search For Content”

  1. AvatarSpud Boy

    I like John Mayer. He came to prominence in Atlanta, where I used to live, in a small music venue called “Eddies Attic.”

    He’s much better than, say, Bob Dylan.

    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      Mayer is an exceptionally talented guitar player and serious musician. He’s undoubtedly a better guitarist than Bob Dylan (though Dylan’s actually a pretty decent finger picker on the acoustic). How many John Mayer songs, though, have been recorded by other artists?

  2. AvatarJohn C.

    Is it just me or does it sound a lot like something from Elton John or Paul McCartney circa 1985. A maturing rich guy who has no idea what to do now. Maybe Rick Rubin would have an idea for him, albeit not a good one.

    I would not be so quick to poo-poo the creation of lots of content. Think of the glory years of the above, the content really was arriving fast and furious.

    The question is will someone have the courage to just cut off Google/Facebook/Ali babba and hire a marketing team to sell and create ads that will actually reward properly. SEO is pretty clearly snakeoil. I want my Don Draper!

  3. AvatarRobert Patton

    BTW, it is interesting to watch this blog grow by the day.

    Blogsters, Goobtubers and Faceboogers take note and learn from Jack. A tip of the hat to you!


  4. AvatarDaniel J

    I’m not a fan of John Mayer’s music. Just not my cup of tea.

    I blame mp3 players for the start of content over creation. It starts as content over quality when consumers were happy with cramming as many 128kbps mp3s on a device.

  5. AvatarJustPassinThru

    Interesting. I never heard of the guy.

    And looking at his vid, I took it for a 30-ish aging hipster. Surprises me that he’s 40.

    And that he’s now living in Bozeman, about a hundred miles from me.

    I don’t know what to say about his intro to his vid. I always thought that about that much thought went into pop-music productions…anyone remember “Fly, Robin, Fly” in the mid-1970s? But, admitting what everyone behind the curtain knows, and most observers suspect…it may well work out to be about like killing Santa Claus.


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