And you thought superstar musicians were the only ones ditching their labels? Turns out that this is a far bigger phenomenon that affects a far broader collection of media industries. Like, pornography, where you can simply replace ‘label’ with ‘studio’ or ‘middleman’ and you’ll start to see some interesting similarities.
There isn’t an exodus in adult, yet, but the simple fact is this: the superstars that porn studios create are also busy creating their own, independent empires that are powered by direct-to-fan platforms. Which is exactly the business problem faced by major recording labels: Twitter and Instagram accounts ultimately belong to the star, not the studio, and the business-savvy musician (or, actress) can eventually start exploiting a powerful, direct-to-fan channel.
A big example is Stoya, a sort of alt-porn superstar that recently left Digital Playground and is now directing and self-releasing her own films (sound familiar?) Others seem to be sticking around the studio circuit, but are ditching their agents to take a bigger cut. “I’ve got an established name, and I’ve been doing this a long time,” Jesse Jane (pictured above) told CNBC recently. “I know the studios. And I know how this industry works. And, luckily, I’m a businesswoman already.”
Jane has more than a quarter million Twitter followers, more than 2.5 million Facebook likes, and nearly 115,000 Instagram followers, which is part of the reason she’s got as much leverage as she does cleavage. The move to ‘indie porn star’ isn’t happening on a widespread scale, yet, though just like the music industry ten year ago, a few superstars are all that’s needed to spark the trend.
But the adult film industry has always been a groundbreaking, tech-friendly, and totally innovative industry, right? Not exactly: take a closer look, and this is an industry struggling with uncontrollable piracy as well. And unlike Hollywood and the music industry, there aren’t well-developed platforms like Netflix, Spotify, or even iTunes.
Which might explain why DVD sales are becoming a smaller and smaller piece of the pie for adult performers, just like recordings are becoming for musicians. “This industry isn’t about shooting films anymore,” actress Teal Conrad said in the same piece. “I only shoot two to three times a month, if that.
“Now the business is about being really personal.”
Written while listening to Pusha T on Beats.