Visions of a Freeman - Brain Age - 22, November of 2016

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November 22, 2016

Just so you can see the Extreme Depravity of The Guardian.
  
   
https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2016/nov/22/pornhub-music-industry-pornography-mykki-blanco-music-videos
Music Music blog

Can porn sites find success in the mainstream music industry?

An adult website’s premiere of rapper Mykki Blanco’s new music video is the latest move by the video service to reposition itself as a one-stop shop for culture

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A slick visual spectacle … Mykki Blanco.
Harriet Gibsone
Tuesday 22 November 2016 14.31 GMT

Pop videos have been pornified for decades, from Duran Duran’s Girls on Film mirroring soft-focus, poodle-perm 80s porn, to the brazen, high-definition modern porn mimicked in Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. Sex, as the music industry knows well, very much sells.

However, a new strand of this symbiosis has sprouted. Instead of the music industry co-opting the risque aesthetics of porn, the adult video industry is impinging on the pop world in a more direct way. Pornhub, a leading website, has made a number of moves in the last two years that suggest it is determined to move beyond the confines of private consumption.

Today, Mykki Blanco, the revered performance artist turned rapper, premiered his latest video, a slick visual spectacle that was produced by the porn site in collaboration with the fashion brand Nicopanda. It follows Pornhub’s string of chequered partnerships with artists ranging from Coolio to Waka Flocka Flame and Xiu Xiu. The website set up its own label, Pornhub Records, in 2014 and has yet to have a real hit – or many releases for that matter. Its ambitions are nonetheless firmly set on reaching the mainstream.

[Video not needed]

For the uninitiated (or those wishing to appear so), Pornhub is a free, hugely popular, ad-supported streaming website, which allows its viewers to upload their own videos. It hosts 3m videos and has more than 60 million visitors a day. Its vast audience is a lure for some artists to get on board with the website alone. That said, it’s unlikely anyone visits Pornhub with the intention of furiously searching the words “hot new coolio track”.

Corey Price, vice president of Pornhub, believes however, that not only does its “unique platform” allow musicians to premiere music to a “diverse audience” but that there is a long-term societal benefit. “When artists premiere videos on our platform, they open up additional avenues through which they garner exposure and visibility,” he says. “However, maybe even more important than that, is that they are now a part of our family, and they become part of the evolving conversation surrounding sexuality and its presence in the mainstream.”

"t’s a bit like going to Glastonbury and spending the whole weekend in your tent watching porn on your iPhone"

Price says Pornhub plans to continue its foray into the industry. “As for an exact plan, we don’t want to divulge our secrets,” he says. But how much success can a porn site really have on the music industry? Visiting the Pornhub Records channel of the site for a quick – honest, Mum! – perusal reveals some confused below-the-line conversation but relatively impressive stats. Seven videos are featured, with an apparent brand obligation that most artists wear Pornhub merchandise (caps, T-shirts) throughout. Coolio’s comeback single Take It to the Hub stood at 929,036 views when I checked. “All music videos should be like this from now on,” exclaims one commenter.

A video by Hi Rez, a young Floridian rapper, is essentially boob-based porn and had 580,400 views. This is considerably more views than his YouTube videos achieve but half the figure for most of the site’s actual porn videos (reportedly, that is. Hi mum!). Some commenters appear annoyed at the lack of sex in the videos, while others are keen to see their favourite porn stars appearing in a new context.

Most potent is the feeling of misplacement while visiting this somewhat stagnant section of the site however, especially when you know so much other madness exists beyond this page. It’s a bit like going to Glastonbury and spending the whole weekend in your tent watching porn on your iPhone.

Although Pornhub says it promotes “sex positivity” – the concept that all healthy, consensual sex should be celebrated – normalising porn is seen by some as problematic, as is the prospect of porn sites becoming a one-stop shop for all your cultural needs. Particularly for young music fans who might see an endorsement from an artist as a legitimate invitation into an adult world (According to studies, the average age most people are first exposed to pornography is 11 years old.) For most artists, however, finding the money to fund a music video is a struggle, and Pornhub could provide a solution.

“I get that, despite the ethical issues surrounding it, there is a massive audience there. When I first heard about Pornhub Records, I thought, ‘Bloody hell – that’s smart,’” says Sarah Boardman, head of music at film studio Pulse Films, a company that facilitates video-making by musicians and artists. “Then I instantly changed my mind because of who the audience is. Would they want to be consuming music and porn at the same time – and how that would affect an artist’s own brand perception.”

She believes it is a relationship that works only with certain acts. “Out-of-the-box artists like Mykki, or artists with perhaps dwindling careers like Coolio, are part of a very small number of artists that I believe would entertain the idea of putting out videos via Pornhub,” says Boardman. “It’s not a credible outlet in terms of music discovery and will never transform into that.”

Despite the reluctance many musicians would have to working with the company, Price says the “small team” that runs its music department receives many inquiries from artists across the world looking to work with them. They range in genre, from rap to rock to classical and “everything in between”.

“You’d be surprised how diverse it is,” he says. While it’s hard to imagine Emeli Sandé queuing up for the Pornhub treatment, for a future-facing artist such as Mykki Blanco, the erotic, nightmarish qualities of the video – in which actors with virtual reality headsets caress themselves – chimes perfectly with his image and message. According to the rapper, the song is about misunderstanding – about a “universal feeling of not feeling worthy enough, not feeling good enough”.

Perhaps Pornhub, a website that is clearly attempting to break its stigma (a philanthropic division, Pornhub Cares, launched a clothing line to oppose domestic violence, and it also set up a breast cancer awareness campaign called Save the Boobs) feels that, as a vast and ambitious tech company, it is misunderstood. “I don’t think a lot of people see us for what we truly are,” says Price. “We are absolutely an adult entertainment platform, there’s no denying that. But we have also ventured into a number of additional industries and are making our presence felt. Be it in the music industry, the apparel industry, the technology industry or with one of our many philanthropic campaigns, we are effecting change and improving people’s lives.”
   

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