In her talk, Ms Le Guin (one of my favorite authors of all time) references writers; we can easily apply her insights to the music and film industry. She is inviting creative thinking to transform our culture into an environment in which the arts can be practiced freely, evolving in a natural way that benefits the public without constraints, controls, corruptions and distortions that benefit the gatekeepers who control access to marketing and distribution.
This is a very important speech – commodification of the arts has resulted in a huge rip-off in the ways that business leaders deliver a corruption of the arts, often based upon a disdain for what I believe to be the inalienable rights of all people (as a former producer in the music industry, I speak from experience.)
Excerpts from Le Guin’s talk: Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written materials to suit sales strategies in order to maximize corporate profits and advertising revenues is not quite the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship… and I see a lot of us, the producers, who write the books; and make the books, accepting this, letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish and what to write… the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art.
We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings … the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom. – Ursula K. Le Guin