The new middlemen

The less you have to do, the less say you have.
— Frank Chimero

The internet promised to set us free, rid the world of the gatekeepers and the middlemen for good. As the barriers between artists and audiences collapsed, we cheered, revelling in this new paradigm of rapid incubation, iteration, and distribution.

Technology tempted us with a promise to eradicate middlemen everywhere, empowering us to reach anyone without gatekeepers or bridge trolls, but a closer look reveals that the middlemen still exist, they are fewer but they are more insidious and perhaps more powerful than ever.

The greatest trick the Devil middleman ever pulled was convincing the world he’d gone away.

A middleman exerts a tax in return for facilitating an exchange. As the internet brought the cost of exchange to near zero, the consumer thought they were to be the victor in this new anarchic technological landscape, but the middlemen saw a new and verdant opportunities.