Sunday, 18th May 2014

by Joshua Gaskell

Subscriptions, taxpaying, membership, a TV licence, the ownership of physical objects – all these things cost money, but in return come with some kind of pleasure: anticipation of the postman’s arrival, the community of a letters page, companionship with fellow members, the feel of a new book, belief in the fairness of ‘from each according to his abilities’; and, in the case of the licence fee, the knowledge that, even if you don’t like Gardeners’ Question Time, you don’t mind contributing because some people do and they in turn don’t mind contributing to what you like.

The problem with paying for arts and media in a digital, privatised economy is that the current model is to replace all these little squeezes of pleasure with as many little jabs of annoyance, which, no matter how “innovative” and “creative”, is what adverts are.