Read the full article by Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason.com

 

The internet has turned adult performers into media entrepreneurs.

Technological progress often brings mixed blessings. For more than a decade, I’ve witnessed firsthand how this progress has disrupted journalism careers and made media enterprises less reliable and more decentralized. At the same time, it has opened up so many possibilities that previous generations were denied. Discussion of these tradeoffs is now a staple at news industry events.

As it turns out, the same holds true for the porn business.

Last week, I attended the annual AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, where I spoke with porn industry workers about their business. It felt much like being at a journalism conference, albeit with flashier outfits and more offhand comments about anal sex.

In ways both depressing and refreshing, the struggles facing porn performers, creators, and companies echo those heard from those in journalism and many other industries where old business models were upended by the internet and modern technology.

Certainly, concerns about consent and physical safety are something those in the porn business are highly invested in. But among porn performers and others in the industry, the tech concerns take on a much more mundane nature—things like copyright violations and exclusion from social media sites; declining money to be made from long-established platforms and venues; how political attacks on new employment models and web platforms could threaten their livelihoods.

Meanwhile, they also speak of the huge range of positive opportunities created by the digital era, thanks to the decentralization of adult content and the ability of content creators and performers to now reach audiences directly. As in journalism, the internet has turned porn performers into media entrepreneurs.