As hard as it may be to believe, originality is very hard to come by in today’s entertainment industry. Music, movies, video games, technology, and even society to a certain extent have lost their originality over the past decade.
With music, it is easiest to note the use and overuse of autotune that has become prevalent in the past
few years, as well as the repetitiveness of pop and hip hop music that has become so popular in the mainstream (just look up the 4 chord song by Axis of Awesome to see what I mean).
Movies and video games both have fallen victim to sequel syndrome. The top 5 summer movies of 2010 were all sequels with the exception of one. Video games are the same story with last year being filled with sequels; Killzone 3, Mass Effect 3, Uncharted 3, Skyrim (Elder Scrolls 5), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Infamous 2, Gears of War 3, the list goes on and on.
Frankly, originality has been pushed aside in favor of profit. Why take a risk with a new original movie or new IP for a game when you can make a sequel and guarantee profit? Then when ever a new original movie or game is successful, it instantly becomes franchised and has sequels created. This has become the case for The Hangover, How to Train Your Dragon, Avatar, and a bunch of video games.
Technology has followed a similar pattern. Companies would rather ‘copy what is hot’ than try and create something new. There are prime examples of this all around us. Apple comes out with the iPad, and every other company scrambles to copy it and create a tablet of their own. Now this isn’t necessarily killing originality, but it sure is slowing it down. Companies have now decided to be evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary, making tweaks to current models and improving, but never focusing on creating something new. Even the internet has followed suit with everyone trying to copy the Facebook templates for profiles and social features.
Part of this also falls on our shoulders as consumers. We don’t want originality. We would rather have more of the same and put our money towards something we are familiar with. This is why people are more apt to watch the new Harry Potter or Transformers movie, as opposed to something new like Kick Ass which was good but performed poorly in the box office. Companies know this which is why they dish out sequel after sequel. Look at Nintendo. The company has stuck with the Mario and Pokemon formula for over 15 years and there is still significant hype and profit whenever a new one gets released.
This isn’t to say there isn’t originality out there. Every year has that original game, movie, or new tech that wows us, for example Inception in 2010. Original music and film can probably be found on the likes of iTunes, Youtube, and Vimeo but we don’t end up looking for it. “More of the same” is the concept that the entertainment industry has thrived on and what it will continue to thrive on for years to come.