Early on, all your failures will be forgotten. Your wins will not.
In the beginning, small errors will always trump no errors. Since mistakes vanish quickly from everyone’s mind, but breakout successes stay, it seems sound that experiments should always be tried out. When we fail, no biggie, but when we win, it’s remembered. Easy decision.
If I were to engineer an environment in which to have a career, then, it would include anonymity in case of failure, but the ability to out oneself as the creator should an idea take off. This would be a kind of 4chan with the ability to associate yourself with a Facebook/Twitter account afterwards should I want to. This would be the best kind of web, and I hope that’s what it becomes.
Anyway, the best people play in two fields: small underground places where they have shelter from humiliation, and bright places where they can shine when necessary– but that’s not always how things happen.
A band that’s “sold out” due to its popularity (or connection to the zeitgeist) loses the very thing that made them work in the first place– their ability to fail small instead of fail huge. The amplification of that failure throughout all of culture (made worse by social networks, actually) helps push them back down towards obscurity, making them a sort of temporary has-been, before they can rise from their own ashes.
This rise and fall is then cyclical. It is the nature of “packaged media” (TV or blog post) vs linear/continuous media (the news). You aren’t actually as good as your last album. You’re as good as your last remembered album. The difference is significant.
If you are a part of this landscape, either your successes are dragged back down to obscurity, or your failures are put in the spotlight. There is no other option.
Or maybe there is?