Like pretty much every other new year in this forgettable decade, January 2015 arrived with bitter cold, obligatory Oscar buzz and the saccharine electric thrill of a newly announced Coachella lineup. Twenty-somethings of America, rejoice! Your spectacular orgy of whiteness and molly is nigh.

I loathe Coachella. This isn't much of a hot take. It's been fashionable to hate on the festival—which began in 1999 as a provincial music gathering in the desert beyond LA—for years now. Coachella is an easy target, what, with all the floppy hats, offensive headdresses, twee songwriters, nostalgia-inducing rappers, ignorant fans so turnt on light beer and hot sun that they actually believe some smirking Jimmy Kimmel proxy when he tells them that Hillary & The Clintons are about to take the stage in the Gobi Tent. Hating Coachella is cake.

But you didn't come here to watch me despise Coachella as an event. Or maybe you did. Regardless, that's not what this piece is about. No, this is about the disorienting, uncanny codependence between IRL events—Coachella, CES, Art Basel, SXSW, the X Games, every Apple keynote ever, etc.—and the content opportunities they represent. This is about the rise of the Content Event, my dudes, and the compulsive, masturbatory manner in which we indulge it. This is about the latest #brandfriendly mile-marker flying by as we hurtle, clear eyes, full hearts and backlit touchscreens, down the information superhighway to our digital apocalypse.

Coachella is undeniably an event. It physically happens in a physical place and physical people physically go to it. Right? It's probably time to disclose that I've never actually been to Coachella. The reasons are many: I don't enjoy concerts, I live 3,000 miles away, I've never been invited. But even though I've never personally made the pilgrimage to Indio/mediocrity, I know what happens there—Tupac holograms! Outkast reunions! Underbutt!—because Coachella is also undeniably a Content Event: an IRL event inextricably linked with the URL content it spawns.

It all starts with the poster. CoachellaLineupFlyer_ThisYearNew.jpg is emblematic of the entire shit parade that spews forth from any culturally unignorable gathering that's deemed #onbrand. Content Creators™ and Brands™ of all stripes wait breathlessly for a chance to post a picture of a concert flyer, to "announce" the announcement. Pictures are worth a thousand words and this one gets a million scattered across every imaginable property and platform on the World Wide Web. Don't forget to push it to social while you're at it.

But then, with neither bang nor whimper, the event will be over. What do we do with all that content?

See, the Coachella flyer (and content about events et al.), is free traffic and while content may be king, traffic is food. Most of us (I'm guilty like the rest) salivate when the Coachella flyer drops. You already know why. It's a fucking lay-up. If there's any content we're sure you'll consume/engage with/share, it's content pertaining to something you've already been trained to care about. Years of clicking through Facebook albums, scrolling through Instagram feeds, reading Twitter timelines and checking the blogs have established Coachella as a big deal. How could you not care?

Of course, the poster is just the starting gun for the unstoppable rat race of event-focused content now underway. First, will be the spoof lineups, hilariously laced with music geek jokes, dad jokes, and joke jokes. As the event draws nearer, there will be a steady parade of guides from style to travel to eating to drug-doing. If you can think of it, a liquor/cellphone/economy car brand has already partnered with a creative agency to build shareable content around it. Nearer still, and the Internet will rabidly foist upon itself a stream of "viral" news items. Who dropped out? How hot will it be? #DaftPunkDaftPunkCLICKHERE.

During the actual event itself, there will be tastemaker liveblogs, day-to-date updates and a metric fuckton of Instagrams, unless all that content crashes Instagram, in which case, how will anyone know you're there? After, there will be thinkpieces and recaps to pick the carcass clean of its remaining traffic morsels. Hell, this very essay is event-focused content. Lawrence and I pegged the lede to Coachella because it's in the news cycle this week. I am what I hate.

But then, with neither bang nor whimper, the event will be over. What do we do with all that content?

Nothing. Who cares? Leave it stranded on the shoulder of the Information Superhighway like a broken down car, useful once, but no longer. The content only existed for the event and you only know about the event because of the content. We're in the echo chamber now, kids, and we have miles to go before we sleep. When will CoachellaLineupFlyer_NextYearNew.jpg be released?

It’s a widely held truth that there's a fundamental difference between things that happen on the Internet and things that happen in the real world. This is mostly accurate, I think. For example, throwing smoke in a comments section is a lot easier than throwing punches in real life. When it comes to Coachella, I'm not so sure. If the sum of an event is equal to the content it vomits forth onto the Internet, is there any difference between the two? In 2015, we live our lives in Content Events. They are not experiences. They are opportunities to position your personal brand. Pics or it didn't happen.

Dave Infante is a writer living in New York City. Read more of his work on Thrillist and follow him on Twitter here.