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On Feb. 3, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas will be gone forever. The iconic guitar-shaped neon sign will be razed and replaced with branding for the new Virgin Hotel Las Vegas. There is no more fitting end for the rock and roll-themed hotel than the festival of debauchery that is AVN Awards week, a four-day adult entertainment convention that ends with the racy “Oscars of Porn.”

But the convention, parties and awards are only the tip of the iceberg, with massive amounts of porn being created behind door after door in the hotel. Any Pornhub search will eventually bring you to a video featuring the familiar decor of the Hard Rock or one of the neighboring hotels. All the crazy orgies and wild sex you would expect to happen at the AVN Awards are happening, but it’s all being monetized with every adult performer in the industry filming“content trades” with each other to create their own sources of revenue as the regular porn-shoot opportunities dry up.

In the “good old days” of porn, before the torrents and tube sites, performers could work almost every day and make tons of money on luxurious sets, but these days, unless you are a big star, you might only work a few days a month, and need to supplement your income by producing your own content, camming, and taking custom requests from fans.

MyFreeCams, a webcam platform, has been the main sponsor of the AVN Awards for several years because while the centralized porn industry is shrinking, fan interaction, customization, and homemade videos are on the rise. Every girl in the industry has an OnlyFans page ora paid Snapchat where they interact with fans and create content everywhere they go, be it their bedroom, a porn convention or an airplane bathroom.

At the convention adult performers sell photos, underwear, toys and in at least one case, a “used” ping pong ball. But the thing that fans are really paying for is the access to the stars. Gone are the days of learning about aPlaymate’s turn-ons and turn-offs on the back of the centerfold. With social media, fans know everything about their favorite stars and it humanizes them in a way that has never happened before. Fans form connections with these women and are willing to pay for the chance to strengthen that bond with a hug, a photo and that acknowledgement that yeah, of course they remember that one time you talked on Twitter.



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