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Making Money In A World Where Art Is Free

Updated on February 10, 2014

Who are artists?

According to Webster's dictionary an artist is someone who professes and practices an imaginative art. Also one who is skilled or versed in learned arts.

An artist is one who creates; it can be with words, a musical instrument, their own voice, paintings, photographers and cartoonists. This is not everyone but only a list to give you an idea. Anyone who creates something is an artist.

Take time to enjoy art and make sure you compensate them in some way either with your money, advertising or at the very least kind words. Art is not easily created or achieved.

An artist puts part of their soul in each piece they create; tread lightly.

Even if you aren’t trying to make a living as an artist you have surely realized how much things have changed.

That which once always held a price can now be obtained for nothing or a few pennies.

Getting free stuff is great but at what cost?

In the days of Leonardo Di Vinci, Michael Angelo and William Shakespeare a person could make a good living being an artist.

Something for nothing

In the not so distant past we had to pay for just about everything, nothing was free and yet today so many things are available with just a few keystrokes it seems wonderful and for some it is, at least initially.

The problem with having free music, pictures and literature is that the creator goes without compensation. An artist can make things of beauty seem an effortless endeavor but try to recreate that same thing yourself and you soon realize how much work actually went into a piece. I can’t sing, draw or paint so I appreciate the talent of those who can.

These people need to pay bills just like the rest of us. When we enjoy their work without compensating them we take money out of their pockets.

Some people might not think that is a big deal but eventually you pay whether you realize it or not.

I made this sign and my daughter took the picture so no photo thievery was done this day.
I made this sign and my daughter took the picture so no photo thievery was done this day.

Less money less quality

I’ve seen a few complaints on YouTube about how the quality of music is not as good as it was 20 or 30 years a go. They wonder why there is less care and time put into the craft of singing and playing of instruments.

Could it be because they can’t make a living creating music like people could in the past?

When people steal your work and you don’t make any money doing it, why bother?

Changing times

A living can still be made but not in the same way it once was. Performing at live shows and speaking at conferences are how many are doing it.

Advertising helps some make a living but that isn’t always easy; you have to figure out what people are interested in buying and then of course there are adblock software tools keeping your bread and butter out of reach or your audience. It’s a tough way to get by these days.

Beg, borrow and steal

I’ve seen some writers post a little donation icon hoping readers will put a little cash in their account; it works for some but not for everyone. We don’t want to resort to public television or radio tactics asking for money. Beg-a-thons are so annoying but then there are the utilities and rent that come due. What do you do?

There was a time when writers were rich and lived among the elite. Education and books were expensive and not available to the masses so having the ability to write wasn’t as wide spread as it is today. Now it seems everyone is writing and has something to say. They aren’t all talented or know what they are talking about but some are very good.

It’s tough for musicians and singers too, they can post a video on YouTube and get some money if they open an adsense account but then there are also those people that steal their work without paying a dime taking money out of their pocket.

It’s not that hard to follow their iTunes link and pay a dollar or two for a song. If we enjoy a person’s work we should help them out, after all, if they have to get a full time job waiting tables or answering phones they’ll have less time to create beautiful sound for us to enjoy and then we'll be whining about quality and the good old days.

Fame over fortune

Everyone wants to be known, see their name up in lights or at the very least on the Google search pages. Getting paid is not as important as having people know who you are.

The problem is, there are so many willing to work for free (maybe Mom and Dad support them, I don’t know). Those who need to pay for groceries and gas struggle to keep up.

Then of course there are the thieves that steal our work posting it as their own making us pay for software to make sure our livelihood isn't compromised.

People losing their jobs

Print copy is becoming less and less available. If you have elderly family members who don’t own a computer or know how to use one they are going to have trouble finding out about current events.

Newspaper companies are laying off writers and pressmen all the time. Those guys that make the newspapers will have to learn a new trade because printing presses will soon be an antique you only see in museums.

Postal workers are losing their jobs because letters have changed to e-mail and you don’t need a person to deliver them.

That junk mail you get in your letter box will someday be a thing of the past and still is for some companies. You can send an email for free and set up a computer to post on weekends and holidays when postal workers and office personnel are off work. Free labor.

Wrong information

We are already seeing the bad effects of our news being mostly online. Many news journalists are being lazy and instead of actually going out and getting their own story they are borrowing (and sometimes stealing) articles from other news sources, in some cases embellishing them or changing the facts altogether until it no longer resembles the truth.

The Laughing Squid recently had a small town newspaper steal one of his articles posting word for word without his permission or even giving him credit. Some people are quite bold in their thievery.

“Never let facts get in the way of a good story.” Mark Twain

How can we help?

We need to realize how important it is to compensate artists for their labors. If they aren’t paid, other career choices will become necessary. When they no longer have time to create these wonderful sights and sounds we enjoy what will become of our world?


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    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Thanks for sharing... excellent points!

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      The arts are so important and helps young people use both sides of their brain. Thanks for reading, b. Malin.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      6 years ago

      What a Wonderful Hub read, lots to think about. Supporting the Arts is always the first thing that is cut from Government Spending...And music, which I learned at school, so long NO LONGER TAUGHT. Our values have gone astray. Thanks for sharing and Express so well this Timely Hub, Pamela.

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Musicians and writers are really struggling lately and we need to remember to support them any way we can.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for pointing out the need to support the arts. It is one area that if lost, beauty in the world would definitly suffer. I agree with your statements on finding ways to help them succeed. Voted way up!

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Angie, painters are probably the safest unless copies of their work show up online. My sons are both musicians but have found making a living at it is tough so they have full time jobs to pay bills and perform on the side as a hobby.

      Sometimes I think Google must be tired of hearing from me but they probably get a lot of complaints.

      Kashmir, times are tough. :o)

      KJ, our world is changing, I'll be curious to see how things are in ten years or even twenty.

    • kj force profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      Pamela..nicely done are so right regarding the education is stating Science/Math are the future..arts/music in many schools have been cut..

      Fcat tests haveprovedreading/comp /communication skills are very poor, and children up to high school age cannot read.The Arts have become " hobbies" disgusting, but society has allowed it to happen.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Oh no Pamela your out in front of your home begging for writing jobs.....sorry could not resist that . Yes my friend i do agree with what you have written in your hub,sad but true if someone is going to steal our work or someone's else work they will. And they will find a way how no matter what someone does to try and stop them from doing that.

      Vote up and more !!! SHARING !

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 

      6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      I know only too well about struggling artists, Pam ... my husband is one.

      We get so excited when he sells a painting but at least no-one can actually steal his work ... unlike mine.

      Google and I are on first name terms as I send them so many DCMA complaints about work of mine that has been plagiarised on the net but I guess there will always be unscrupulous people out there. I wouldn’t like to have their karma ...

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Farmloft, it would be a shame if artists didn't have time to make art, many can't make a full time living doing it.

      Prasetio, HubPages is a good way for writers to make money but even here we have to worry about thieves stealing our work.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      There are many opportunities out there. We must be careful because of many scams haunted us. Just do a lot of work and never give up to get the money. HubPages is good example for us to get money online for free. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up :-)


    • farmloft profile image


      6 years ago from Michigan

      If we can't make a living with art, how much are we missing out on?!

      Voted up.

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      There are many people who rely on this for a living. I would be up a creek if I didn't have other income to support me.

    • wetnosedogs profile image


      6 years ago from Alabama

      Great hub. Greatly appreciated.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      6 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Point well made, Pamela. Thank you for your boldness, honesty, and compassion for artists in general. Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting!

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Pamela....You have brought something into view, that I know I have not ever given a thought to....really. How true all that you have said is...and the reality is that someone is actually suffering, at least financially to a degree.

      You know, through the years, I have always just laughed off the prospect of ever writing a book. Sure, All writers-at-heart would love nothing better than to actually see their work in print and on a shelf somewhere.

      I have always felt instinctively, that it's a chance in a billion vist to Barnes & Noble or a look on Amazon should be enough for anyone to know there are (as my grandchildren say...) a "GAZILLION" books in the world. Enough said.

      Truthfully Pam, I did not come to HP based on the hope of fact, I wasn't even aware it was an option. Well, guess what Pam? THANK the Heavens...because....well, if I had relied on that to'd be hearing my stomach grumbling all the way to Oklahoma! UP++.........


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