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Making Money In A World Where Art Is Free
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.
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?
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.
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?