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nikolas

Artists and their relationship with money...

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Triggered by a few comments here and there, by various members who think that art should be free, I decided to start this thread! :D Enjoy please!

"Art should be free"!

Very well and all fine! Free for the community and audience I assume, right? A concert should be free to watch and enjoy, a theatrical play the same, cinema again (it is an art isn't it?) How about painting though? Should a work of Picasso be free? If so, who should get it? A tiny problem then... Or should it rotate for a single day for all eternity around a huge organization? I don't have a solution to this one, nor do I disagree.

But, there is a common misconception around that artists should work for free, which is entirely different than providing art for free! An artist may have spent his/her whole life studying and preparing his/her masterpiece! This, simply means that (s)he may never have the chance to make an alternative career, or even wash dishes for a living (and why should (s)he? If (s)he is trained in... theater, as an actor(ress) then why should that talent and effort be rewardless, financially).

On the other hand of course, ART should be independant! And this cannot happen since you can't bite the hand that feeds you! Where is the artist who will rebel against the employers? And if not the employer, shouldn't the artist be popular among the audience (in the example of music), so that (s)he will sell and thus make a living? So, it is a bad idea to sell your art, isn't it?

Not always, and not necessarily I have to say! While concert hall comissions, always have a simple clause like "... as long as the work is of simmilar quality of the existant..." etc, which also implies aesthetics, to be truthful, in my computer game comissions (not named comissions, but anyhow), I have pretty much total freedom. Certainly the designer will come back to me if I do something completely moronic, but pretty much I am "aidless" to what direction the soundtrack will take. Even though they are paying me. They simply respect what I do and trust my instincts (which don't work 100% tbh and to be embarassed as well :()

For me, the ideal solution would be to have some organization, which would provide a stipend of some sort, to the artists, so they can make a living and create music, art, theatre as they see best and fit! This way they wouldn't be dependant of the employer nor of making a living, thus be welcomed from the audience! However if you just do your own thing when you create art and not care about the community at all, or the things around you, you simply suffer from autism, no? Aunanism to all it's glory I say!

Maybe there is a golden ratio somewhere along the above lines? I have to live, I have a family to feed and don't know anything else to do, I would be washing dishes literally, since I'm spending all my time in music for so many years! Still I certainly do not wish to be "sold out", which is a huge danger and evident to 98.5% of the film composers, for example.

please take the above as simple thoughts. Feel free to disagree, discuss and not flame please! :)

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Guest QcCowboy

Well, Niko my friend, most of the time, those who promote the idea that "art should be free" have probably not had to work to feed a family, to pay rent, put food on the table, pay utilities... at least, they have not had to do so "as artists". Nor have they spent their lives studying and working at perfecting their craft as artists.

My sister made a wise comment to me on this topic: art should be freely available.

And there IS a massive difference between art being "free" and "freely available".

One implies that as many people as possible should have access to it.

The other implies that its creators should not be renumerated.

The problem with this discussion is that most of the time it stems from a parallel debate on copyright.

The two issues, while linked in a way, are quite distinct. Compensation to artists via copyright protection and applicable fees is something different from a debate on whether artists should supply their art for no renumeration.

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Ok, I see what you're saying. In a perfect world, your plan would work. However, there are some organizations out there that do similar things for actors (at least I know one...) which is Equity. They give stipends and Health Care etc... One problem I see is that since those organizations sort of already exist, why shouldn't they create a separate one for each art form? What is wrong with having 20 good solid companies each dealing with their own Art.

Well, here's the problem. WHERE are the companies going to get the money to pay the Artists in the first place if they don't have any money to begin with if the artists aren't making money of the art that they work for/sell? I mean, unless somebody donates money to them instead of charities (which is politically incorrect, btw... which is stupid imo) and I mean A LOT OF MONEY.

Another problem arises: there are a lot of artists. I am not sure of the figures but I'm guessing around 1/9 of the U.S. population alone is an entertainer (or has been at some point in time). Well, how do you pay millions of people (even in separate companies) with no money and/or donated money??

So, unless I am missing a big picture, I don't see how that would work.

-Mori-

EDIT: I like Michel's idea! I would vote for that any day!

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I'm not a big spender outside of necessities. Once I have everything I need payed for, then with the remaining money I usually save about 75% of it, and with the remaining I put it towards something musical that I either need or want

All in all though, I've only probably spent only about 900$ on all my musical equipment :P

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... the ideal solution would be to have some organization, which would provide a stipend of some sort, to the artists, so they can make a living and create music, art, theatre as they see best and fit!

The Canada Council for the Arts - Canada Council for the Arts - Conseil des Arts du Canada

:unsure:

Sure, it's not ideal...but still very cool. Basically, the Canada Council gives grants to deserving artists for various projects: recording, tours, residencies, theatrical productions, gallery showings, workshops, publishing, etc. In my field, virtually every Canadian jazz recording and touring is done with assistance of the Canada Council. I expect the same applies to classical/new-music ensembles... The problem arises when you try and decide who is a deserving artist. I myself have many rejection letters, and many major artists must apply several times, eventually getting the project through. On the flip side, some folks manage to get significant grants every time. There's an art in and of itself to grant writing...

It's not perfect, but for someone in my position - where recording or touring a band is simply not financially viable, it's there.

ANYWAY, the point is, that the concept of funding and supporting artists through external (government, private: see The Macarthur Foundation) sources

is there, it's just got a long way to go.

*reminds himself to try and get another CC application ready for the March 1 deadline*

----------------

I don't really know where I stand on the free-art thing. I do like the term 'freely available' ...

Needs to think more....maybe not. I'm happy the way I am. I just want to play my jazz...but will sell my soul to the highest bidder. *wonders if Justin Timberlake needs a new trombonist*

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Guest QcCowboy

The Canada Council for the Arts requires the performer (and not the composer) to make the grant application and guarantee performance.

The Minist

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...The same damned people are always getting the money because the same damned people are always on the juries.

Aye, there's the rub.

It's tough to get your foot in the door - as an emerging young artist, or even an established pro with a good track record.

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Guest QcCowboy

What I don't understand is how come

a) submissions are not yet anonymous

b) they haven't removed composers from the juries (talk about conflict of interest!)

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I know the first post was directed at me, dishes and all.

But let me clarify a little where I'm coming from, before this gets out of context.

Say you live in a third world country, small enough that the "cultural" scene is controlled by a few well-placed people, and that really it doesn't matter who you are or what you do, you have no chance to work if you're an artist unless it's on the street. (Nevermind the risks that involves, and if that's even legal or not.)

Then what do you do? Do you stop making art? Do you stop creating stuff? Of course not. You still got to eat, so you look for whatever else. Do you study art at an institution? Of course you don't, you don't have the money to pay for it and everyone frowns at the idea becuase artists don't eat.

So what happens? Everyone takes up careers they are unhappy with because it's what brings money home, and they try to keep music as hobby.

This is a scenario that asphyxiates the artist, and after living in these conditions I'm sure most don't give a flip if they get money or not so long as the art actually gets out, but it also doesn't encourage art to be created at all. So it all stagnates and dies.

You have to be very brave indeed to consider seriously dedicating yourself to art.

This all taught me an important lesson, maybe in other parts of the world it may "work" to some degree to live like Stockhausen and put price tags on your poop and fallen eyelashes, and I understand that people may want compensation for what they do.

But I can't possibly quantify something like art, and I don't want to. Not only in practical basis but because I simply have no measure. The whole model of economics is not based on artists, it's based on offer and demand.

If the market trend decides that music is free, you won't be able to sell it no matter what. If it decides it isn't, then you'll be called an idiot if you give it away.

I can't honestly look at anyone in the eye and tell them this Beethoven sonata is worth 10$, or maybe 5000$. No matter what number is wrong in my eyes, there's no way to give it a fair price because we're applying principles that simply override the human element. It's like trying to put a price on a person's work altogether.

If I taught composition, and there was a demand for composition teachers, I could expect to be paid more than if they abounded. It's all very relative, and by the nature of economics it simply makes zero difference what my skill may be ACTUALLY worth. It only matters what the market trend is, offer and demand.

And again, I sustain I (nor anyone) cannot possibly see a way to measure what a skill is "worth", correctly and accurately, in whichever monetary values people use.

In such manner, washing dishes may pay little, but if being a composer (and spending weeks writing, working and otherwise researching) makes you starve, then washing dishes is a superior thing to do. By these standards, at least. Washing dishes is a skill valued above the other, regardless of what anyone may think.

So I'm against this, and I try to do what I think is closer to the truth. I don't plan to charge for what I can't correctly quantify, I don't hold any illusions that I know what my skill is worth in some arbitrary monetary system. I'm not going to pretend I can put a price on something that can change people's lives, like it did mine.

I hope this clears up any misunderstandings.

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I do not pretend to tell other people what they should do, but for my own part, I have lately been putting my music into the public domain. It's not that I think that my music is worthless. It has value insofar as it is enjoyed by others. Logically, the more people it is enjoyed by, the more value it has added to the world, and therefore the more value it has as a work (according to this particular metric, anyway). Putting my music into the public domain will maximize the number of people it reaches. Therefore, doing so maximizes the music's value, and is the only sensible thing to do. Of course, for others, the equation may look different, particularly for anyone doing music for a living.

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Not an easy problem to solve...

I also think art should be "freely accessible"... for equality sake! Especially with music in those modern times! Mp3 files cost nothing materially (except listening device...)

So who is going to pay the artists?

Ideally - as I tend toward socialism :P - WE would pay for it, and by we I mean it should be subsidized. More than it is already... since for now it's mostly subsidies to people who hire composers/musicians, isn't it?

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I consider myself a democratic socialist - i.e. ever person in a society should have basic needs for shelter, food, education, health care, etc. provided.

The problem with the arts is this: if I am a worker in a factory mass-producing tables I expect to get $15 an hour; If I am a craftsperson making a table by hand I expect to get $150 an hour; If I am an artist creating a sculpture in timber which has a plateau-like top section and four lower protruberances I expect to receive $15,000.

Who decides which music is "deserving" of income support for the writer? Should other writers, or should it be the musicians who will perform the work? Or a panel of "experts" who can pick 'real' music (obviously cassical musical would be more deserving than pop.....)? Or academics who have studied music theory? Or bureaucrats who are the ones who would have control of the money anyway? Or would we just throw it to anyone who stuck two notes together, played them on a vacuum cleaner pipe and called it music (this is what happened in 1972-75 when Gough Whitlam was in government in Australia, and it took ten years afterwards for the freeloaders to be weeded out).

Or should we go back to the system of sponsorship that Mozart and Beethoven had? It worked for them. (But not for the Impressionists)

THERE IS NO ANSWER.

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I like today, besides what people actually call art these days. Art is "freely available." A masterpiece will be discovered a hundred years from now by people who finally seem to enjoy the work, and this person will become famous, more than he/she was when he/she created the masterpiece. The public chooses what they want to be "freely available" by paying the artist money. So in this way, "freely available" art is direct opposite of free art.

If art were just to become free, it would be stolen and hidden. It would not be "freely available."

I'm not saying that you can't get good art for free. But someone had to pay for the resources to produce the artwork. It didn't just fall out of the sky.

If we keep going about the theory that art should be free, then everybody will complain about why they have to pay for food. Because food is an art as well. And soon everything will be an art, and we will expect everything to become free to us. That's communism. It's a whole change of culture. Eventually everything that we once had looses it's value. I think I like Qccowboy's "freely available." How about you?

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Hahaha! On GameFAQs I started a topic with this same subject. It raged on for over 150 posts, before finally dying off... it's too bad, I should have saved it. I'll tell you the general idea.

I think art should be free. Not original manuscripts or portraits, but copies, including digital pictures, music, software and movies. Anyone should be able to watch this movie or listen to that album. It would all be run on donations, of course; no one is claiming money comes out of the ground. And, sadly, it would only work in a perfect world. But that's how I think it should be.

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A very complex subject.

On on hand, the composer obviously wants his music to be heard by as most people as possible, on the other hand if no one pays for it, obviously no food on the table.

But if one has to pay, possibly won't have the oportunity to listen to the music.

Donations like Lord Skye sugested could be a solution....if humanity wasn't greedy eheh but that's another subject.

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Right, like I said it would only work when everyone is perfect... which is when pigs catapult out of the queen's donkey.

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