How Can Artists Get What They Deserve?


The internet can possibly make you rich or at least well-to-do. It doesn’t seem to be that hard and you don’t have to go that far. If you have an imagination, PhotoShop, a good camera, a good smartphone, and chutzpah, you can earn a living.  Where The Hell is Matt, and Tyrone (not appropriate for viewing in class or at home) are just some of the examples of artists(?) who have seen significant profits as well as received fame based on their comedic and shock values. Even still, my click as well as hundreds and thousands of others swell their profits and fame even more.

Real artists such as the few I know, i.e., Ty Stephens,  Laurin Talese, and DZM work hard, are talented, perform locally and world-wide. They have a decent following and have serious talent that took years to hone, but are still not where they want to be. They have been faithful to the industry for 10-30 years and are still in the background awaiting their big break so that they can live their dream of blessing people full-time with their God-given talents, becoming financially independent, and acquiring fame.

Fortunately, technology makes it easy for people to make an entire CD from their own bedrooms.  It is no longer absolutely necessary for artists to connect with record label heads.  Many well known artists have a heavy presence on YouTube with views in excess of thousands and millions. Unfortunately, this is not the road less traveled.  Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram are saturated with both talent and foolishness.  Consumer attention spans are short.  Shock value, not real talent, is the new “it.”  Also, a blow to artists’ profits is that content can be downloaded from cheap to free, thanks to Napster, iTunes, and hundreds of other free downloading sites.  There are so many underground platforms that the government cannot track them.

Sadly, after years of being true to the industry, a lot of artists are not “on.”  They may be able to eke out a living but are left still wanting.  They don’t have MTV Cribs lifestyles, and are not on reality shows.  They do, however, still aspire to the select few who are featured on award shows, magazine covers, television commercials, and on social media.

I always wonder: should an artist continue to give their passion to an industry that, in many cases, encourages them to expose themselves, doesn’t pay them or, pay them enough? In this digital environment, some even feel like other artists or industry heads borrow or steal their styles and material before they can debut.  Fighting nuanced battles with copyright laws can be expensive and time-consuming.

YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are at everyone’s fingertips. Without censorship, anyone can post anything resulting in debased material that competes with and erodes at the pearls of real talent.   I am probably sounding my age, but that’s just my two cents.




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3 Responses to How Can Artists Get What They Deserve?

  1. Geoff Irwin says:

    I’ve known quite a few artists (ex. Mia Dyson, Barnaby Bright, Liz Longley, Jenny and Tyler) who have used Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms to raise money for their albums. Mia Dyson is an ARIA Award winner in Australia that left the world of signing with a record producer; Barnaby Bright is going the road without signing with a record produce as well. Liz Longley used Kickstarter, in part, to give herself a start and now is signed. Jenny and Tyler also have gone it alone and have toured with two kids. None of them are living the Cribs lifestyle, but in talking to them, they love what they do and they wouldn’t do it otherwise. It is a really tough lifestyle, but they seem to make it work somehow.

    Kickstarter has allowed a dialog between artists and fans, and each of these artists has used Facebook and, in some cases, Twitter, to advertise their shows. That’s how I keep track of them, and I try to make as many of their shows as I can. It’s pretty impressive what they do.

  2. armour52 says:

    Thanks for responding Geoff. Yes, the artists that I know definitely have a passion for what they do and I’m sure they know about Kickstarter. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to stick with it for so long. I was basically representing their thoughts and laments on the music industry as they have shared with me. I think it’s important to put it out there so that someone would be able to benefit by knowing what they could possibly be up against.

  3. sydhavely says:

    This is quite provocative and insightful as to what the Internet is doing and not doing for artistic expression. Maybe you can discuss more in class tomorrow evening. Excellent post.

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