For Artists: Surviving the ‘cultural epidemic’…
It started with a hiss and a bang.
Free film, free music, free books – free everything. Industries built on the economy of the industrial revolution are sagging and Johnny Depp is refusing to pay tax like your regular cross-cultural middle-class millionaire. This generation of artists have a different playing field to work with.
Artist becomes conjurer
Being in the music industry in particular now requires cunning, a devilish mind and wit. People aren’t keen to look up to stars now, they’ll bring you down to their level in the comments bit underneath your YouTube video.
There has been a swift beheading of riches but a playing field – a sandbox – has opened up that provides us all an open layer, a new start to do things. Most can’t see it. I hope you do.
The playing field doesn’t tell you your gold and send you the plaque, it demands initiative and hard work (good work). It demands sweat and beers and coffee; perspiration for arabica and vice versa. We can’t see the benefits of perseverance yet because we are the first generation to walk down this route; of social media hype, of blog links and rolls; enough time hasn’t elapsed to make any firm judgements on anything.
If you want daily music industry rants then read Lefsetz – but I can assure you you will soon get bored. Because caring too much about the industry completely rids of any creative zeal you might have. The leniency is on misery and that does nothing to an artists’ complex. Chill, relax, have fun, work cool jobs, make the music you want to with the people you want to.
I’ve always hated with a passion phrases like ‘make it in the…’ or ‘how to succeed in the…’. There is no success, there is no race to run, mountain to climb – if life is a race I’m sorry to say you’ve already lost – folk have been dying for ages.
I want to talk about interesting people who are living crazy lives.
This fragmented world with a digital economy guarantees no career, no safe job – so don’t look for it. Work the shit job while you figure out your drive, then start, just start.
You see, there’s this cross-section where many of the creative industries meet just now – it’s called chaos.
Film criticism is debased because ‘everybody can now be a critic’; but not everyone can be a good critic. We will listen to the good and filter out the bad. In film there are no stars anymore, apparently. In music there are no stars anymore, apparently. In publishing there are no new renegades.
None of these industries are taking risks because they can’t can’t afford to. The industrial economy, the passive population that actually PAY for what they give is declining so they have to make sure everything they release is going to appease that crowd. Meanwhile, many have moved onto the digital landscape.
You’re in or you’re out.
You’re involved or you’re not.
Some people will run away – what’s the point in making art anymore if nobody will release it to the masses for me?
But people will. In some way or another.
The point is you reach the masses.
Gary Vaynerchuk did it with wine library, he went to individuals and solved their wine-related problems one-by-one on forums and twitter.
The problem comes as an artist.
As an artist when you create something you are not solving a problem, so how do you approach people?
But what the fuck do you do?
Sit tight and do your thing.
Most people don’t do their thing. They do someone else’s thing. They’ll get an iPad, and if they toy about and create something and upload it, that is that. It is a mirror of their favourite person. Democratise the tools of production. Who gives?
Composers were shitting themselves when sheet music came around. EVERYBODY IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO PLAY THIS. NOBODY IS GOING TO COME TO THE CONCERTS.
And how many people could read music? How many people in the world with something to say can afford an iPad?
Picasso wasn’t just a charismatic little man – he was also obsessed with painting. And I mean ALL the time. Just couldn’t help himself.
Seth Godin will be starting stuff till he dies.
Most people don’t really build stuff. Maybe they create, but building is a long-term mission and not a short-term goal.
They often stop because they haven’t been rewarded soon enough.
Some people stick at it because there is a burning desire just to do it.
You cannot democratise the desire to always be creating.
So do that thing, that thing no-one else will.
That is all.
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