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Though she doesn't use that word...

One of the things that Twitter is good for is recommended reading--finding blog posts by people you don't know, people whose blogs you don't want to read every day, but THIS POST you want to read.

I was amazed at how similarly this traditionally successful musician views crowdfunding to how I view it, though she didn't use the word Busking.  But she talked about her experiences as a "statue" with a tip jar, of having people thank her for the music, and give her money--and conversely, drive by shouting "get a job" and even throwing poo at her!  (Thankfully I never got that last bit while busking!  Maybe people have more respect for the muscial instruments than the artists--the people--doing the performing?)

I'll share a couple of quotes (in blue below), but the whole blog post is worth reading whether you like or hate her music. Even if you never heard of her.


artists need to make money to eat and to continue to make art.

artists used to rely on middlemen to collect their money on their behalf, thereby rendering themselves innocent of cash-handling in the public eye.

artists will now be coming straight to you (yes YOU, you who want their music, their films, their books) for their paychecks.


it’s also not a matter of whether an artist is starving or cruising on a yacht.

i would hate to see my fans turn on me once i actually have money in the bank with a “well, i would support you if you were starving, but now that you’re eating, no way.”

Writing (which includes rewrites, proofreading, research, and so on, and then if you're self-publishing, all the editing, formatting, and even html stuff) and music (which includes lots of practice as well as writing new material and the whole process of recording) and art (which includes rough drafts too, as well as needing expensive supplies, many of which are toxic or can ruin your clothes, rugs, and woodwork, and which requires scanners and other post-creative stuff too)...gosh, that sentence is too long!  Let's try again.

Writing, music, and art seem glamorous, but they are all a lot of work, a lot of time spent ignoring the good shows on TV, a lot of time spent pretending there are no good video games, a lot of practice and honing of skills, for what is often far less than minimum wage, if you compare the hours spent and the cash outlay with the cash inflow.

Yes, you get praise from your fans.  But you also get criticism.  You may, like Ms. Palmer, be repeatedly told to "get a ****ing job".  You will probably be told you're a talentless hack.  If you get publisher/music deal/art gallery, they get a substantial cut of the money fans pay for the product.  And so do any other middlemen involved in the process, the bookstores, the operators of the venues where you sing, ticketmaster, and so on. 

The artist whose work you love typically gets far less than half of the money you pay--unless you give it directly to the artist.

Think about that.

And remember that artists have to eat, and pay rent, and heat their homes, just like you. 

Do you want your favorite artists spending time on some day job, or do you want them making more art?

When it comes down to the bottom line, it's each artist's fans who make that decision. 

Just sayin' ... you got the power.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 1st, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC)
Yay!!! Good post! I am going to share this with my other Friends!
Oct. 2nd, 2009 01:11 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Oct. 1st, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
This is very apt. Please cross-post it over on crowdfunding too.

I think if anyone pulled that shit with me, I'd shout back, "I HAVE a job, you slacker!" Because the chance of the heckler working longer hours than me approaches nil.
Oct. 2nd, 2009 01:10 am (UTC)
Re: Yes...
I just barely got this posted here before running off to parent-teacher conferences.

When they were heckling her, she was standing still in too-much paint being a statue--the art of the snappy come-back doesn't work well for statues.

But then, I suspect doing that particular form of performance art would drive you nuts!

Oct. 2nd, 2009 02:06 am (UTC)
Re: Yes...
I wouldn't be able to paint myself like that, and it's hard on my body to stand still for long periods. But I have done modeling for artist and photographer friends, which uses some of the same "freeze and hold it" skills. *chuckle* From my hunting skills cache, which I haven't needed much in this lifetime, but still come in handy on occasion.
Oct. 2nd, 2009 05:32 am (UTC)
Re: Yes...
I expect those are very different, except for the "hold still" part, just as doing a concert at a convention or festival is very different from busking in the subway.
Oct. 2nd, 2009 06:22 am (UTC)
Re: Yes...
Busking is really its own thing. I'm sure I would do better busking poetry than statuary. But I thought it was worth a mention that I do have some ability to mimic a statue, which is not necessarily something that most people would think of me.
Oct. 2nd, 2009 06:33 am (UTC)
Re: Yes...
I think all my best friends are a bit paradoxical.

I used to have a button declaring I'm "chaotic lawful, or lawful chaotic, depending on my mood". It perplexed the more rulebound gamers.

The other gaming button I was very fond of is "DM whimsical when bored". Given my name, I thought it was a perfectly good slogan for all situations...well, all situations where I might be wearing buttons with words on them, anyway.
Oct. 2nd, 2009 06:50 am (UTC)
Re: Yes...
>> I think all my best friends are a bit paradoxical. <<

This is true for many of my closest friends as well.

>> I used to have a button declaring I'm "chaotic lawful, or lawful chaotic, depending on my mood". It perplexed the more rulebound gamers. <<

*laugh* Oh, that's a good one!

>>The other gaming button I was very fond of is "DM whimsical when bored".<<

I may have that one in my button collection. I think I also have "If the GM is smiling, it's already too late."
Oct. 2nd, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
Tis why I'm a technical writer. I like to eat and live indoors...and ain't nobody gonna pay me this to write a novel.

Oct. 2nd, 2009 08:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah. And nobody will pay you overtime if the computer crashes and you have to redo hours of work on a deadline.

Even secretaries get overtime. And health insurance. And 401K plans.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
This was a very interesting post to read. I didn't know what crowdfunding was (not in a virtual sense) until I started reading your posts and have learned a lot. I also see the buskers at work differently now. We have definite pan-handlers, people who sit and do nothing and want a hand out. And we have buskers, people who try to use some talent to make some money. I've decided that I prefer to support the ones making some effort. Even the guy standing there with no equipment doing a rapping/poetry thing (which I don't like) will now be more likely to get a coin than the guy just sitting there with a hat and sign.

Not that I give much money out but the occassional spare coins do work their way out of my pockets.

I was also thinking about you, crowdfunding, and art the other day and want to do a post but haven't had time. In the "old days" (ie--pre-big cities and massive industrialisation) people made gifts. Craftsmanship varried but basically it was mostly hand-made by someone. Then we started having bigger cities and smaller, then larger forms of factories and industrialisation. It became a status symbol to show you could afford clothes (etc) from a store, not the clothes your mom made. This has grown and increased and now everyone has things they get at the store. Hand made stuff is still kind of looked down on sometimes, there's a bit of a stigma attached to it but mostly now it's starting to swing the other way. People now sometimes want things from craft faires, furniture made to look 'hand made'. Will this pendulum swing completely back to supporting the artists themselves? I don't really think so, the stores/manufacturers own the media and tell us we WANT/NEED their latest/best/new-improved gadget/book/movie/cd. But hopefully there will be more support for small artists, more direct support for the artists themselves.

More thinking rambling around but I need go get running. I'll keep mulling over what you've put here and my own thoughts.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
It is my hope that one of the things the internet will do is help people realize they can completely or almost completely cut out the middlemen.

And that in doing so, fans gain a number of things--

* Conversation (at a distance) with their favorite artists
* The chance to request or even commission unique art from their favorite artists
* The chance to see glimpses of works in progress
* The chance to influence which projects their favorite artists concentrate on
* The chance to make sure their favorite artists don't give up on art due to lack of interest or lack of funds

and so on.

Ultimately, this could mean that instead of letter-writing campaigns to big corporations, trying to get them to sponsor the next book in a particular series or to continue a TV series, the fans will be able to simply raise the money and commission the artist to do the work.

It used to be that if some editor didn't buy my stories, you could never see them, unless you went to school with me or some such. That's changing.

Now, editors do valuable work, and often do make the stories they buy stronger by working with the author--but perhaps editing can happen just as well through crowdsourcing as through the corporate model. It's kind of exciting that we'll get to see that.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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