Artist’s Value: Compensating Creators of Art
The Fight for Artists’ Rights
The topic of compensation for artists’ work has been debated ad nausem for the last two decades thanks to rampant internet piracy. However, I want to take a look at something beyond the issue of pirated audio and video files of music, television, and movies. We’ve seen industry giants fight distribution networks of pirated media and the fallout from those battles. What we rarely see is the impact on artists themselves. We are in a new and exciting age, where an artist is no longer limited by their geography. Thanks to platforms such as YouTube and Patreon, anyone with access to a computer or smartphone has the opportunity to monetize their creativity. However, even these venues are ripe for taking advantage of artists. The real question that this brings forth is what is an artist’s value?
Subjectivity in Determining an Artist’s Value
An artist’s value is a subjective. It also changes over time. Change can come due to change in audience tastes or due to the artist’s relevance in the culture of the time. Regardless of the reasons for the shift in the perceived value of any work, the value will always shift like the sands of the desert.
Not everyone values art the same way. Personal preferences dictate what the value of art is, whether that art is music, writing, film, painting, performance art, or any other type of creative expression. People tend to value the art forms that speak to them on a personal or emotional level. It is possible to see the value in art without having the level of appreciation that others do. I can see the artistry in paintings, from the classics of the renaissance to post-modern art. Would I be willing to pay hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars for paintings if I had the money to do so? I wouldn’t, but I can still appreciate it for what it is and the work that went into creation.
Appreciating the Value of Art
If I’m not willing to pay thousands of dollars for a piece of art, does that mean I think it has no value? Absolutely not. The monetary value of something is what any person is willing to pay. Furthermore, I think that all people deserve payment for their work. There is a reason for the starving artist stereotype though. I feel that this is a stereotype that needs to be broken. More so than nearly any other profession, artists don’t just put their labor into their creations. They give it their creative spark. Every piece of art contains a piece of the artist’s soul.
Art as a Horcrux
You may argue that some artists’ work lacks soul. No artist can pour their entire heart into every work of art. Sometimes the creative well runs dry. Sometimes an artist no longer has the drive or motivation that they once had. And sometimes the only motivation behind a work is money. Whatever the case, artists have high and low points in their creativity. All professions are like that. Factory workers have some days that are more productive than others. Farmers have seasons where the harvest is more bountiful than others. Teachers have days where they reach their students better than others. An artist’s value shouldn’t be measured by the seeming insignificance of one work, but of their whole body of works.
Fair Pay for Creative Services
Artists bare open their souls to the world like no other profession. Shouldn’t all artists be compensated for their hard work, their skill, and their willingness to lay open their heart and soul to the world? This is why I stand against piracy, because it is right that content creators be fairly paid for their work. So many artists today will never be able to achieve the dream of making a living from their creations. Many artists have to rely on the drudgery of the nine to five daily grind to live. They have to try to find the hours in the day to release their creativity into the world.
Some artists have been fortunate enough to monetize their talents, either through ad revenue on sites like YouTube, or direct patron contributions on sites like Patreon. Content creators have been able to successfully build their brands across multiple outlets.
My request to you is to support artists that you believe in. Regardless of what the art form is, be an active part of your favorite artists’ audience. Help promote them, and share with everyone else what you love about their art and how it moves you.
Teaser: Come back next week, when we’ll discuss living out of boxes.