there is an army of clueless cheapskate zombies on the way these days. these people claim to be your fans and customers, but they never have been. all they want is to download or use your work for free. and they have mighty friends who control them and provide them with fresh arguments as to why you should not be worthy of making a living with your art. it’s google, spotify, and other multi-billion dollar businesses.
so what can you do, to not get ass raped by these people?
if you meet someone on the net who's sure that it’s best for you to give your work away for free, that you’re an uncool person who lives in the past if you want to be a professional...
or if you meet someone who wants to be the comrade at your side in the fight against the wicked nameless content industry who's only out to suck you dry...
and if they have heaps of good advice for you about how giving your art away for free is good promotion for you...
don’t be scared!
you’re not a bad person if you want to make a living with your work. in fact, you are a pro at what you do. art is not a hobby. maybe it is for these people. they either have no clue what it’s like to make a living as an artist, or they do but want take advantage of you anyway. all they know is that they don’t want to pay for your work, because they need the money elsewhere. for real things, you know. like their iphones.
second: get paid!
sometimes it is a good idea to give away your work for free. sometimes it helps you to get into a business. sometimes you feel that you need to help out a friend. that’s okay.
but don’t forget: you are the one who decides that. no one else.
if you are approached by people who claim they can’t pay you for the work that you’re doing, it's them who should probably look out for a proper business model.
you also should keep in mind: every time you give your work to someone for free, you are making it a little harder for everyone else - including the future you!
three: flaunt it!
yeah, show your stuff around. it’s good to flaunt it. your work should be available on all the channels like blogs, facebook, youtube, soundcloud and all the countless others.
but don’t forget: we’re living in a digital age. it’s not that your fans are still exchanging cd’s in the schoolyard, or the local shop is just borrowing your design for it’s shop window.
the moment you upload your work on the web, it might be copied and uncontrollably forwarded by and to everyone, most likely by big businesses who make billions in profits providing artists’ work without ever paying them a dime.
so, if you’re going to promote yourself, be clever.
give out samples, instead of the real product. fade out the track you put out on soundcloud, release a trailer of your movie and maybe a making of, but not the whole thing. watermark your graphic design and photos. and never forget to put your name on it.
four: be yourself!
don’t let other people tell you what you can or can’t do. you are neither a car repair person, nor someone who drops the pen at four-fifty-nine. you are an artist, and there are a gazillion ways for you to run things.
your life and your work are basically the same things, and therefore you can’t compare what you’re doing to the way things work in other professions.
don’t listen to other people's advice. most people only like things they already know. you will never be successful as an artist if you do things that have already been done (except maybe if you’re young and sexy, and you think its a good thing to exploit your looks for a while).
so, please stay who you are: spontaneous, creative, excessive, moody, generous, tyrannical, playful, depressed, pushy, weird and awesome. it makes your art better.
don’t let others take control, especially not greedy corporates and their cheap-ass leeching zombie army.
if they think they can’t drop some cash for your work, they’re not appreciating you as an artist in the first place. fuck them. let them live their miserable churlish lives.
you’ll be somewhere else, not dying poor.
yes, you’re right.
i promised you five tips, but i only gave you four.
face it, you got screwed again.
so, number five is: stay alert so as not to be screwed again. =)