‘Most Ways That Artists Try To Earn Money Will Fail.’
Guardian columnist Helienne Lindvall had some choice words for the proprietors of free last week. Among those charged with misleading artists and telling them to give everything away for free was Cory Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing. Funny thing is, Doctorow is a Guardian columnist too. So, when accused of charging high speaking fees on one side of the equation and expulsing the power of free as a marketing tool on the other, all he had to do was pen a new column himself.
Lindvall had thought that she had it all figured out. This "guru" is misleading artists. In Doctorow’s response, he corrects Lindvall on her number of errors and accusations and has a few interesting things to say about the truth of choosing artist as a career and why the real people misleading artists aren’t of his ilk:
"The sad truth is that almost everything almost every artist tries to earn money will fail. This has nothing to do with the internet, of course... Almost every artist who sets out to earn a living from art won't get there, whether or not they give away their work, sign to a label, or stick it through every letterbox in Zone 1. All artists should have a fallback plan for feeding themselves and their families. This has nothing to do with the internet – it's been true since the days of cave paintings."
Next, Doctorow goes into detail about the people who he feels are truly selling snake oil to artists. Namely, those who tell us that had it not been for all those moral lacking, pirate scum, artists—across all backgrounds—would be making a living as employed creators. It’s only because their art can be easily file-shared that they’re not making any money. If we could only prevent those nasty children from sharing their music, they’d have so much money that they wouldn’t have to Twitter all day and give away their music. The cut-throat music industry would turn into a Disney movie overnight and artist equality would echo within those once impenetrable walls. Just help the RIAA turn the web into the biggest digital lock and top-down, corporate marketing paradigm that the world has ever seen and they’ll ensure that all artists will make a living off their recordings again.
"You know who peddles false hope to naive would-be artists? People who go around implying that but for all those internet pirates, there'd be full creative employment for all of us. That the reason artists earn so little is because our audiences can't be trusted, that once we get this pesky internet thing solved, there'll be jam tomorrow for everyone. If you want to damn someone for selling a bill of goods to creative people, go after the DRM vendors... the labels... [and] the studios..." (Read on.)