Reflections on "The end of the Artist"

Good day friends, I wanted to share with you this very well-written and important article that Randy Hoaxter, a former teacher of mine, published yesterday. Not only it is key that we think about this issue, but also that we come up with better strategies that work for US, in order for the arts to be a sustainable practice. Please click here to read the full article and then, if you want, take a look at my own reflections about the subject down below. I would love to hear what you have to say about it, so please comment on it. 

My reflections:

"Randy, another great article. Thank you. I agree with most of your reasoning, however I would like to say a few words based on my short-lived experience as a music and art enthusiast.

First of all, I believe that it is up to us, the individual artists, to STOP giving away our creations for free. This practice not only disincentives people from acquiring the content at a later time (if that ever even happens), but also implies and sends the message that our song, album or performance have no intrinsic value on the market, other than an intangible one. Solo acts and bands alike believe that exposure is what's best and therefore make their music available on spotify, bandcamp, pandora, etc, in hopes that this will lead to future monetary gains that will come from music sales or live performances. Not true. This might work for a handful of people, but the vast majority will not see a dime from these efforts and the only beneficiaries are the companies that provide the service at the artist expense. What I believe we need to do when it comes to selling our music, is to create strong foundational niche markets. There are many people out there that truly care for music and want to support it financially (myself included) every way they can, because we just simply understand and appreciate the amount of effort and cost associated with any creative endeavor. As a professional Disc Jockey, I am constantly buying music in all formats, but specially on vinyl, when available. I go to as many live shows as I can, because I know that the best sounding record will never get close enough to the sound experience of a live performance. In my opinion, part of our "failure" resides, not in the fact that we are not good artists, but perhaps that we are terrible communicators when it comes to educating our audience. This in one hand, on the other hand, the reality is that in order to thrive financially, we must rely on versatility, which in our world can be translated to: playing live, working as studio musicians, as teachers, arrangers, composers, booking agents, etc, etc.

Artistry will never cease to exist, but in order for it to live a healthy life, it needs to be constantly evolving and adapting, just like everything else. As much as we work hard on the pursuit of becoming better musicians, we also need to become better story tellers of our craft, about its relevance and the "real cost" of not feeding it properly. WE are the industry and we should demand it works under our terms, not the other way around. As someone once said, "A doctor might save your life, but it is art what makes worth living it"   

Santiago Páramo

Santiago Paramo2 Comments