So here was my reply, hopefully it makes sense without the original comment:
Apologies for the delayed reply, I only just saw your comment, 'cause I spend most of my time trying to make a living in other ways than blogging (or playing at the local pub)… so I'm back, and more than happy to "humor you" (humour where I went to school in Hobart Tasmania).
I wasn't trying to be funny, and I don't think Amanda is the epitome of how you should get the balance right in the labour market. My point is: I am an artist, but maybe I'm not good enough to get my 'bread' from it? So I do other stuff to feed myself and my offspring. But maybe if I had a big enough platform, enough people would like my art, and follow me, and I could do more art and less regular stuff to pay for my food.
I like writing songs. It takes a long time to write a good one (well that’s me anyway - I’ve heard some artists can create some of their best work in minutes - though I’m guessing that’s not the norm. Usually my initial melody comes quickly and the theme of the lyrics too, then it takes time to build the structure around the main hook of the tune and the detail around the story or theme). I just don't get enough of that arty time to create regularly in the way I'd like to. That’s why artists with promise should be encouraged and rewarded in ways that allow them to take the time they need to create. Actually I think we all ought to have more time to express our artiness regardless of it’s aesthetic value to others. My experience of creating art is that the process is powerful without an audience. And performing for myself following the creation, is also rewarding. It’s a bonus when I have an appreciative audience. Sometimes they have paid for my art. Not enough for me to continue as a professional musician. Is that my fault or the market? My answer to myself is; the market is pretty weird. I’ve seen and heard loads of art that I would never part with my money to encourage. But that’s just my personal taste.
You may also note that I think Amanda is a better writer than musician. Just my opinion of course. I have a mate who works as a professional violinist, but I'd rather hear him play guitar and sing, 'cause he's bloody good at that too, but nobody is offering to pay him for that skill. Why? I don't know, but mostly I'm guessing 'cause that's not the platform he worked so hard to be on. So he makes a good living playing other people’s art. His original art is unlikely to ever reach the masses.
Let me be super clear that I think we all ought to be paid for art, if there is an audience willing to pay for it. That’s my point. The only way to know if you have something worthy of a return, money or other currency, is to get it into the market. And I'm not saying the market is always right. If a few people like something and they value it enough, and are able to support the artist to continue, well that's great for them and the artist.
Even when there is creativity and support often the business or the idea fails to produce anything in the market. People who invest thousands into businesses believing that their idea will change the world. It may have been brilliant, but without the right business model or support to keep it alive in it’s infancy, it will likely die. Other products have been kept alive just by clever marketing/exposure and the belief that you have to have certain things to survive, when you could happily survive without any of those products. The basics at the bottom of the hierarchy (see Maslow) are what we ought to expect as a birthright for every human (unless they sit on their bum and do absolutely nothing, then I believe even that entitlement needs exploring).
So, Back to musos.., if you live in a village and all your basic needs are met, and you have a bit of talent as a Kazoo player, the other tribe members might give you some time off from chopping wood and carrying water so you can maintain your velvet tones, that’s the compromise isn’t it? You get to sit by the fire, that someone else chopped and prepared, and eat some of the offerings that someone else creatively searched for, arranged and cooked, while you honed your skills in preparation for the fireside performance. Reciprocal altruism? What I continue to muse about is the inequity of how talented artists are discovered, promoted, and/or exploited.
Compare for example Tim Minchin’s skill, to say one of the Spice Girls. Who is a better musician?
In most life scenarios there is an element of exploitation (I’m not arguing that that is OK, just stating a fact). Where does personal responsibility come in. For example, if an artist is offered a record contract and the artist is thinking, “they should be paying me more in this deal”, but they presently have no income from their art, and the contract would provide them with enough income to provide for their own basic needs and more time to work on their art, and to expose their existing art to new markets that they did not have access to before, then who decides the value that the record company promoter offers? Isn’t it the artist in the end who has to decide (you would think with some advice from trusted friends, colleagues, and legal advisors)? The reality is that a well known label has instant access to a huge market vs a tiny label who might have signed a superior artist by all standards, but the inferior artist may make more money simply because the engine or platform promoting the art is better. Lots of artists get the opportunity to use a better engine but refuse to take the offer, because the owner of the engine or platform begins to put restrictions on their artistic freedoms, and is often asking for a product that is appealing to the widest possible audience. That'd be pop culture (music, psychology, visual art, even architecture). The record company or advertising agency has the engine and the platform. If you can get the same exposure via FaceBook, Twitter or some other promotional tool, these other organisations wouldn't exist. The fact is not all artists are also talented promoters.
Platforms and various other promotion engines are precious, whether you like it or not. If you think Amanda is comparable to an exploitative multinational or a controlling record company, I don’t believe that’s a fair comparison. She might be comparable to my local publican who allows local artists to share what they are working on, and get some raw feedback from a real crowd. The artists that are good enough, are getting paid gigs at other venues, sometimes as a direct result of exposure at this pub. Amanda might even care a little bit, versus my local publican, who I’m guessing could really care less about my art, it’s just a fun night that might bring half a dozen of my mates to also drink beer while they laugh and/or applaud my effort.
So if you are laying bricks, or whatever else you do well. And you say to someone, you have to build three houses to show me that you can lay bricks, then I will pay you for the fourth house, that might be hard to swallow. But if you have been playing your guitar in your bedroom for ten years in your spare time, and you think, I'd rather do this than lay bricks for a living, and someone offers you the chance to show your style on stage, for zero payment, you're probably going to give it a shot. If you get asked to be the cover band for a world tour for zero payment (not one or two songs in a one off gig), that might be a lot less fair. But if the band was U2 or some other ridiculously successful international act, that would instantly catapult your art onto the world stage. If your art is great value, you'd have an instant arty career. That's a promotional gift that any band I know would take. Though I still think fairness for an entire tour should include some remuneration apart from the exposure, promotional platform value. Which I believe is where the comment that I'm responding to was targeted? The original comment is lost in cyberspace somewhere - I apologise.
I’ve got half a dozen original songs, not enough for a tour of my local pub even. If I had more time to work on my art, I would. Amanda and others take the risk to work on their art for years before recognition. When they do get recognition there’s often resentment from all sorts of places, why? Why aren’t we more offended by drongos like Trump who is proud of his gold plated jet plane seats that a whole bunch of minimum wage minions helped to create, right back to the gold mine (and there were likely some talented musos at the mine too). Let me have a yarn with Amanda on a low budget airline any day than sit next to Donald the clown in his billion dollar circus, I can't see any value there.