Not everyone should be in “the business.” If rejection really hurts, opt out. I did for a few years when I started taking this all too seriously. Now I savor every application.
Most of us believe that we possess the power to make positive change in the world. Are we experiencing a resurgence in new music composed to highlight social equity? If so, why now?
In for a Penny, In for a Pound by Henry Threadgill (released on Pi Recordings on May 26, 2015) has been named the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Music. In addition, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton has been awarded the 2016 Pulizter Prize for Drama.
During the funding application process you are doing something similar to what you do as an artist: Sending your gifts out into the world with little hope of recognition or remuneration. But you are not sending forth your art; instead you are launching a very elaborate lottery ticket into the world.
When compensation takes the form of passion and satisfaction, instead of monetary remuneration, what is the impact on performance quality, commitment, and artistic freedom? If we could remove money from the equation by making sure artists get paid enough to do better than get by, what would that look like?
Commissions are not always the best funding model. Some projects are more like entrepreneurial ventures, and as such, they require financial risk-taking and the willingness to take on fiscal as well as artistic accountability.
Money has nothing to do with the quality of anyone’s music. That said, for those who choose to put together a living from composing, there are myriad avenues for monetizing one’s output—which can offer both exciting opportunities and an overwhelming career equation to solve.
Why does it still seem novel when artists talk transparently about the money they make from art or other jobs? I wonder if talking about the very unsexy ways we make a living threatens some myth of the “serious artist”?
We have the opportunity to look beyond traditional funding models to keep our music fresh and authentic. How can each of us help to create a supportive community locally?
In this volatile environment, there’s a piece of economics that can help make sense of what’s going on, help us make better decisions as artists, and even help us make long-term plans.