When starting my website in 2003, I was concerned, "What will my galleries think?" I was a bit afraid of stepping on their bailiwick. But I was also thinking, "Why am I working so hard to develop my website to market my work online? Isn't that the gallery's job? Isn't that a major part of why they earn their 50% commission? Now I'm taking responsibility for a significant portion of the marketing and promotion of my work in addition to the concept development, creation, and fabrication."
The Internet enables any artist or maker to accomplish a key marketing task, i.e. publish and distribute a "virtual portfolio." And almost anyone, especially buyers, can find and peruse an artist's website with relatively little effort. Like it or not, the time is past when galleries were the only practical way for clients to find artists and makers.
The Internet has dramatically changed the dynamics of the relationships between the artist, gallery, and buyer. In previous posts, I have discussed how galleries will continue to provide unique capabilities and play a vital role in the art business community. But it is time to recognize that the economic relationships between galleries and artists must adapt as well.
Why change? Because everyone benefits. A web of links is more effective in marketing, promoting, and ultimately attracting buyers. If buyers find what they are looking for by clicking through from one website to another, then each contributing website should be rewarded. The monetary incentives should encourage such links.
Artists and galleries mutually benefit from a synergistic relationship. The gallery and the artist need to link together in every possible way. The mutual benefit is that buyers are more likely to find the work that they will purchase. But realistically, if both parties are working to attract buyers through their respective Internet marketing and promotional efforts, how should the commissions be divided? The incentives for greater collaboration need to adapt to this new reality.
Next Tuesday this discussion will continue with Part 2. Online Marketing: Gallery and Artist Collaboration- Considering Affiliate Links with four possible scenarios for compensation when establishing affiliate links.
What do you think? I'd like to hear your opinion about this discussion. Either leave a comment or email me directly by CLICKING HERE.
This post was updated on December 28, 2021.