Experiencing a New Reality...on Sunday I listened to an avant-garde cello player that has been successful enough to quit her day job! She isn't playing top forty or mainstream popular music, and yet she pays her mortgage.
That sounds amazing to me! Her name is Zoe Keating. Her reality is:
She has no record label, no middleman.
She has 1 million Twitter followers.
Most of her income comes from iTunes.
Her key to success is being herself.
She spends half her time on her marketing.
I will say that last one again. She spends half her time on her marketing. This should be your reality check for the New Year.
I believe the art and craft world is going through a huge transition largely influenced by the Internet. We can see illustrative examples of similar transitions in the music and video world.
The music world used to be primarily influenced by the Top 40 mentality, and the fortress of the record labels. Record companies enjoyed selling entire albums (with one "hit" song plus filler songs) and dictated what radio stations played over the air. This structure has diminished substantially with the onset of open-ended possibilities through the Internet and the Long Tail. Musicians are now able to develop a following directly with fans. Music is now sold one song at a time via the Internet, and music stores (unless they are very specialized) are going out of business. Online streaming sites have changed how we listen to music.
The movie business has gone through a similar metamorphosis with most of their revenue based on selling and renting DVDs. The blockbuster film still exists, but the possibility of financial success for smaller relatively obscure films is now a reality largely because of the Internet.
Artists and Makers are just like musicians and small filmmakers. The paternalistic idea of a gallery taking care of you (like a record company or movie studio) is gone (except for the most elite level). The concept of "exclusivity" is difficult, if not impossible, to enforce with the Internet. The big question is how you can use the Internet to your benefit? I firmly believe that the keys to success are being yourself and spending the time to market yourself through the Internet.
Halfway measures will only get you halfway there.
Authenticity and commitment are paramount.
Hard work and spending half your time on marketing yourself.*
The new year is symbolic of new beginnings. Renew your commitment to your work. Start today by posting your work online with complete titles, descriptions, dimensions, and tags. Make it possible for your audience to find you and your work.
Focus this year on improving your #1 tool on the Internet - your photos!
P.S. Sorry if it seems that I am repeating myself and that this has been said before in other posts. Unfortunately, I still see far too many people with incomplete descriptions of their work online and poor quality or even downright bad photos. AND.......no website.
It drives me nuts!
You must have a website.
Instagram is not a website.
Twitter is not a website.
Pinterest is not a website.
Tic-Tok is not a website.
Facebook is not a website.
Your website is organized and orchestrated to represent your work. Everything..... every other web presence, or social networking is a tool in your toolbox.
*When I say half your time marketing, I am not talking about only being on line. I am including creating images, working on your web site, managing your inventory, and all the other tasks required to create a quality web presence.
This post was updated on February 5, 2022.