22nd nov, 2011

Can you say artist and business in the same sentence?

Yesterday’s blogpost made me think of something a colleague told me recently.
Apart from his day job he is a photographer and is selling his snapshots through a licensing company. Let’s start with the ending: He had discovered that his pictures had been used in 35 websites without compensation from the licensing company. This represented around 32.000 DKK which is not much but still a nice sum.
He is one of the starving artists that Neelie Kroes was talking about and he got cheated, not by copyright but by a licensing company and maybe internet users.
However my colleague is different from Ms. Kroes image of the starving artist – he anticipated the problem and was prepared. He has set up a system where he himself regularly scans the net for his pictures and compares his results with the reports from the licensing company. The results show how big the problem is and who the sinners are. It also gives him a good starting point for a dialogue with his licensing company.
The difference lies in thinking business. Starving artists today need to have a commercial sense as well as an artistic one. Not all artists need to graduate from the business academies but even a small effort could raise their income and make them less starving.
If you want to know more about the system of my colleague don’t hesitate contacting me.

Speaking of starving artists…that subject always makes me think of Knut Hamsuns Novel “Sult” where a starving artist walks around trying to make a living. The movie is very good as well.

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