Art is not free.

I’ve just started reading The Death Of The Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech by William Deresiewicz (order here in paperback after 2/1/22 – DON’T get it from Amazon for the very reasons he writes about). It’s an amazing and terrifying book. For a moment I thought, “He’s saying everything I want to say so maybe I don’t need to write my book after all.” But I quickly realized that (1) not everyone would want to read his 368 pages and (2) my book is for a different audience anyway. So I’m still writing it. But I plan on quoting him extensively. 🙂 

Deresiewicz’ premise is that the basic financial exchange between audiences and artists has been broken by the internet, and (among other results) the common assumption is now that the arts are supposed to be free (or at least cheap). There are many reasons why that is an incorrect and dangerous assumption, but the main one is that art is not, and never will be, free TO MAKE. So why should it be free to consume? 

Here’s an excerpt from the (very rough) first draft of my book, about #1 of the three points in Luann’s Arts Business Paradigm. Since this paradigm is so much at the core of everything I talk about, I will get to #2 and #3 eventually here in the blog. But I tell my students that, even if they remember absolutely nothing else that I ever say to them, remember:

Art is not free

Continue reading “Art is not free.”

I’m writing two books


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Technically, I guess, I’m working on two books, but only writing one.

The first is an editing project more than a writing project. It will probably get a better title one day but for now it’s 10 Questions Young Artists Ask (or should) About a Career in the Arts, or 10Q. I’m polling 50+ artists, educators, and theologians for their answers to 5 theological questions and 5 practical questions about life as an artist. Then I’ll edit their answers into a book targeted to high school and college fine and performing arts students and their parents, because I think the parents might need it more than the kids do.

The questions are:

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[much] Labor and [little] Value

I typically agree with everything Seth Godin writes. Even saying “agreeing” with him sounds weird, because so much of what comes out of my mouth when talking about creative business comes directly from him.

But in his Sept 20 daily blog post (which I highly recommend you sign up to receive in your Inbox), he wrote something that made my heart sink:

Too often, we’re tempted to price things based on what they cost us to make. It’s more useful to price things based on what they’re worth to those that might want to buy them.

Seth Godin, Labor and Value

Well, Seth, that sounds terrific and would definitely be “useful” if the things you’re making are already, actually, worth enough “to those that might want to buy them.”

Continue reading “[much] Labor and [little] Value”