It’s Not the Economy Stupid

However, in my humble opinion, the poor economy is not the real problem for visual artists, authors or musicians.

The title of this post is a paraphrase of the mantra from Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign. Then it was, “It’s the Economy Stupid.” The harsh point was used to focus his campaign on the single most important topic that helped get him elected.

It’s Not the Economy Today Stupid

With the deteriorating housing market, rising cost of gas and food and other economic woes it would seem easy to say, (with apologies to Yogi Berra) we are having deja vu all over again. However, in my humble opinion, the economy is not the real problem for visual artists, authors or musicians. Not to discount the effects these things and a lingering war effort have on the situation. They admittedly are profound.

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Changing Consumer Habits Are the Real Threat

The real threat is how the creative product of artists is being consumed and viewed. Print-on-demand, the Internet and other technologies are evolving at an incredible pace. All kinds of industries are reeling from dramatic changes in consumer habits. CDs for musicians are ancient history and the level of unpaid copied and downloaded product continues to rise despite efforts to abate them. Newspapers are suffering serious drops in readership. Their cash cow classified sections are being decimated by Small retailers are plowed under by the voracious Wal-Mart juggernaut. Thinking about all this is enough to make a person throw up their hands and cry or maybe just throw up. But the former is not a solution and the latter is just messy.

Creating Self-determined and Managed Distribution Channels is Imperative

I have frequently commented artists need to find or create new alternative ways to get their product to market. Some will come from new products, or by utilizing existing technologies to create 2-D art or digital art to engage consumers in novel ways. As changes unfurl, challenges arise and some offer opportunity. It doesn’t have to be high tech, it could be a new twist on old-fashioned high touch. My previous post here, Wired Art Marketing Idea, showed how Wired magazine and Xerox partnered to use technology to offer users a fun interactive way to personalize its iconic cover to anyone with a computer. It was a fun, effective bit of viral marketing for both companies (It worked well enough for you to read about it here a year later.) The post was an effort to say, “Think about doing things differently, much differently.”

Christine Kane Is an Inspiring Real Deal

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Christine Kane, is one artist who has embraced change and profited professionally and personally from it. I have, along with thousands of others, grown to greatly admire her on many levels. She is an accomplished successful recording and touring singer-songwriter. Long ago, she took control of her destiny. Through hard work and talent, she grew a profitable career as musician. She is also a successful blogger. Out of her blogging, she has grown a retreat workshop business. The success she is enjoying from her workshops is causing her to rethink her recording career and musical career.

Now, having her stop writing songs and recording would be a shame for her thousands of fans, but if it is where she wants to go or is driven to go, then more power to her for having the guts and ability to make such a monumental change. If you read her thoughts on her Web site or blog, it’s easy to pick up how evolving market conditions out of control of musicians like her is forcing change. It is unwanted, as is most change, but is nevertheless inevitable. She has the courage, wisdom and wherewithal to envision it, do something about it and use it to enlighten and encourage others to make their own changes.

Her recent blog posts, Bake Sales or Blogging: What’s your Paradigm? and Creating vs. Getting are must reads. Give them some thought as they are certain to challenge some of your own thinking about your career, where it is headed and if you are on the right track. Will Rogers once remarked, “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you don’t keep moving.” Christine Kane is an artist and business person on the move. Find whatever works from her model to employ in your own career and keep on moving yourself.

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  1. Hi Barney,

    I couldn’t agree more with you. I’ve focused on viral marketing and my web site for the past 3 months and while I was well known before, I’ve tripled my exposure and increased my sales.

    It’s become a world of content and smoke and mirrors. No content, no excitement no response.

    In addition the understanding that Gen X & Y REALLY DO WANT and EXPECT their own decor espressions, not based on tradition but uniqueness. They look for that in every aspect of their lives from their cell phones to their underwear.

    Ralph Burch

  2. Right you are Ralph.

    One only need look at how traditional markets and venues are not holding up well. Decor Atlanta, once a “must exhibit” “must attend” show is now wheeling and dealing to stop the bleeding from wholesalers who are doing their own share of bleeding.

    Kudos to you for helping yourself!

  3. this is a brilliant article …it truly summarizes what I have been thinking for the past eight years … I am going to follow this blog from now on , if that is ok ? … question : I have noticed a phenomenon of hugely overqualified people in somewhat menial jobs … is there a name for this paradigm ?

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