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Which Way Is The Right Way?
There is no one-size-fits-all digital content strategy.
What does the 2022 Web Monetization for the Arts survey teach us?
No singular digital content strategy emerged from our survey results. Indeed, artists are choosing a variety of digital platforms and tools, and using a range of performance indicators to define “success.” One surmises that every artist and organization is creating their own best practice.
These practices can be arranged on a spectrum, with visibility and monetization at opposite ends. On the visibility end, art shared online is a public good, free for all. It serves to inspire, challenge, beautify the world. It might get you some followers or future sales, but that is not its primary purpose. On the monetization end, the art shared online is a private intellectual property. It is also labor, and like all other forms of labor, it should be paid.
Here are two comments we received from survey respondents:
Artists should stop putting their work on streaming platforms because they rip artists off.
Let’s not talk about money. We’re artists, not businesses.
In the first comment, the current monetization scheme used by streaming platforms is considered unfair. In the second, the relevance of monetization is called into question.
Again, no two artists are the same. They will choose different strategies depending on where they are in their career, what they are working on, their artistic medium, their support base. But the conundrum remains: Today’s technology makes it easier than ever before to put work online. At the same time, it’s never been harder to build a financially sustainable career as an artist.
So. If there were a way to monetize your content, while keeping it visible for a wide audience, would you do it?
Web Monetization for the Arts is a course on streaming payments designed for classical musicians and small performing arts groups. The project is funded by Grant for the Web.