Creating vs. Running A Business

from the a-good-discussion dept

When we talk about business models here, we often use music as an example, since the music industry is facing many of these issues a bit ahead of the curve from many other industries. However, some other industries are actually facing many of the same issues, and it's good to see what they have to say as well. For example, one of the key complaints that many people have when we show and discuss models that involve connecting with fans, is this odd claim that doing so means that the "creators" have to spend all their time "connecting" or "selling" or "running a business," rather than doing more creating. However, I've never thought that to be the case. I've said from very early on that the real point is that an artist can do that if they want, but that partners can and have sprung up to fill those roles. This is why I still think there's a big role for a "record label" to play, in handling much of that for the artists, so they can continue to focus on creating.

JLJ points out that a similar debate appears to be happening in the webcomics community, with Scott Kurtz, the author of PvP discussing the swinging pendulum between handing over nearly all control to a syndicate or marketing partner to a completely DIY model, and then hopefully back to some happy medium.

I think that's definitely what's happening in the music space -- but the nice thing is that it's not just a pendulum, but a spectrum, so that different artists can pick and choose what makes the most sense for them. Sometimes you come across artists who really want to be involved in the marketing and connecting and the selling. And sometimes, they don't. But the point is now they have the choice. And, even beyond that choice, within each aspect of the spectrum, there are many more options in terms of who to partner with and how to structure the deal. In the old system, you had a very small number of record labels or comic syndicates -- and, as such, they held all the power and could structure deals that were bordering on indentured servitude. But, with so many more options these days, the creators are actually taking back control. There's competition in the marketplace, and even if a creator wants nothing to do with the business and marketing side at all, it doesn't mean they have to sign a life sentence over to a business manager. And that's a very good thing for content creators.

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  1. icon
    Free Capitalist (profile), 26 Aug 2009 @ 6:10am

    Print on Demand Graphic Novels?

    I'm curious... are there are any printers out there who structure reasonable print-on-demand agreements with independent artists?

    For artists who create serial or episodic content, It think it would be a great partner service to enable direct-marketed subscriptions.

    Some well-funded efforts are trying the print on demand model, like the ironic World of Warcraft Magazine (http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2009/08/world-of-warcraft-the-magazine-from-online-to-dead-tree. ars) upcoming.

    Are there any independent artists who have similar arrangments?

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