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Buy Art


Spotify makes it seem like music is unlimited and free. It's not. They're just providing access to it for free and not paying artists for contributing all of the value. Paying for a subscription? That money doesn't go to the artists. It goes to Spotify. More specifically, it goes to their CEO.

AI makes it seem like you can generate art from a few simple prompts. Sure it may be neat and might look impressive, but that's not art. That's just a computer-generated composite, based on (stolen from) actual creative output from creative minds.

Google search, Instagram, etc., makes it seem like every photograph that was ever taken or digitized is available for unlimited, free use. It's amazing to be able to instantly see a photograph taken anywhere in the world, but that doesn't make photos worthless. And it certainly doesn't mean we should allow companies to use them without limit and without paying for them.

Amazon makes it seem like books come from Amazon. They also make it impossible to move books you've purchased to anywhere other than Amazon. Read the finer print. You didn't buy that book. You bought the privilege of displaying a book using your Amazon account. Meanwhile, the author only sees a fraction of the money you paid.

A number of problems arise from not paying artists fairly for their work, but the biggest seems to be that it makes art worthless; why pay for something when you can get it for free? In turn, why spend time and effort poring over creative output if you can't pay rent?

There's a simple solution to this: pay for the art you enjoy. If you find yourself listening to a song or album over and over on Spotify, Amazon, Apple, etc., go find that artist's website and buy an album or t-shirt or do whatever you can to support them. If you want art for whatever purpose, commission something totally unique from a real artist. Just need a digital copy? I'm sure you'll find someone happy to sell you that too. Want a copy of a book? Buy it without Digital Rights Management so that you can put it on whatever digital shelf you'd like.

People make art because the creative soul is restless. We can't stop. There has always been art and always will be. That doesn't mean we have to allow mega corporations to exploit it to get obscenely wealthy while artists remain destitute. The image of the broke artist is due to rich people and entities taking advantage of us all. It's not at all necessary for good art to exist.

Buy art. Buy it directly from the people making it, if possible, or buy it from someone distributing it fairly. Support artists on Patreon or Ko-Fi or whatever platform isn't just taking advantage of creators.